Connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies have the potential to improve safety, traffic congestion, and fundamentally change mobility around the world. These technologies allow vehicles to sense their surroundings and communicate with each other and the roadside to help prevent crashes, optimize traffic flow, and save time and energy.
But the effects of connected and automated vehicles extend beyond the technology, vehicles, and the people developing them. Though full deployment of CAVs is decades away at best, government officials, planners, and economic developers are beginning to consider the potential influences of this new technology on roadways, streetscapes, and investment decisions. The latter point is especially topical, as leaders face questions such as whether to invest in a new parking structure, or to repair or expand a stretch of roadway, for example. Community leaders want to know how to take advantage of the benefits these technologies can offer while also being mindful of the impacts CAVs may have on transportation, infrastructure, land use, and municipal budgets.
Though timeframes for full deployment of automated vehicles vary widely, even limited CAV operations could substantially affect transportation infrastructure and travel patterns.
The race to get autonomous vehicles on the road is underway and urban planners and other municipal leaders need to join these discussions now or risk playing catch up. Considerations go beyond readiness for new vehicles. Communities must begin to plan for the outcomes they want or risk an uncontrolled development process. Among the things for communities to consider are:
- Infrastucture needs
- Shifting parking needs
- Drop-off and pick-up zones
- Realistic implementation timelines
- Technology needs
- Federal programs and standards
- Regulatory considerations
With funding from the Greater Ann Arbor Region’s Prosperity Initiative, the Center for Automotive Research and Public Sector Consultants, along with guidance from the Michigan Municipal League, developed a report identifying key policy considerations and recommendations to prepare communities for CAV deployment. The report, titled Planning for Connected and Automated Vehicles, provides a detailed summary of the potential impacts of CAV technology on regional infrastructure investment decisions, transportation systems, land use patterns, and regulatory aspects for policymaker consideration. There is a high degree of uncertainty around the timing, scale, and direction of CAV deployment, and as such, this report highlights what community members can begin to consider as the technology advances.
Read the report and consider how your community is preparing for the future: