The last century was all about designing cities around the needs of cars. But today, many cities have committed to reducing or entirely removing cars from pedestrian-heavy areas and have set ambitious goals to become carbon neutral in the coming decades. Recent research shows that while swapping individual ownership for more self-driving cars could improve transportation times, it could also worsen congestion. So in readying our cities for AV, we need to plan for a mix of mobility types: pedestrians, cyclists, scooters, public transit, and more.
When cars are driven by programs not people, how will people on the street communicate with cars? At CES [Consumer Electronics Show] 2019, leading mobility manufacturers like Ford shared advancements in Vehicle-to-Everything platforms that use electronic pings from pedestrians’ smart devices to help guide autonomous vehicles (AV). But solutions like these are too narrow and don’t respect the autonomy of individuals—not everyone has a smart device or wishes to be involuntarily or constantly connected to everything. We should be cautious of any framework that re-enforces cars at the top of the transportation hierarchy and fails to take a more comprehensive view of our future streets.
Here are a few cities prioritizing multiple transportation modes: