Get ready to plan automated vehicles on the streets where you live - Mobility Lab

To: City Manager (aka Mobility Momma)

From: Concerned City Council Member (composite character, not intended to resemble a real live person)

Re: Mini Metropolis – Behind the Eight Ball

I feel like we in Mini Metropolis have either missed the party or we’re headed for a meltdown on driverless cars. No matter who I talk to, whether it’s a new business we’re courting, our financial advisors, the state DOT, concerned cities, or the taxi drivers, it seems like we are way behind!

Waymo says it is going into production next year.

Taxi drivers say they’re concerned we caved on Uber and Lyft.

The director of our bus system says that AVs will syphon off ridership and then, because it will eliminate jobs, lead to bankruptcy.

The developers say that codes and zoning regulations are out of date and that they are being saddled with expensive parking spaces that won’t be needed in an AV world. They also want strong transit and AV, biking, and walking infrastructure to strengthen our bid for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Researchers at the university tell me that all the vehicles will be roaming the streets empty and people will continue living further and further away from work (induced demand, they call it).

And then these advocate groups say we’re going to convert streets into parks, widen the sidewalks, and add protected bike lanes.

Who is right?

We are promoting ourselves as an innovation hub, but how is it innovative if 75 percent of our citizens still say they’re scared to ride in AVs.

I would sure like to know what all the infrastructure is going to cost and how we’ll pay for it. What do I need to be advocating for in the next round of battles with the metropolitan planning organization?

Can you pull together some level-headed experts and figure out what Mini Metropolis should do?

To: Concerned City Council Member

From: City Manager (aka Mobility Momma)

Re: Mini Metropolis – Behind the Eight Ball

Thank you for your concern, Concerned City Council Member. Interestingly, nearly 100 planners from around the country gathered to ponder these very questions at a recent symposium on how to plan for autonomous vehicles.

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