Along for the Ride #124
Have we actually reached peak car, or are we kidding ourselves?
Heya friends, happy Friday!
Excited to report I’ve landed back in SF, and am back to my usual shenanigans (read: morning walks along my local Slow Street, cycling through Golden Gate Park, and eating an inordinate amount of tacos 😎). Quite a few articles to cover this week as I was flying last week, so I hope you enjoy!
Read of the Week
“[T]he tide would seem to be turning against the car, in particular in cities, where the cost of car ownership is increasingly onerous. A further shift is about to tip the scales still further, by making alternatives — from buses and trains to ride hailing and bike sharing — even more attractive. Because for the first time, thanks to the smartphone, they can now all be stitched together to create a far more compelling alternative to the car.”
Government and Policy
On America’s car crash epidemic
(Just in case you thought we were actually at peak car). This Vox article deep-dives into why Americans continue to see high rates of KSIs (Killed and Seriously Injured) despite decreasing VMT. “Driving is the most dangerous thing most Americans do every day. Virtually every American knows someone who’s been injured in a car crash, and each year cars kill about as many people as guns and severely injure millions.”
Why widening highways doesn’t ease traffic
“If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then these transportation agencies seem certifiably nuts. Why is it taking so long — and why has it been so hard — for officials to recognize the futility of urban roadway expansion?”
California mandates all AVs must be zero emission by 2030
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new bill this week, SB 500, mandating all future AVs in the state to be zero emissions. This is the Governor’s latest effort to limit the sale of new internal combustion vehicles, hopefully reducing GHGs.
More policy news:
Whitby, Canada launches Canada’s longest AV shuttle route in new pilot (Electronics360)
What would cities look like if AVs ruled the road? (Streetsblog)
Sao Paulo decides electric air taxis will help address the city’s traffic congestion (The Guardian)
Some links because 🤷♀️:
Tesla expands “Full Self Driving” mode to more Tesla owners (WSJ), and Tesla has officially asked drivers not to share clips of FSD beta mistakes… (The Verge).
Toyota’s Woven Planet acquires Renovo Motors (The Verge)
GM invests $300M in Momento to advance footprint in China (GM)
Wayve.ai partners with Asda in the UK to trial last-mile grocery operations in London (Business Wire)
Aurora unveils a new Toyota Sienna powered by their technology, and designed for ride-hailing (Aurora)
Research and Academia
On political partisanship and transport reform (the wonk in me loved this one!)
“Support for transportation policies and investments is increasingly shaped by partisan ideals. Less well documented is the role of partisanship relative to potential mediating factors like transportation-related values, beliefs about the possibility of change, self-interest, and knowledge.. We found considerable support for change but also deep partisan divides. In exploring the pathways between partisanship and policy preferences, we found that values and beliefs about change are both deeply partisan and closely associated with policy preferences.”
How street design impacts safety and congestion
New research from Utah shows that “denser and more connected neighborhoods have significantly lower congestion levels, but they do not have measurably lower (or higher) crash rates, presumably due to the prevalence of four-way intersections.”
When ride-hailing is worse for emissions than owning a car
Researchers recently simulated replacing private vehicle travel with TNCs in six U.S. cities. “On average, we find a 50–60% decline in air pollutant emission externalities from NOx, PM2.5, and VOCs due to avoided “cold starts” and relatively newer, lower-emitting TNC vehicles. However, increased vehicle travel from deadheading creates a ∼20% increase in fuel consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions and a ∼60% increase in external costs from congestion, crashes, and noise. Overall, shifting private travel to TNCs increases external costs by 30–35% (adding 32–37 ¢ of external costs per trip, on average).”
Extra Bits + Bobs
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That’s all from me. Have a beautiful weekend friends.