Federal Regulations

There is only limited federal regulation of C/AV transportation, as noted by attorney-at-law Lisa Loftus-Otway in her book on smart transportation, “there are questions about the most useful role of states and local governments in overseeing this new technology,” (Loftus-Otway et al., 2018, pg. 14). 

Land Use Impacts

Transportation and land use are highly interconnected. Large-scale projects can have immense effects on valuations and land use patterns. However, it is difficult to directly quantify the impact of transportation projects on land use.

AVs provide a convenience of traveling for drivers, a decrease in the value of travel time (VOTT), and reduced congestion. Due to this, planners may face challenges of undesired sprawl in developments.

Urban Form and the Public Realm

There are few studies related to the changing urban form due to multiple modes of transport (in terms of signage, street parking, etc.). With AVs and SAVs, there will likely be an increase in empty repositioning trips. These will also be done to reduce parking costs and share a single car among household members. Therefore, there might not be a need for large parking garages around the city. This space can be redesigned through effective land use policy. 

Bicycle Safety

Top safety experts have been tackling the problem of AVs detecting bike lanes, pedestrians, and cyclists; communication between cyclists, pedestrians, and AVs; new infrastructure designs and AV regulations; and related V2X technology choices. Many believe that “public uptake of automated vehicles on a large scale basis will not happen until pedestrian and bicycle safety issues are addressed. Despite this fact, pedestrian and bicyclist safety and health issues are not at the forefront of automated vehicle discussions and research.” (Sandt and Owens, 2017)

In addition, easy access to AVs may result in less biking and walking, leading to even higher rates of obesity and related disorders like diabetes and heart disease. Forbes (McMahon, 2015) quotes an active-transport expert as saying, “For every hour that a person spends in (his/her) car, per day on average, their likelihood of obesity goes up about 6 percent. Even bus riding is healthier than riding in a car.” Hopefully, AV users saving time or effort en route will spend their “saved” time in more active engagements at their destinations, to keep humans healthy.