Reshaping Boston for autonomous vehicles
From 2014 to 2018, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has conducted research on learning how cities can best introduce, and take advantage of, autonomous vehicles. In 2016, it selected Boston as its initial city to study in detail. The findings of this partnership have now been published, in Reshaping Urban Mobility with Autonomous Vehicles: Lessons from the City of Boston.
Prior to settling on Boston, citizens and city planners from 27 cities around the world were surveyed about their needs, attitudes, and expectations in regard to autonomous vehicles. This report does focus on Boston, but the WEF is looking to partner with other cities for similar studies in the future.
The primary driver for the report, was this:
Autonomous vehicles will radically transform how people and goods are transported around cities. What steps do government leaders need to take to ensure the future of mobility remains safe, clean and accessible for all people?
The Forum pursued this collaboration with a city to understand how to unlock AVs’ tremendous potential to generate social value (saved lives, saved time and enhanced access for people who are elderly, disabled and disadvantaged). We conclude that cities, nations and the world will need to embrace a regulatory and governance framework for AVs that nudges us towards an “AV heaven” scenario and away from “AV hell”.
This report shows that with community outreach, collaboration, and data you can plan for the introduction of these transport technologies, rather than just have technological and business model change simply turn up and fight. Refreshingly the report doesn’t gloss over the fact that autonomous vehicles will in some respects, in some areas, cause some increase in congestion in the city.
Numbers suggest that in the city centre personal car usage will decrease (9%), but so to will the use of public transport (16% decline). It foresees a shift to mobility-on-demand in the city centre, particularly for shorter trips. As elsewhere in the report, it proposed policy levers and innovations to address any congestion brought on by AVs.
Download the report
This 33-page report is well-considered, packed with data, and is a recommended read.
Click the button below to download a copy of Reshaping Urban Mobility with Autonomous Vehicles – Lessons from the City of Boston.