"The establishment of autonomous vehicles (AVs) and their integration with ridesharing services would force cities to confront a slew of unknowns ranging from safety, ethics, insurance, and regulatory requirements to technical needs, pricing, and the scale of widespread use", claim in their study Barbara Monaco, Marco Slavich and Michela Zornada from Area Science Park. This scenario analysis has just been published within the Interreg Med Comunity of Urban Transports, to deepen knowledge on Connected and Automated Vehicles infrastructure planning.

This scenario analysis is intended to be a support document for mobility planning authorities in the process of urban road transport electrification, highlighting relevant issues and topics together with trends perspectives.

As a rising number of people switch to sharing mobility services and abandon conventional public transportation, policymakers must assess how an increasing share of AVs helps or hurts policy objectives. With no driver and no labour costs, a shared vehicle may deliver extremely low fares, easy service, and be highly disruptive in many cities. Cities that plan for this technology will collect numerous benefits, including the potential elimination of millions of cars from the road (if combined with shared mobility business models), a more sustainable climate, improved mobility, more safe roads, productivity and social equity, new job opportunities for drivers, and new design of existing parking spaces.

As with previous technological developments involving the railroad, streetcar, and automobile, public policy will play a critical role in shaping AV technology and directing its effects on the cities. Cities do not have much time to assess and shape how autonomous vehicles are used, and they must move quickly to define policies that mitigate the risks while maximizing the benefits. Because of the major impacts AVs can have on our cities, planners must consider them. There are possible positive as well as negative consequences, but none of them are certain. The secondary consequences are much more unclear. Planners, in collaboration with other practitioners, play a critical role in assisting societies in maximizing the benefits of technology while minimizing the detrimental effects.

For further reading please check the full report.

The Urban Transports Community is featured by a project lead by MedCities (Barcelona, Spain), in partnership with UNIMED - Mediterranean Universities Union (Rome, Italy), Area Science Park (Trieste, Italy), CODATU (Lyon, France), CIVINET CY-EL (Cyprus-Greece), POLIS, Cities and Regions for transport innovation (Brussels, Belgium), and Durres Municipality (Durres, Albania).

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