Ten Steps Toward Autonomous Urbanism (5 & 6)

Monday, 29 January 2018

Steps 5 & 6: Prepare for disruption at city hall & Design high performing, human-oriented streets

In this series of blogs we’ll look at the Ten Steps Toward Autonomous Urbanism as defined by Lisa Nisenson and Brad Davis in their article published by CNU in December 2017.

Step 5Prepare for disruption at city hall

Autonomous vehicles are not the only disruption in town. From taxis to hotels, Uber, Lyft and airbnb are already causing unease in city hall, and they are only the beginning.

A new bus company offers overnight bus service between Los Angeles and San Francisco with sleeping pods. The cost is the same as a one-way plane ticket between the two cities, though the real money story is the amount of taxes left uncollected for a traveler otherwise flying in the night before and staying at a hotel: airport fees, airline taxes, hotel taxes.

Urbanists devote their lives to shaping the public realm, largely with public investment. Our new bottom line is doubling down on practices that meet multiple benefits while identifying sustainable and fair sources of new revenue.

Step 6Design high performing, human-oriented streets

The future of streets must be people-oriented. Technology has the potential to make streets safer, more economically productive, less congested, and more engaging public spaces. To accomplish this, street design policies must be modified to not only address the negative impacts of auto-oriented street designs today but also account for new technology and services in the future.

Over the next decade, we will likely see renewed attention to corridors, with a technology twist. With autonomous technology, transit agencies are expected to phase out low performing routes while focusing on high capacity corridors. This is already underway in cities undertaking bus network redesign. Los Angeles is testing a combination of first/last mile approaches, shared-use mobility and shuttle systems feeding riders to corridors. Lanes next to curbs are likely to become flexible testbeds for a variety of new uses and transportation technology.

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