The question of how automated vehicles will factor into impacting vision zero goals of eliminating traffic deaths is a critical one.
And yesterday, at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s joint meeting of the Regional Safety Task Force and Futures Group, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia was represented by Executive Director Sarah Clark Stuart who participated on a panel to share thoughts in response to a presentation made by “Gridlock” Sam of Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants and questions posed by the City of Philadelphia Office of Transportation, Infrastructure & Sustainability Complete Streets Director Kelley Yemen.
Other participants were Megan Ryerson, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Roger Cohen, Senior Policy Advisory, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Steve Buckley, Planning & Environment National Director of WSP.
Mr. Schwartz, former NYC DOT Commissioner and UPenn Alum, made a terrific presentation, based on his new book No One at the Wheel: Driverless Cars and the Road of the Future on the good, bad and the ugly about automated vehicles, and made a number of very important points:
- Cars could be safer now with readily available technologies
- Vision Zero polices are proven to work to reduce fatalities with conventional vehicles
- Switching passengers to AVs and out of transit will cost lives, not save lives
- The more time spent in cars, the higher mortality rates will become
- Traffic will not necessarily improve
View the entire powerpoint here.
Additional points made by the Bicycle Coalition include:
- Policy makers should work in tandem with the AV industry, not after the technology is developed and rolled out;
- The AV industry needs rigorous oversight and mandated safety requirements — more than “voluntary compliance”;
- Streets and sidewalks should be redesigned, reallocated, and zoned to accommodate AVs in such as a way that biking and walking and transit are enhanced, not diminished;
- Incentivize fleet conversion of trucks, buses and vans by taxing individual AVs; and
- Congress should pass a strong START AV bill that provides significant safety protections for bicyclists and pedestrians.