Future Trends

During the development of Mobility Plan 2040, we heard from people who wanted to make sure we were planning for coming changes that affect transportation – from ride-hailing services to automated/connected vehicles.

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What to Expect

Autonomous vehicles have the potential to revolutionize transportation and land use as automobiles did in the early 20th century. If AV implementation follows the patterns of other vehicle technologies, it will take one to three decades to dominate vehicle sales. Technical and ethical challenges may be more difficult to solve than expected, so we don’t expect fully self-driving vehicles to compose a majority of what is operating on the roads for several more decades.

In 2015, the Tennessee Legislature passed a bill prohibiting local governments from banning vehicles equipped with autonomous technology. This limits the ability of local municipalities to make decisions specific to their unique needs and challenges.

Planning for the Unknown

The Plan discusses future planning, new trends, and potential changes on pages 38 – 41. The TPO will continue to stay up-to-date on studies and best practices for the deployment of these new technologies. There is an abundance of information – see below if you are interested in learning more.

Smart Mobility

Innovations like real-time traffic management, public charging networks, and smart parking systems are complemented by new mobility solutions like rideshare, bikeshare, and transit apps. Smart mobility ties these together to allow people to see all of their transportation options and costs, and access them on demand. Greater connectivity also allows cities to manage traffic and infrastructure assets in real-time to create more efficient mobility.

Automated Vehicles

Fully automated (also “autonomous” & “self-driving”) vehicles are those in which operation of the vehicle occurs without direct driver input to control the steering, acceleration, and braking and are designed so that the driver is not expected to constantly monitor the roadway while operating in self-driving mode.

There have been multiple definitions for various levels of automation. In order to provide clarity and consistency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has adopted these standardized definitions for the levels of automation:

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

This video explains more about each level of automation.

Connected Vehicles

Connected vehicles are vehicles that use technologies to communicate with the driver, other cars on the road (vehicle-to-vehicle [V2V]), roadside infrastructure (vehicle-to-infrastructure [V2I]), and/or the Cloud. The goal of vehicle-to-vehicle communication is to prevent crashes by allowing vehicles to send position and speed data to one another over a network. Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I or v2i) is a communication model that allows vehicles to share information with the components that support a country’s highway system. Ideally, V2I sensors can capture infrastructure data and provide travelers with real-time advisories about such things as road conditions, traffic congestion, crashes, construction zones, and parking availability.

Automated vehicles may be independent (i.e., only use sensors on that vehicle) or may be connected (i.e., use V2V and/or V2I) as described above. Connectivity is an important tool to achieve the full benefits and implementation of automated vehicles.

Resources for Local Governments

Robot, Take the Wheel: Public Policy for Automated Vehicles
This report looks at the range of near- and long-term policy implications presented by automated vehicles to provide policymakers with the background needed to chart a path forward.

Autonomous Vehicles: A Policy Preparation Guide

This guide by the National League of Cities provides an overview of AV technology. It also answers frequently asked questions about AV manufacturers, public policy considerations, municipal coordination, and infrastructure investment.

Driving Toward Driverless: A Guide for Government Agencies

This guide offers an overview of emerging driverless techologies, and examines how the introduction of driverless vehicles on the nation’s roads will impact future infrastructure planning and development.

Driverless Future: A Policy Roadmap for City Leaders

This guide serves as a resource for city leaders facing complex policy issues related to autonomous vehicles. It also explores the potential effects those policies could have on equity, public transit, parking, land use and real estate development. (Registration required for download. Executive summary available here.)

Envisioning Florida’s Future: Transportation and Land Use in an Automated Vehicle World

This report envisions the impact of AV technology on Florida’s communities, and assesses how AV technology might impact the built environment in the coming decades.

Policy Brief: Land Use and Transportation: Without policy reform, automated vehicles have the potential to worsen sprawl.

This brief outlines a planning approach that supports both higher-density development and lower single-occupant driving.

TennSMART is a public-private consortium working together to accelerate the development and deployment of intelligent mobility innovations in Tennessee. Focus areas are connected and automated vehicles, heavy duty trucking and freight efficiency, cybersecurity, electric vehicles, and multimodal commuting.

The Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, signed by 15 major transport and technology companies on Feb 1, 2018, pledge to prioritize people over vehicles, lower emissions, promote equity and encourage data sharing, among other goals.

APA’s Autonomous Vehicles Resources page provides a curated list of resources including guides, videos and articles.

Jeff Speck: Autonomous Vehicles & the Good City
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) have the potential to be either a boon or a burden to our cities. Walkable City author Jeff Speck lays out rules intended to help cities realize the potential benefits of AVs.

Related Articles

AVs and Streets – A Guide to Potential Impacts,” Urbanism Next

Self-driving cars: How our roads, rules may need to change,” Detroit Free Press

5 Major Barriers Facing the Connected Cars of the Future,” VentureBeat

Why Self-driving Cars *can’t even* with Construction Zones,” Wired

Even Shared Autonomous Vehicles Could Spell Traffic Disaster,” CityLab

Future-Proofing Cities over the Next Decade for Driverless Cars,” Urban Land

Policies for autonomous vehicles come into focus,” Mobility Lab

How 53 Cities Are Preparing for Autonomous Vehicles,” Next City