A new task force is needed to help prepare British cities for the next generation of transport, according to an autonomous vehicle (AV) consortium.
In a report, the MERGE Greenwich consortium, led by Addison Lee Group, says that one in four journeys could be made via AV ride-sharing by 2025. This could help address mobility gaps, particularly in poorly connected areas, making travel more accessible.
AV ride-sharing could also be used as a feeder for mass transport, reducing journey times to transport hubs such as tube and rail stations. It could even allow car parks to be repurposed as private car usage falls.
However, if introduced without the right framework for integration and synergy with existing transport modes, such a new service could have unintended consequences, MERGE Greenwich suggested. It could lead to an increase in traffic and emissions, and could become an inequitable service which supersedes or competes with public transport.
The consortium called for a new task force to be convened, including local and national government as well as the private sector, to develop strategic policy, set goals and provide roadmaps for the next generation of transport services.
Cities need to start planning now for the arrival of autonomous vehicles, according to a separate report from Siemens.
‘Cities in the Driving Seat‘ examines the major changes urban areas will need to make before connected and autonomous vehicles become widespread, and it warns that these vehicles could cause problems unless cities “anticipate and tackle” changes to their infrastructure.
“Autonomous vehicles must be part of a wider transformation of urban areas,” commented Pete Daw, Urban Development and Environment director at Siemens’ Global Center of Competence Cities. “Cities need to ensure that they work towards putting people first, and not cars, or we risk repeating the mistakes of the past.”