Could automated vehicles be a transportation game changer? Dramatic changes coming in lifestyles, public finances, megaproject/infrastructure needs?

Automated Vehicles report cover, Conference Board of Canada, Jan 2015

Automated Vehicles report cover, Conference Board of Canada, Jan 2015

The Province newspaper today featured a front-page story by Dan Fumano entitled “B.C. gov’t keeps a close eye on ‘imminent’ arrival of self-driving cars.

This is a must-read for every person who will be voting in the Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Plebiscite. Also a must-read is the report it mentions (“Automated Vehicles: The Coming of the Next Disruptive Technology“). And watch the video interview with an expert on The Province website.

Plebiscite voting cards are in the mail, and people may vote from March 16 to May 29.

Below are a few excerpts of the article, plus links to the reports referenced.

The article should raise many questions in the minds of readers, policy makers, taxpayers, environmentalists, transportation advocates, cyclists, and voters.

Regarding plans for the 10-year, $7.5-billion plan proposed by the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, the exact text on the Plebiscite card says “Build rapid transit along Broadway in Vancouver.” Usually “rapid transit” could take many forms, including surface rail and even buses. But in contrast, the Mayors Council on Regional Transportation website (Mayorscouncil.ca) says “Build the Broadway Subway” in the list of promises. So IF the YES side wins, will future mayors and councillors automatically assume a subway was supported by the public? If so, that intention and assumption is probably a bit twisted.  And if we take seriously the promise of automated vehicles, which some cities of the world may be accepting within TWO years, are our elected officials going to be building infrastructure with a multi-generation commitment on a business model that will saddle future taxpayers (including some of us!) with dinosaur technology? Do we want to be directing everyone into a linear tube? Or is the future in a network grid, a matrix? And is March 2015 the time to make that decision?

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EXCERPTS of “B.C. gov’t keeps a close eye on ‘imminent’ arrival of self-driving cars.

  • B.C.’s government is keeping an eye on driverless vehicles, an emerging technology that experts say will be the most profound change in transportation in a century.
  • According to a recently released report: “The arrival of automated vehicles (AVs) — also known as autonomous, self-driving, or driverless vehicles — is imminent” in Canada.
  • That report, a collaboration between the Conference Board of Canada, the Van Horne Institute, and the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence (CAVCOE), encourages different levels of government to consider the impacts of automated vehicles in urban planning, transit and infrastructure projects.
  • Canada is beginning to lag in recognizing and preparing for the large impact this disruptive digital technology will have on our society,” says the report. Study co-author Paul Godsmark said: “Essentially, autonomous vehicles are going to transform society,”
  • …Google has rolled out prototype AVs in California and elsewhere, and company representatives said a mass-market version could be available as early as 2017…. Godsmark said it’s been difficult for engineers and planners to understand the implications of this technology, because the field hasn’t seen such a fundamental “paradigm shift” since the change from the horse and carriage to the car..

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT: 

“Automated Vehicles: The Coming of the Next Disruptive Technology,” by The Conference Board of Canada, the Van Horne Institute, and the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence (CAVCOE).
Download PDF:
http://vanhorne.info/files/vanhorne/automated-vehicles-the-coming-of-the-next-disruptive-technology.pdf

Shifting Gears—Preparing For Automated Vehicles: Self-driving cars to be on the roads by 2020–25 (21-Jan-2015)
http://www.conferenceboard.ca/press/newsrelease/15-01-21/shifting_gears%E2%80%94preparing_for_automated_vehicles.aspx

Changing Lanes – Preparing for Automated Vehicles: New vision for transportation infrastructure and investment is needed (January 22, 2015)
http://www.conferenceboard.ca/press/newsrelease/15-01-22/changing_lanes_-_preparing_for_automated_vehicles.aspx

Autonomous cars could save Canadians $65B a year: Technology will shake up transit, urban planning, job market, Conference Board of Canada reports (by Emily Chung, CBC News, 21-Jan-2015) http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/autonomous-cars-could-save-canadians-65b-a-year-1.2926795

TRANSIT REFERENDUM

2015 Elections BC website – Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Plebiscite.
Vote March 16 to May 29.
http://www.elections.bc.ca/plebiscite/

How to vote in Metro Vancouver’s transit referendum
Ballots will start being mailed out on March 16 and have to be returned before May 29
By The Early Edition, CBC News
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/how-to-vote-in-metro-vancouver-s-transit-referendum-1.2987229

Mayors Council on Regional Transportation: http://mayorscouncil.ca/

 

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