Cities are Increasing Their Driverless Initiatives for Very Good Reasons

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【Summary】More and more cities are embracing an autonomous future and a report by GreenBiz points towards all of the reasons as to why this is happening.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Dec 05, 2017 9:00 AM PT
Cities are Increasing Their Driverless Initiatives for Very Good Reasons

Automakers and technology companies see autonomous vehicles as a way to take drivers out of the equation, making roads safer, making the act of driving more enjoyable, and, at least for ride- and car-sharing terms, making more money. While some cities stood strongly against self-driving cars when they first appeared, more and more are embracing driverless vehicles. And a new report by GreenBiz reveals why.  

Cities, Automakers, And Tech Companies Look At Cars Similarly

As the outlet claims, city planners see autonomous vehicles in a similar light to automakers and tech companies. There are transportation services, for example, that will allow individuals who weren't able to get around before due to a shortage of transportation options the opportunity to get from point A to point B on their own schedule. Another upside, as GreenBiz reports, includes the ability of driverless cars to bring about "livable urbanscapes, ones built for people, not cars." 

As any urbanite can attest to, finding a spot to park one's car has become a frustrating, losing battle. BMW and Parkmobile recently teamed up to reduce the amount of time drivers take trying to find a spot. Autonomous vehicles, which are expected to bring about various car-sharing programs, are expected to reduce the number of vehicles on cities' roads, clearing up some space for more places to live. Instead of building cities around parking spaces and garages, planners and developers can focus on larger and more frequent homes. 

Besides space, traffic is another large issue when it comes to cities. Cities, as GreenBiz reports, believe that autonomous vehicles will reduce the amount of traffic on roads, allowing for "increased potential for improved economic productivity." Another major aspect of driverless cars that will make living in cities more enjoyable is the fact that the majority of them will be all electric, reducing smog and harmful pollutants in the air. 

Safety Is The Largest Improvement

But arguably the most important aspect of self-driving cars for cities is their safety, claims GreenBiz. While the majority of American drivers aren't too sure about autonomous vehicles at the moment, the machines are expected to be safer than human drivers. "We know that we need to deal with our transportation problems in a radical way," said Shireen Santosham, chief innovation officer for the city of San Jose, Calif. at a panel discussion at Verge 17. "Simply incremental change is not going to work." 

While the U.S. government has lagged behind in coming to grips with setting the record straight with driverless cars, the National Association of City Transportation (NATCO) believes that legislation needs to incorporate for a lot of things, claims GreenBiz

"Automated vehicles have the potential to make our cities safer, more efficient and more economically productive, and cities want to do their part to bring this new technology to our streets," said Linda Bailey, executive director of NACTO. "The legislation as currently written hinders this progress – weakening instead of strengthening cities' and states' ability to engage with private partners on safe operations and data sharing." 

When it comes to cities, autonomous vehicles bring a lot of great things to not only the individuals that call them home, but also to the people behind the development, design, and upkeep of the cities themselves. Autonomous vehicles are a win-win for cities, as they will bring out the best of what they have to offer. 

via: Green Biz

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