Posted on December 27, 2017
Autonomous Vehicles Could Put Cities In Driver’s Seat | Toronto, Mississauga
Not too long ago, many of us saw the autonomous vehicle as something that might happen in the far-off future. But as a recent think tank event sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute discovered, the reality of AV automobiles is close at hand. If cities like those served by Ontario Chrysler—Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, and the wider GTA—get on board with strategies, they’ll be serving drivers first, not just shiny new technologies that may not work without an urban plan in place.
Rather than viewing AV from a purely technological angle, the Bloomberg/Aspen conference suggests that cities focus on which problems they want to solve. If urban centres take an inventory of challenges faced by human drivers, the AV revolution can actually help cities to reduce vehicle miles traveled, improve overall air quality, or connect at-risk communities to better economic opportunities.
Local policy makers will need to engage with residents to grasp their actual needs, generate user-sourced ideas, and design and test these proposed new solutions. Increasing attention on the human design approach around the world can be an especially powerful approach. With citizens of cities fully engaged in the creative process, city halls across the nation can develop strategies and solutions that are fully functional, not just theoretical.
AVs will impact much more than the way we drive in the same way that smart phones are not just telephones. It’ll change the way we view transportation, how we move people and goods in urban regions, how we use available land, how and where local economies will grow and thrive. Issues such as race, equity and overall social cohesion will be influenced. It will require the combined team efforts of transportation experts and mayors to manage this wide range of implications for positive outcomes.
Many cities have grown accustomed to working together to tackle climate change, for example. How the AV market is shaped will be greatly influenced by such urban collaborations. If cities approach AV as a team-led, solutions-driven revolution, it’s drivers in places like Mississauga and Toronto who truly win out. Technology is at its best when it serves the people who use it in daily life.
Wishing you a fantastic new year from the entire group at Ontario Chrysler. See you in 2018!