Tagged: av

Research Briefs

While the Urbanism Next blog presents a compilation of research and articles from a variety of sources, we are also conducting our own research.  This page includes a series of papers on issues related to Urbanism Next.  The intention is to introduce you to some key topics that will be affecting how cities develop as they face ongoing and transformative changes in technology.

 

Urbanism Next Framework (Urbanism Next) One of the key challenges to addressing the impacts of emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles, e-commerce and the sharing economy on cities is understanding the range of areas affected and how these areas are related. This draft Urbanism Next Framework organizes impacts based on four key areas – land use, urban design, transportation, and real estate – and relates those to the implications they will have on equity, health, the environment, the economy, and governance. This framework can help organize both city responses and research about emerging technology impacts.

 

Policy Brief: AVs in the Pacific Northwest: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in a Time of Automation (Howell, Larco, Lewis, and Steckler) summarizes the key takeaways from New Mobility in the Right-of-Way and AVs in the Pacific Northwest. (Both reports are included below.) This policy brief outlines our main findings and includes a series of process/procedural and policy recommendations for cities to consider as they adopt new mobility plans and enable automated vehicles.

 

 

New Mobility in the Right-of-Way (Howell, Larco, Lewis, and Steckler) explores the ways in which demand for the right-of-way, broadly, but the curb, more specifically, is changing. The curb has long been in high demand with multiple users vying for limited space, especially for the purposes of parking personal vehicles. However, TNCs and other services have helped to usher in a new age that involves an increased demand for short-term loading and micromobility device parking. AVs will likely exacerbate existing issues with the right-of-way and the curb, which is why it is important that cities tackle curb management in new ways. This report categorizes and summarizes efforts that are already underway in cities across the world to rethink curb management and identifies major research gaps. New Mobility in the Right-of-Way summarizes the second phase of research from a project involving the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance at the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (CNCA/USDN) and the cities of Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; and Vancouver, BC, and was generously supported by the Bullitt Foundation.

 

AVs in the Pacific Northwest: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in a Time of Automation (Larco, Howell, Lewis, and Steckler). The policy decisions made over the next 10 years that shape the deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs) will have significant repercussions for our communities as well as environmental repercussions related to greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change. In recognition of that, Urbanism Next worked with the cities of Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, BC to better understand how new mobility technologies such as AVs could affect greenhouse gas emissions thereby impacting their ability to achieve the goals in their respective climate action plans. This project grew out of a partnership between the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance at the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (CNCA/USDN) and the Cities of Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver and was generously supported by the Bullitt Foundation.

 

Rethinking Streets in an Era of Driverless Cars (Schlossberg, Riggs, Millard-Ball and Shay) presents ideas about how city planners, policy makers and community residents can address the introduction of autonomous vehicles. This white paper frames the introduction of AVs as an opportunity to rethink streets with purposeful and creative consideration about how this critical public good may best serve the public for generations to come.

 

 

The Impact of AVs and E-Commerce on Local Government Budgeting and Finance (Clark, Larco and Mann) is a new report from us here at Urbanism Next/SCI that takes you through a city’s budget —both revenues and expenditures — and describes the areas that will be affected as AVs become commonplace and e-commerce takes on an even larger role in retail. City leaders have to start planning for this future now if they want to have a voice in what AVs/e-commerce will do to their cities.

 

 

Re-Imagining Retail (Carlson and Larco) builds on earlier posts about the challenges retail is currently facing, we look at the transformation retail is currently going through and the shift from brick-and-mortar, to e-commerce, to omnichannel approaches.  The paper describes trends and includes data and resources that can help you understand where we are at, where we are heading, and where you can learn more.

 

 

 

Warehousing (Carlson and Larco) looks at the changing nature of distribution networks with the rise of E-Commerce and the effects this will have on the size, number and distribution of Warehouses in cities.

