Walkability, Public Transit and Self-Driving Cars: Using AVs to Promote Sustainable Transport

Authors: Devon McAslan*, Arizona State University
Topics: Transportation Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: Sustainable Transportation, Autonomous Vehicles, Walkability,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8224, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In 2019, the first self-driving ride share service will likely begin operation in the Phoenix metropolitan area. This comes only a year after the death of a pedestrian in March 2018 in Tempe, Arizona by a self-driving car. While many cities had already been planning for how to integrate autonomous and connected vehicles into the urban transportation portfolio, this incident has sparked much more interest and need to plan for autonomous vehicles and increasing concern over how cities can both accommodate self-driving cars while still promote walkability and public transportation. This paper explores the ways in which cities are currently planning for autonomous vehicles and testing and pilot programs that explore how to use AVs. Beyond these empirical observations of current activities, this paper explores how planners can promote the integration of autonomous vehicles while also continuing to promote different modes of sustainable transportation, including walking, biking and public transportation. Typically, the use of automobiles has negatively impacted urban livability goals and I argue that continuing to think about autonomous vehicles as only cars, will generally result in the same negative outcomes. As a result, urban planners must rethink the role of the automobile in the city and autonomous vehicles provide the opportunity to do just that. I explore the possible impacts that a certain pattern of autonomous vehicles use could have in terms of land use, urban form, transportation behavior, as well as social equity outcomes and how these can make a city more livable.

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