Will Autonomous Cars Live Up to Their Potential?

A new report details the promise and perils of the growing autonomous vehicle industry.

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September 23, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Self-Driving Cars

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A new report from the Urban Institute outlines the potential benefits and pitfalls of autonomous vehicles. Dan Zukowski summarizes the report for Smart Cities Dive.

According to the report, “Self-driving cars have the potential to increase transportation equity and safety but need regulation at all levels of government to avoid worsening urban sprawl, climate change and public health.” 

In theory, AVs could improve mobility for people with disabilities and mobility impairments, reduce climate impacts, and make transportation more accessible. But without more robust regulations and investments in public transit and other multimodal infrastructure, AVs could add to traffic congestion and encourage sprawl. As the Urban Institute’s Yonah Freemark explains, “The ability to travel longer distances without the task of driving could encourage people to live further from urban centers.”

The report calls for a “substantial” expansion of testing and data collection for AV crashes and “recommends that states and local governments work with transit agencies to encourage multimodal options, ensure ride-hailing AVs serve all communities and follow Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, and develop policies to encourage the use of zero-emission AVs.” The report acknowledges that widespread adoption of AVs is still in the distant future, but ride-hailing companies may be some of the earliest to adopt the technology.

Thursday, September 22, 2022 in Smart Cities Dive

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