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Automated Vehicles Pose 'Political Threat' to Transit

TransitCenter's Steven Higashide argues that despite all the hype around self-driving vehicles, traditional high-capacity transit still has some distinct advantages. As long, that is, as transit agencies are willing to recognize them.
May 17, 2018, 9am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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In a post adapted from remarks made by Steven Higashide, its director of research, TransitCenter outlines several things transit agencies should keep in mind as self-driving vehicles loom large in the public mind. "The threat that automated vehicles pose to public transit," he argues, "is a political threat."

Higashide's points include the following:

  • High-capacity transit makes more efficient use of urban space than smaller vehicles, even when they're automated and/or shared.
  • It'll be a while until automated vehicles can safely navigate busy urban cores and residential neighborhoods, even if they can be made functional on highways.
  • Despite the high-tech veneer of public partnerships with transportation startups, "testing new technology for global motor vehicle markets for its own sake is a job for universities, research agencies, and private R&D."
  • Transit systems need to become more competitive for current riders, and not simply hold out for potential tech-enabled solutions down the line.
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Published on Thursday, May 3, 2018 in TransitCenter
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