 

Envisioning Future Cities with Automated Vehicles Webinar

 

Mark your calendars for OAPA’s (Oregon American Planning Association) webinar on Automated Vehicles on Tuesday January 24th at 12-1 pm PST

Click here to register

More info on the webinar:

“Automated Vehicle (AV) technology promises to reshape the transportation system and the built environment in ways not seen since the introduction of the automobile over a century ago. By revolutionizing the nature of personal mobility and removing the need for passengers to be in the car at all times, AVs have the potential to dramatically impact roadway design and the built environment to yield urban spaces that are safer, more efficient, and attractive. However, unlike America’s first experience with the automobile, it is hoped that policy makers will recognize and take advantage of this opportunity to reshape our urban areas in ways that promote safe, sustainable, and people-centered environments. AV technology offers an opportunity to balance what have long been seen as conflicting goals of safer and more efficient transportation systems and urban environments founded upon the principles of sustainability and human-centered design. But the twin goals of efficiency and urbanity can be achieved only through proactive planning and investment by federal, state, regional and local transportation agencies.

This webinar will review the innovative work Florida Department of Transportation and Florida State University are doing to take the first steps toward envisioning the future in an AV world, a future that can yield attractive, people-friendly, efficient and safe urban environments. In addition, this webinar will identify near and medium-term infrastructure investments and policy decisions that could enable a smooth transition to a transportation system dominated by AVs. Few understood and foresaw the massive impact the automobile would have upon travel behaviors, transportation systems, and the built environment over a century ago. This session hopes to prepare and equip local governments with the tools necessary to take advantage of this remarkable opportunity to reshape the built environment into more livable communities.”

 

First Driverless Transit Shuttle in U.S. is Up and Running

And the milestones keep coming.  Las Vegas just made active the country’s first AV public transit shuttle.  These type of fixed lines routes (transit lines) are obvious choices as early adopters as the environmental variables are limited.  The bus is small – 12 passenger – and the route is short but it is yet another step towards full automation of the transit system.

This type of vehicle is potentially going to be doing the heavy lifting for paratransit and shared trips in the near future.  Picture something like this coming to pick you up next time you use uberPOOL or Lyft Line.

AV’s Future is Shared (at least initially) – Views from CES 2017

CityLab has posted a report from this years Consumer Electronics Show and – unsurprisingly – the roll-out of AV’s seems to be focused on shared fleets and they will focus on freight and high occupancy transport.  Cost seems to be the largest factor early on with AV technology being cost-prohibitive for individual ownership (although Tesla might have something to say about that).  Another reason is simply the ability to monitor and modify cars and algorithms – much easier to do roll-out and testing in limited contact points via larger shared fleets.

This is not to say that shared vehicles are the only future for AV’s – but thier initiation happening as shared vehicles is promising and gives a bit of time to figure out how best to promote and cement that future over individual ownership – probably the most critical issue in avoiding a dystopian future.

Chrysler Portal - Self Driving Car - Jae Hong/AP
Chrysler Portal – Self Driving Car – Jae Hong/AP

AV’s and Residential Preferences (the city will expand…)

While there has been a good amount of speculation about how Shared AV’s (SAV) will push or hinder sprawl, little of it is based on research.  This new study (presentation linked) by Wenwen Zhang and Dr. Subhrajit Guhathakurta from Georgia Tech uses a sophisticated analysis of travel datasets from Atlanta coupled with home purchase information from Zillow to predict how fleets of SAV’s might shift where people will choose to live. While the study has some aspects to work out (value of travel time, pricing effects of new mobility on housing), the takeaway is a substantial shift in residential preference.

Author Zhang states that “The transportation system we investigated is Shared Autonomous Vehicle (SAVs) which is a ubiquitous transit system. Our results show that younger households (<40 years old) will move further away from downtown for cheaper housing units and better education resources. Meanwhile, elder households (>40 years old) will move towards the downtown area to avoid long average waiting time.  However, all workers will move further away from their working places. The best interpretation of our model results would be workers will have more freedom in terms of residential location choices, i.e. they can live closer to other education facilities and infrastructures that they need to consume, rather than being constrained by the location of their offices.”

