The USA’s Transportation Research Board
held the 3rd Automated Road Vehicle Symposium (ARV-3) in San Francisco
mid-July. More precisely it was a hotel near SFO, the international airport
south of the city on the way to Silicon Valley.
ATRA was a full participant, as well as the Association for Unmanned
Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). Podcar thinking was well received.
Sometimes ARVs are better off on an exclusive guideway - a way that also
overcomes battery limitations.
was held in Irvine in 2012. Interest was so intense that organizers immediately
set sight on a second, which took place last year at Stanford University in
Palo Alto. It took on more solid footing with growing attendance and interest
growing. This year mid-summer, it was at the Hyatt at SFO.
Driverless Road Vehicles or Guideway?
At ARV-3, much of the discussions focused
on vehicle automation for personally owned cars. ATRA’s main contribution was a
breakout session on the impact of vehicle automation on public transit and
shared mobility. The Symposium Committee included several ATRA members.
| TRB up to the challenge? - Source: ecowatch.org |
Eleven speakers shared perspectives and
thoughts on the influence of the mobility revolution taking place with web- and
app-enabled ride- and vehicle-sharing. How do automated vehicles intersect with
public transport? Sam Lott noted that it has been about fifty years since
full automation was introduced to mass transit -- yielding many lessons for the
ARV world. Indeed transit operations are excellent testing grounds for automation
Christer Lindstrom described Stockholm’s
interest in ATN to prevent more ‘rubber on the roadways’ in their complicated,
island-speckled metropolitan area. ATNs
were mentioned in the USDOT’s research agenda by Vincent Valdez of the FTA. He
organized a breakout session on ‘Mobility on Demand’ -- transit that puts a
premium on passengers.
The week ended with ATRA’s
workshop entitled Vehicles within the Built Environment: 2020,
. It was targeted to metropolitan planners and had a strong
planning contingency with a charrette exploring ATN-enabled built environments.
Over eighty-five professionals broke
into smaller groups. In the words of one participant, it was a back-caste vision
for the future that included ATN.
ARV-3 and ATRA’s workshop opened many minds
to the promising new forms of urban development and re-purposing made possible
by podcars. Many problem and design scenarios discussed came to inevitable
conclusions that point to ATN. This necessitates some level of public ownership
and the need for some kind of central 'control'. A fleet of autonomous vehicles
alone won’t cut it.
Without central management and controls,
ARVs predictably bring more congestion, more sprawl, and perhaps greater social
inequities, On-street ARVs will have to interface with walkers and bikers as
well as manual vehicles. One observer noted an overall lack of attention to energy
issues that figure big into policy-making for future transportation. He regretted
that many ATN 'enthusiasts' pay little attention to the bigger energy picture, GHG
and climate violence.
|How real is the promised energy plenty of fracking? - source: Association for the Study of Peak Oil|
ATRA Chair Alain Kornhauser
announced a new Princeton-affiliated R&D facility at Fort Monmouth along
the New Jersey coast. It is dedicated to
supporting transit and public mobility agencies in dealing with ARV technology.
You will learn more at PCC8 in Stockholm September 3-5.