Tagged: efficiency

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.

 

Urbanism Next Research Papers Series – Re-Imagining Retail

While we have been compiling research and articles on this blog for the last few months, we have also been working on our own research.  Today marks the start of our publishing a series of brief 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.

The first paper is co-written by Galen Carlson and Nico Larco and is focused on Re-Imagining Retail.  Building 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.

Look for additional papers on residential preferences, warehousing, and the effects of urbanism next issues on municipal budgets – coming in the coming weeks.

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.”

 

What’s old is new: Efficient and space saving transportation gains traction

Part of the promise of new technological opportunities within transportation is the opportunity to use space more efficiently.  Connected and autonomous vehicles can travel closer together, ride-sharing can fill a portion of the staggering amount of empty vehicle seats on our streets and thus reduce some vehicles, and ride-hailing transportation may make it possible to reduce overall car ownership and the need for so much parking, freeing up space on streets and in our communities.  Yet, one of the most efficient inventions humanity has ever created also happens to be a space-saving form of mobility – the bicycle.  Cities of all shapes and sizes all over the world are “re-discovering” how space, efficiency, distance, economy, health, and sustainability can be addressed through investing in bicycle transportation. Along those lines, London just announced a massive investment in bicycle transportation, seeking to make it a rational option for both short and commute-distance trips.  Our challenge now, is figuring out how to right-size each form of transportation, from walking to biking to carsharing to transit to AVs, throughout our cities and communities to maximize not only our ability to reach our desired destinations quickly, but also to maximize the efficient use of limited space, as well as addressing issues of equity, health, and the environment.

The Amazon impact – more delivery trips and person-less stores

As online shopping continues to become commonplace, so do the number of delivery trucks delivering those goods directly to consumers, rather than centralized stores.  While there clearly is convenience in this approach, the increase in delivery vehicles on our streets is significant as 10-30% of the time the same package must be delivered more than once because no one is home and many goods are also returned this same way.  The space of our streets is limited – can space-efficient forms of transportation such as bicycles be designed into the center of urban delivery systems?

And at the other end of the spectrum, Amazon is experimenting with personnel-free shopping in urban areas where goods can be purchased without the help of a cashier at all – whether human or self-service machine.  This type of technology may have dual effects on the future of cities – there may be lower need for space for employee parking  (there are none), but what might it mean for cities to lose part of its entry-level workforce option?

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?

 

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?

Transit in Boston Using Paratransit Ridesourcing

In another positive story about transit and ridesourcing working together instead of in competition, Boston’s MBTA is using Bridj on-demand shuttle service for late-night trips.  This is a strategy to compensate for recently limited late-night service.  Not only will this fill a need, but also lets the agency gather data on use that can lead to more efficient future service.

ride share bridj for commuters boston
Katherine Taylor for The Boston Globe

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.

 

 

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.

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).

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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