Taming the Autonomous Vehicle: A Primer for Cities

This guide combines policies from the most insightful reports, forecasts, and announcements to produce a compact primer on the future of cities and autonomous vehicles.

Benefits & Problems Addressed

Background: The report provides an up-to-date summary of auonomous vehciles, teminology and 

Journalistic approach: the report looks at why, what, when, who, where and how.

Tips & Techniques

The report hones in on six big insights: 

1. There is a narrow window to shape the spread of AVs:  AVs will spread slowly at first, but as costs fall, they will spread across the globe faster than the automobile in the 20th century. Cities could fall behind quickly.

2. Improving vehicles: Automation is changing the automobile, mostly in ways that will help cities. Cities have long struggled with the car’s demands for space. But AVs can be designed for many more forms and functions, creating new opportunities to right-size vehicles for urban use.

3. Highways versus city streets: Automated highways are an obsolete vision of the future. Most AV pilots in the last decade focused on high-speed highways. But the AV’s future is in cities, where its biggest market demographics are concentrated. City driving will be a tough technical challenge but a far bigger commercial prize, increasing demand for real-world urban testbeds.

4. AVs enabling aging-in-place: By 2030, the world will be home to more than 1.4 billion people age 60 or over. As the spread of AVs reaches peak intensity in the 2030s, this group will shape the AV market. For cities, AVs will allow more people to age in place and stretch public spending on their well-being.

5. Focus private sector AV innovation on urban challenges: Both the tech industry and traditional automakers see great opportunities in cities, and the competition will be fierce. Cities can shape markets to focus private sector attention and investment on the needs of cities and the people who live in them by mobilizing infrastructure, talent, and other assets to support the right kinds of AV-based solutions.

6. The implications of AVs will cut across every facet of government, society, and the economy: AVs promise significant improvements in urban transportation. But the full range of benefits and risks of cheap, automated mobility are yet to be fully understood. In order to maximize the good and minimize the bad, cities will need to tap many sources of expertise inside and outside of government.


Taming the Autonomous Vehicle: A Primer for Cities

Link o Greaer Places page