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How Civic Policies Will Need to Change Due to Self-driving Cars

10 July 2018
Carnegie Mellon is working with the city of Pittsburgh on civic plans when self-driving cars come online. Source: Carnegie Mellon

Students at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) are teaming up with the city of Pittsburgh to help test autonomous vehicles that are currently under pilot programs in the city.

Currently, both Uber and Ford’s Argo AI autonomous division have deployed self-driving cars in Pittsburgh as well as other companies and startups that are rapidly developing technologies for next-generation vehicles.

While the testing of the technology has enormous implications for the city, the civic policy on self-driving cars is under-developed. Carnegie Mellon met with local leaders and gave recommendations designed to be realistically implemented in the next five years.

The recommendations include:

  • An introduction of a vehicle miles-traveled tax to replace lost revenue from gas taxes and parking.
  • The repurposing of parking facilities for new uses, revenue sources, or both.
  • The potential use of electronic autonomous shuttles.
  • Using a visualization technology for planning and to increase public engagement.
  • Require transportation networking companies to share data.

During the meeting with Pittsburgh officials, Carnegie Mellon staff and students discussed the effects of transportation networking companies — Uber and Lyft — the electrification of vehicles and advanced wireless technologies’ role in the transportation sector.

CMU said these discussions need to take place because right now there is no official mechanism in place to deal with the onslaught of the new technology that will be the biggest disruption to automobiles in decades.

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