2017 Working Group: Sustainable Transportation in an Era of Autonomous Vehicles

Sustainable Transportation in an Era of Autonomous Vehicles
Marc Schlossberg, Professor of Planning, Public Policy and Management, Co-Director of Sustainable Cities Initiative, University of Oregon

Many cities around the world have been investing in and re-discovering the multiple benefits of various forms of sustainable transportation, from sustainability, health, economic, and space-saving perspectives. In particular, bicycle transportation has gone mainstream, transit investments have seen a resurgence, and walkable urbanism is increasingly desired over a dream of auto-occupancy and suburban sprawl.

Within these changes now comes a new and potentially significant disrupting transportation technology: Autonomous vehicles (AVs). AVs are a near future reality and the implications of AVs on city development and urban form, while potentially widespread and dramatic, are not well understood. Projected changes to the ease and cost of transportation, the role of transit, parking use, and right-of-way needs will have dramatic secondary effects on street design, development densities, land use, and urban sprawl. These secondary effects on city development, form, and design, including the potential opportunities and unintended consequences on quality of life are the focus of this working group.

The working group invited researchers and practitioners from a range of disciplines to focus on the interaction between the incoming infusion of AVs with the other trends toward more walking, biking, and transit, both locally and nationally.