AVs could bring better social equity to cities, but only if handled properly

The potential benefits of autonomous vehicles are well understood, but handled poorly, they could induce urban sprawl and bring more congestion to the road. By Xavier Boucherat

For all the enthusiasm that surrounds robotaxis and other urban applications for autonomous vehicles (AV), their widespread deployment remains a long-term prospect. It is therefore no surprise that few if any US cities have begun to prepare in earnest for their arrival. What’s more, attempting to get ahead of the curve could be risky business: on the one hand, AV requirements remain an unknown quantity, with self-driving capabilities and application types evolving on a near-daily basis. On the other hand, it is by no means certain that AVs will align with the goals which many major cities share, such as eliminating congestion. In other words, AVs are not guaranteed a welcome.

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