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AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES


Public fleets of automated vehicles and how to manage them I


n the 2020s, regional governments will be faced with governing growing numbers of automated and semi-automated vehicles.


These vehicles might be privately owned by households, owned by new mobility firms such as Uber and Google which would oper- ate them as taxis, shuttles and jitneys, or gov- ernment operated and sometimes owned by infrastructure investors under public-private partnership (P3) contracts. It is likely that by the mid 2030s such automation will be sig- nificant, perhaps pervasive, bringing with it


16


the end of urban bus transit, the potential for service gaps, unexpected congestion due to service redundancies and risks of poor coor- dination with existing rail transit There are two common scenarios for the


future of automobility as vehicles become increasingly automated. The first is that most North American households will retain at least one personal automated vehicle (PAV), as now. The alternative view is that almost no-one will bother to own a personal vehicle because it will be so cheap, easy and conven-


ient to obtain a ride in a shared autonomous vehicle (SAV) such as a publicly accessible, robo-taxi or robo-shuttle. While the latter scenario occurs to many


urban-transportation thought-leaders as the more desirable of the two, this is nei- ther guaranteed to occur, nor has it been determined how such an outcome might be governed in order to achieve a high level of optimization with respect to time, energy and fleet size. In addition, given such fleets, how can we improve aspects of urban liv-


www.thinkinghighways.com


Bern Grush and John Niles outline a scenario in the not- too-distant future when our roads are populated with fleets of shared driverless cars, buses and trucks.


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