Freeway congestion, toxic pollutants, and long hours spent commuting are the stereotypes associated with mobility and life in Los Angeles. Though we’ve fortunately seen tremendous progress over the decades, transportation in Los Angeles is evolving rapidly and tomorrow may look much different than today. Emerging technologies, in particular, will leave a profound imprint on that future, and perhaps no technology will be more impactful than autonomous vehicles.
Autonomous vehicles are already roaming the streets of some US cities, acquiring miles of experience. It’s likely to see such vehicles carrying passengers before year’s end in California as a result of recent permit eligibility from the California Public Utilities Commission. Narrowing our focus to Los Angeles, we can expect to see autonomous vehicle testing before the start of 2022, namely in Santa Monica.
Addressing autonomous vehicles raises countless questions, both familiar and new. There is at once a great amount of optimism, including the liberation from the steering wheel for people who can’t or don’t want to drive, as well as great pessimism, such as what will happen to our streets and neighborhoods if it becomes even easier to take a trip by car. With fewer owned and more shared vehicles, does that lead to less vehicles on the road resulting in less congestion and less emissions? Or will it have the “Uber effect” of placing even more vehicles on the road, worsening outcomes?
The elephant in the room is safety – for pedestrians, cyclists, passengers, other drivers, and so on. Could artificial intelligence improve upon the current rate of human error? Other important questions include who has access, with consideration of economic, geographic, and personal physical barriers such as mobility impairments.
We’ll be considering these and other important questions as we prepare for automated vehicles – soon coming to a neighborhood near you.
Ellie Casson, Head of City Policy and Government Affairs, Waymo
John Yi, Executive Director, Los Angeles Walks
Nina Harvey Schatmeier, Principal, Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates
Justine Johnson, Head of Mobility Engagement, Ford
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
12:00 – 1:00 pm PT
Go to Westside Urban Forum http://www.westsideurbanforum.com/
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