There is no question that autonomous vehicles will fundamentally change our streets, our cities and our travel patterns; the question we at Walk/Bike/Places are interested in answering is how will the technology change the way we live, work and move.
When the Walk/Bike/Places conference convenes in New Orleans this September 16–19, one of the topics we will examine is how autonomous vehicles will affect transportation planning. We are currently seeking experts to help us answer the following questions about this new technology:
- How and when will the transition occur? Transportation Network Companies and logistics companies are pushing the technological and regulatory envelope to field autonomous vehicles (AV). For them, there is strong economic incentive to adopt the technology; for consumers, who must make a different value calculation, the incentive is less clear. How might these divergent positions affect our transition?
- What infrastructure preparations will be required? AVs need smooth roads, crisp lane marking and lots of bandwidth for broadcasting and receiving data. Where will the public sector find the funding? How will we avoid shortchanging other forms of transportation?
- How will other users be affected? What infrastructure changes will be needed to ensure that AVs and active transportation users can mix?
- Who are the new stakeholders? Automakers and the tech industry are loud proponents of autonomous driving. Their promises of safety and improved efficiency sound great but their language promising to remake cities and revolutionize transportation echos the interstate highway era. How do we work with this sector to ensure mistakes of the past are not repeated in our urban areas?
- What is our advocacy strategy? It is conceivable that AVs could upend the hierarchy of road users. Will pedestrians, bicyclists and human drivers see their access traded and rights curtailed to ensure AVs deliver their promised efficiency gains?
Is your agency or organization preparing for this transition? If so, please help us to develop best practices and sift fact from tech-inspired hyperbole by applying to present at Walk/Bike/Places 2018. Begin your application here and when promoted select ‘Breakout Session Panelist’ and ‘Planning for Autonomous Vehicles’ as your topic. Please submit your proposal by 8 pm Eastern, February 2, 2018 to be considered for the program.
Helpful links and resources:
- “Taming the Autonomous Vehicle: A Guide for Cities” (Bloomberg)
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center’s (PBIC) extensive and excellent resource on Automated and Connected Vehicles
- “Discussion Guide for Automated and Connected Vehicles, Pedestrians, and Bicyclists” (PBIC)
- “Auto Execs Finally Admit Our Driverless Future Isn’t, Like, Two Years Away,” Jalopnik, January 9, 2018
- “Self-driving Cars: Futurama 2.0 or Cities for People?,” PPS, June 29, 2016
Walk/Bike/Places is North America’s largest active transportation and placemaking conference. Autonomous vehicles are only one of many topics that will be addressed by our conference program. For more details about our Call for Proposals and conference outcomes, please visit www.walkbikeplaces.org/proposals. The deadline for all proposals is 8 pm Eastern, February 2, 2018.
For information about becoming a conference sponsor or exhibitor please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For the latest news follow us at Walk/Bike/Places. Walk/Bike/Places was established in 1980 and is produced by Project for Public Spaces.