The image below – from the study – sums up how a post AV/ridesource world will have more people choosing to both live and work farther from city centers.  (blue is current household distance from CBD or work, green is AV future distance from CBD or work).  The charts shown are for people under 40 with kids.

It should be noted that this study focuses on SAV’s where wait times are the key factor pushing some people to live closer in and within higher densities (to avoid wait times).  We might rightly assume that privately owned AVs (that eliminate wait times) could push people further out.

This should be a wake-up call to anyone worried about sprawl.

 

Distance of Household to CBD:
(Avg Current = 20.70 miles, Avg w/ SAV Fleets = 22.31 miles)

zhang-hh

Distance of Household to Work:
(Avg Current = 29.48 miles, Avg w/ SAV Fleets = 36.03 miles) zhang-hh

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Challenges for Transit

A new report coming out of TIRF from Canada says that “one-third of drivers who used public transportation and 15% of persons who cycled or walked reported they would switch to SDVs (Self-Driving  Vehicles) to commute.”  This would create havoc for transit as that degree of lost ridership would severely cut into the feasibility of transit.

 

 

 

America 2021: The future is driverless?

In an interview in the Verge, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx envisions a future of cities with AVs, discussing the implications for regulations and safety.  How will shifts in transportation affect  the rest of society?  How can AVs enhance communities and improve access in underserved communities? Are we prepared for AVs?

 

AVs: Fleets or Private Ownership

This is probably one of the fundamental questions to how the future of AVs will roll out.  This article from Slate looks at three basic scenarios of AV ownership and use: Private ownership (what we have now), fleet ownership for private rides (think Uber/Lyft), and fleet ownership for shared rides (think Uber Pool).

While the article lays out convincing parameters for these scenarios, it doesn’t address the potential for differentiated models based on density.  Cities may lean towards fleet ownership and/or shared rides, but as we move further and further out into the suburbs, fleet management will be more difficult to do efficiently and profitably.  This seems like it would push towards more private ownership in these locations. If so, some of the parking related benefits of AVs – to name only one of many issues – may be uneven across urban areas.

 

Slower Cars in Cities? AV’s and games of ‘Chicken’

This article looks at the very real possibility that AVs will actually move slower in central cities than cars do today.  This is based on two notions – first, the idea that AV’s risk averse algorithms will understandably slow them down or stop them whenever a pedestrian or cyclist crosses the street.  Second, the idea that pedestrians and cyclists – now sure that  cars will be stopping – will step off the curb or into traffic whenever they please, creating havoc for the efficiency of automobiles.  Author Adam Millard-Ball asks us to imagine AVs trying to get through Manhattan while obeying all traffic rules and stopping with every pedestrians crossing at will.

The article points to a key issue regarding AVs in dense environments and how the interaction with other modes will severely hamper some of the largely claimed increases in speed.  It would seem that these increases will most probably exist in suburban and exurban areas, but not as much in central cores.  How does the speedy highway leading into the city deal with the congestion glut as cars enter slower networks downtown?

The Future of Transit (is looking brighter)

A few positive developments for the future of transit today!  As we have discussed before – the question of transit + ridesourcing (Uber/Lyft) as opposed to transit vs. ridesourcing will be one of the most fundamental questions to how cities develop in an AV future.  If there is collaboration, accessibility can increase tremendously without (as much) increase in congestion or a push towards sprawl.  If they are in competition – and ridesourcing triumphs in a way that makes transit unfeasible – we are in for the darkest of futures (see previous posts for more on this).  So now – onto the news:

In Seattle, Uber is endorsing the cities $54 Billion (with a ‘B’) transit ballot initiative.  Uber has not traditionally endorse ballot initiatives one way or another, but the fact they are supporting transit, coupled with the partnerships they are developing with cities to work cooperatively in the mobility world points to a promising future.  Of interest in the article is also Uber’s Seattle General Manager’s quote that Uber’s mission is to “reduce congestion and pollution by moving more people with fewer cars, and provide better mobility options for all people living in the region.”  Uber and transit combining to be mobility/accessibility companies, and not ridesource and transit individually, is a large step in the right direction.

