Greg Lindsay's Blog

June 01, 2018  |  permalink

The National League of Cities’ Autonomous Vehicles: Future Scenarios

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Last summer, I was invited by Anthony Townsend and Bryan Boyer, on behalf of the Bloomberg Aspen Initiative on Cities and Autonomous Vehicles, to flesh out six scenarios for autonomous vehicles, and how we would get there from here, so to speak. The final results have just been published by the National League of Cities, and I highly encourage you to click through for the brilliant ideas and gorgeous accompanying illustrations. The introduction is reproduced below:

The unstoppable forces of automation and artificial intelligence are changing the way we move through, work in, and design cities.

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are already on our streets, with pilots taking place in cities nationwide. Before long, we can expect to see thousands of autonomous vehicles on roadways, autonomous buses and transit vehicles providing rides, and autonomous conveyors shuttling back and forth on sidewalks making deliveries.

The full story, however has not yet been written. While we will inevitably see rapid expansion of autonomous transportation in commercial trucks, driverless buses, trains, shuttles, and more—transportation systems as a whole will also be revolutionized. Yet this change comes at a time when our shared networks – vital arteries for commerce and interaction - are already clogged.

So while technology has the potential to address the challenges facing these platforms for commerce and human interaction, effective government will be critical in pushing innovation forward. That future is already starting to unfold, but cities can prepare themselves to play a more informed, active role in shaping it.

This is why at the National League of Cities we have developed—and continue to work on—a series of research reports and analyses to help city leaders prepare for these shifts.

Explore the links below to see four possible futures that describe what AVs could mean for cities. The scenarios, developed by the Bloomberg Aspen Initiative on Cities and Autonomous Vehicles, and reported by journalist Greg Lindsay, are part and parcel of NLC’s larger initiative to provide city leaders with the tools that they need to build our cities of the future.

For cities that want to get up to speed quickly on key facts, emerging trends, and urban policy issues raised by the arrival of autonomous vehicles and found out more about how cities are taking a hands-on approach to learning, Bloomberg Philanthropies has published a primer and a global atlas of city-led AV pilots covering more than 100 city-led AV pilots worldwide.

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Greg Lindsay is a journalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker. He is a senior fellow at NewCities and the director of strategy of its offshoot LA CoMotion — an annual urban mobility festival in the Arts District of Los Angeles. He is also a non-resident senior fellow of The Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative, a visiting scholar at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, and co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.

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