Driverless: more or less?

Driverless: more or less?
Adaptative Street design. Today and Tomorrow scenario.

“If you can change the street, you can change the world” Janette Sadik-Khan

This book focuses on the impact of the most anticipated driverless revolution on cities and urban transportation and investigates the extent to which it will alter the science of traffic engineering and transport planning.

It seeks to develop measurement tools and units that make it possible to rethink and reinvent the toolkit and the traffic engineering concepts to the expected challenges associated with making inclusive, equitable and sustainable cities that can adapt to the upcoming changes.

“Driverless: more or less?”  includes both Systematica’s past and latest experiences and pilot projects as well as researches done by “Transform Transport” research unit.

The impacts of driverless vehicles are expected to be felt on multiple fronts and facets such as ethical values, safety, and the dimensioning of city components including public spaces, parking areas, roads and necessary changes in street design. The spread of the driverless vehicles is expected to occur hand-in-hand with the development of mobility devices into a ubiquitous commodity that transcends the traditionally clear distinction between public and private modes, private and collective, all while moving into an era of sharing, re-questioning basic parameters such as car ownership, car occupancy, vehicle trip generation, modal share, and so on.

The concept of “more or less” is an exploratory exercise, a modest attempt, to predict the different facets of this revolution, to read and analyse the transformation process through the consideration of both the negatives and positives associated with this movement.

Driverless today. Vehicles, technology and design.

Driverless today is about vehicles technology and design

Driverless. Autonomous. Self-driving. Robot Cars. All different terms currently used to describe vehicles capable of sensing and understanding their environment and navigating with limited or no human input.

Today, most leading auto manufacturers and tech companies are working on driverless innovations, while the major effort and focus are on the design of vehicles and technological devices to improve their performance. Driverless vehicles are providing planners with a unique chance to rethink cities in regards to the automobile itself.

Urban mobility will be revolutionized, bulky transport infrastructure such as parking facilities and depots will be eliminated, and the expected reduction of vehicles on the roads will offer the possibility to humanize cities, prioritize people over cars, and dedicate more space to pedestrian activities and biking.

Milan future transport framework. Different means of transport can operate at different levels interlinked with each other (in red public transport, blue shared driverless, black private cars).

There are no predefined scales of intervention

There are no predefined scales of intervention and analytical limits; access to any given building is influenced by the deployment of driverless vehicles. While there is the promise for benefits such as improved safety by fewer collisions, reduced traffic congestion, less air pollution, social inclusion and cheaper urban transportation, there are challenges such as legislation, ethical concerns, cybersecurity, technological issues and most importantly restructuring urban fabric by altering and redeveloping street designs and public spaces for driverless vehicles access.

Considering the diversity of urban fabrics, transportation availabilities, travel behaviour, and modal choices around the globe, there will be a wide range of systems for driverless vehicles.

Los Angeles desire lines. Top three zones of Airport, Downtown and Hub (UBER data)

No significant changes will occur if the current mobility paradigm is not re-imagined.

During the past decade, driverless vehicles have emerged as a reality from sci-fi fantasy; providing a unique opportunity for planners, designers and decision makers to revolutionize urban mobility through strategic mobility and infrastructure plans that can provide effective, efficient, affordable, and sustainable urban transport for over half of the world’s population.

Al Wedyan driverless zone demand index. Expected travel demand is correlated with population density and facilities density. In the streets with higher demand more drop-off points are provided.