News Flash

Top News

Posted on: June 3, 2019

Emerging Planning Issue: Automated Vehicles

image of a automated, driverless car

With the help of sensors, computers, and machine learning, autonomous vehicles are navigating increasingly complex driving environments. Eventually, human operators will be optional, and this capability could have dramatic implications for personal mobility, public transportation, and the movement of goods.

Experts in the field anticipate that AVs present major benefits and opportunities including:

  • Improving safety by reducing or removing human driving errors, which cause at least 94% of automobile crashes in the United States;
  • Improving the efficiency of the transportation system by reducing traffic incidents, allowing vehicles to travel closer together, encouraging car sharing, among others;
  • Reducing carbon emissions and improving the sustainability of the transportation system;
  • Improving mobility for special populations such as the elderly, disabled individuals, and those who are transit-dependent or do not have access to a private vehicle; and
  • Introducing new roles and service models for bus and paratransit operators by significantly reducing operational costs.

Yet, there are also questions about AV’s impact on a wide array of important policy issues. For instance, how will AVs impact vehicle miles traveled (VMT)? Will AVs promote or discourage active modes of transportation? How will the adoption of AVs change the built environment? Could AVs spark a new wave of development further away from urban centers, or will they catalyze the revitalization of existing neighborhoods and downtowns? What will happen to jobs in the transportation and warehousing sector, a significant sector for San Joaquin County, as AVs displace jobs behind the wheel? How will the transportation system be funded once traditional revenue sources become obsolete (e.g. parking revenue, moving violation fees, tax revenues related to vehicle purchase, registration, gasoline consumption, etc.)?

Technological innovation will undoubtedly have significant and transformative impacts on the transportation system. How will AVs shape the future of transportation in San Joaquin County? To begin addressing this question for the 2022 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy, staff has prepared a Automated Vehicles briefing packet, which includes:

  • Detailed information about autonomous vehicle testing;
  • Highlights of the policy and planning implications of AVs in the transportation system;
  • A menu of potential short- and long-term strategies to consider at the local and regional level; and
  • An overview of what is happening throughout San Joaquin County regarding policy and planning for transportation innovation and technology infrastructure.

This briefing is the first in a series that staff will bring to committees and board. The intent of the series is to build understanding and dialogue on emerging issues in regional planning that will help to inform policy recommendations and investments for adoption in the next regional plan.

View the Automated Vehicles Briefing Packet...
Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Top News