In that same vein, this article talks about AV paratransit being developed in Hillsborough, Florida – launch expected in 2017.  Could be a great option for hardest to serve and for first/last mile access to transit.

 

 

AV’s, E-Commerce and Retail

This article talks about how the combination of AV’s and E-Commerce will create havoc for the retail industry.  More of our shopping will go online while bricks and mortar stores will start to act more like distribution warehouses as AV’s are sent to run errands and pick up things we need.  This will have large implications for how retail works in urban areas – where it is located, how much of it we need built, and a shift (already occurring) from retail being based on a need to retail being proposed as an experience.

Large implications for activity centers throughout urbanized areas as many of them have retail as a core vitality generator.

Transit + Rideshare II — Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit

Related to the previous post, here is another positive push for transit and shared mobility working together and not in competition.  This report put out by TCRP talks about how transit agencies can re-imagine themselves as mobility agencies that use a wide range of mobility options (typical transit, paratransit, rideshare, ridesourcing, carshare, bikeshare, etc).  Excellent thinking and research in there.

There is also an accompanying webinar recording here that summarizes the report.  This webinar talks about all of the possible, progressive futures, but also warns how detrimental a future with only AV cars (and no transit/paratransit) would be.

What the transition to AV’s will look like…

Zack Kanter’s post on AV’s is a well researched take on what the rollout of AV’s will look like.  He describes the steps we will move through and some of the immediate fallout of these steps.  Good series of citations (for those looking for more than opinions about these things).

google-uber-e1422903102497

Cost of Autonomous Vehicles – Cortright

This is a two part series from City Observatory that talks about the projected cost of autonomous vehicles and the effects this will have on their adoption (and their marketshare).  The first article cityobservatory.org/how-much-will-autonomous-vehicles-cost/ has a collection of cost estimates from various sources.  The second article http://cityobservatory.org/price-of-autonomous-cars/ looks at the effects of pricing on everything from AV’s effect on transit to the behavioral effects of our being more aware of the cost of trips (as we may no longer have that sunk cost of the automobile).

Welcome to Urbanism Next.

The Urbanism Next Blog is focused on how changes in technology are reshaping the ways we live, move, and spend our time in cities.  We are interested in emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles (AV’s), the rise of E-Commerce, and the proliferation of the sharing economy.  While other parts of the blogosphere are looking at the technological aspects of these advances, we are interested in the effects the they will have on cities and city design.

Urbanism Next is meant to be a source for those interested in technology and the built environment and is particularly targeted towards urban designers, architects, planners, landscape architects, and developers.  Visit the blog for links to relevant articles, commentaries on emerging trends, and critical thinking around the future of our cities.

The Urbanism Next Blog is part of the Sustainable Cities Initiative’s (SCI) Urbanism Next Research Initiative at the University of Oregon.

About

Advances in technology such as the advent of autonomous vehicles (AVs), the rise of E-commerce, and the proliferation of the sharing economy are having profound effects not only on how we live, move, and spend our time in cities, but also increasingly on urban form and development itself. The University of Oregon’s Urbanism Next Center focuses on the ramifications of these changes. Researchers are working with leaders from the public, private, and academic sectors across North America and Europe to better understand the secondary impacts of emerging technologies on cities and ensure that governments from the local to federal level have the information they need to make informed decisions that improve equity and health outcomes, as well as help achieve community goals related to the economy and the environment.

Urbanism Next is meant to be a source for those interested in technology and the built environment and is particularly targeted towards urban designers, architects, planners, landscape architects, and developers. The Urbanism Next Blog is part of the Sustainable Cities Initiative’s (SCI) Urbanism Next Research Center at the University of Oregon. Visit the blog for links to relevant articles, commentaries on emerging trends, and critical thinking around the future of our cities.

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