• Mei Tsuruta
Autonomous vehicles of varying levels are already a reality for several major U.S. cities. This technology has implications of an economic, ethical, and environmental nature, and will likely disrupt the landscape of city and regional transportation planning processes for years to come. This report builds upon existing literature on the predicted ramifications of autonomous vehicles to identify similarities and discrepancies between autonomous vehicle-related transportation planning documents for the San Francisco Bay Area and the personal perceptions of planners themselves. This is done via document and interview analyses, based on publicly available planning documents and the interviewing of four Bay Area planning professionals. The research problem and its findings are framed with the theory on the multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions, as a way of understanding how a technological change comes about in society, particularly a technology which disrupts the current stable regime of the gas-powered automobile. The results of this study show that of the planning documents that cover autonomous vehicles, the content is predominantly in line with the viewpoints of the planners, most evidently on the themes of autonomous vehicle technology itself and its potential impacts on social equity and public transit. The future stable regime of a new smart and sustainable mobility paradigm can be one of an equitable, safe, efficient, and streamlined transportation system that leverages ICT to achieve regional goals, driven by a shift in the landscape that is sparked by the autonomous vehicle. In this new paradigm, it will not be the gas-powered automobile which characterizes the stable regime, but it will likely not be characterized by the autonomous vehicle either - rather, the autonomous vehicle must be but one well-functioning part of a revitalized entire transportation network.
SpecialisationUrban Planning and Management
Publication date7 Jun 2019
Number of pages82
ID: 305300558