When the Autonomous Vehicles Come, Will Cities Be Ready for Them?

A study about planning for AVs shows that most cities are not actively working to prepare for them and officials are worried about the many potential effects they will have on cities.
June 10, 2019, 9am PDT | Camille Fink
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A new article in the Journal of the American Planning Association takes a closer look at how cities are preparing for autonomous vehicles. MIT researchers reviewed plans from the 25 largest U.S. cities and surveyed transportation and planning officials in 120 cities across the country.

The findings show that few cities have started preparing for AVs. "Only a tiny fraction of survey respondents said that their town had a 'clear plan' for autonomous vehicles, and just 36 percent of the largest cities have general plans that mention AVs. Even fewer, 24 percent, have issued separate strategies for maximizing the possible safety and congestion-easing benefits of self-driving cars," reports Laura Bliss.

Most cities report that they are waiting on federal or state legislation to come through and larger, more populated cities are more likely to be prepared. And while officials are looking to the benefits of AVs on roads, a third of respondents are also concerned about the potential negative impacts of the vehicles, including increases in vehicle miles traveled and sprawl and decreases in transit ridership and local revenues.

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Published on Thursday, May 30, 2019 in CityLab
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