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FLEET MANAGEMENT


“The alternative view is that almost no-one will bother to own a personal vehicle because it will be so cheap, easy and convenient to obtain a ride in a shared autonomous vehicle”


ability related to congestion, walkability and sprawl? How can we ensure social equity with respect to mobility affordability, avail- ability and accessibility for lower income or disabled travelers?


WHAT MIGHT BE ACHIEVED WITH AUTOMATED VEHICLE FLEETS? In one of the most insightful discussion papers of 2016, Tom Cohen and Clémence Cavoli of UCL Centre for Transport Stud- ies (London) outlined several governance choices and the associated difficulties and risks of preparing for automated vehicles in a paper called: “Automation of the driv- ing task”. They contrasted three approaches to


fleet ownership: [1] private-ownership, i.e., business-as-usual, except with automated vehicles; [2] shared automated-taxi fleets, an essentially laissez faire continuation and growth of today’s taxi and fledging transpor- tation network company (TNC) approaches; and [3] strong integration of AVs with public transit systems, a more definitively interven- tionist approach for improved social and


www.thinkinghighways.com


network outcomes. Their paper discusses the governance issues and potential pitfalls for each. In 2017, a parallel discussion appeared in


the UITP report, “Autonomous vehicles: a potential game changer for urban mobility” outlining the pros and cons of each of the three approaches to the coming regional fleets of automated people-moving vehicles. The panel on the next page shows the two major markets: buying cars (PAVs) and buy- ing rides (SAVs) and further splits SAVs into either laissez-faire commercial fleets (similar to current taxis or TNCs) or integrated com- mercial fleets. Each of these have very differ- ent social and urban outcomes due to the operating differences in collaboration and coordination, which, in turn, would be due to the degree of private versus public manage- ment of the fleets. To frame the governance problem: how


can we most effectively unleash the prom- ised benefits of automation, maximize per- sonal freedom, preserve or increase social equity and reduce or at least not increase congestion and environmental harms — all


while rewarding for-profit operators who finance and operate massive fleets? In com- paring a laissez-faire approach with more interventionist styles of governance, Cohen and Cavoli concluded that while a laissez- faire approach would carry the greatest risk, intervening to integrate multiple private fleets with transit may not be comfortable for many governments to engage. In any case, it would be risky. There are a number of governance dif-


ficulties with shared fleets highlighting the complex road ahead. One critical fac- tor is that laissez-faire commercial fleets will by default act as entities to maximize their operators’ profit, while the nature of a more interventionist governance to engender transit integration would more likely maximize social equity. The former might ignore optimization of coverage (access) with ridership volumes, while the latter would tend to balance those but constrain profit opportunities. Key is that “a large set of individu-


als making decisions that are individu- ally optimal will generally produce an


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