Along for the Ride #146
Heya friends, happy Friday!
Short n sweet prelude this week as there is a lot of ~news~ and my vacation brain is still activated (please forgive me for any and all spelling mistakes!). Please note I wrote this newsletter while listening to ABBA, and if you’d like to join along as you read, you can find me on Track 3.
Ok, onto le news:
Government and Policy
EU plans to make ICE a thing of the past
EU lawmakers on the environment committee are supporting a bill that end the sales of petrol and diesel engines across the EU by 2035. However, the committee simultaneously voted against proposals for tougher targets to cut car CO2 emissions within this decade.
How San Francisco police use AVs for surveillance
*Filed under not good, very bad*. New documents show how SFPD has been leveraging cameras atop of AVs to help inform criminal investigations, and how they plan to work more closely with AV companies to access this data. This is problematic based on the police’s presence in the City, and fears that this could lead to more crime, surveillance and incarceration.
TfL is starting their own property company
Transport for London (TfL) has set up a new commercial property company and is building office space and homes to generate cash for the transport network. The new property company is looking to build 20,000 homes over the next 10 years, and TfL says half “will be affordable”.
The more you know!
Seoul has launched a VR simulator for AVs (Smart Cities World)
Can NYC keep their car-free streets (The Guardian)
Baidu joins Pony.ai with license in Beijing
Baidu and Pony.ai no longer to have safety drivers present in their AVs when operating in Beijing. However, they’ll still need a supervisor present somewhere in the vehicle. Both companies are also limited to a 60 square kilometer (23.1 square mile) area in Yizhuang, Beijing. Baidu has been allocated ten AV licenses while in the area, Pony.ai has four.
The more you know!
Three technologies that could make AVs safer (Smart Cities Dive)
Hyundai and Motional plan to launch AVs in the US in 2023 (Green Car Congress)
Aurora (owned by Amazon) is making moves (GeekWire)
Autonomous tractors are plowing! ahead (The Star)
Oxbotica partners with NEVS (vehicle designers) (Oxbotica)
Research and Academia
Data driven approaches to optimizing bike lanes
“In a working paper, University of Toronto’s Sheng Liu and UCLA Anderson’s Auyon Siddiq and Jingwei Zhang, a Ph.D. student, develop a method for planning bike lane networks using a data-driven approach along with input from city planners. Their method accounts for both the potential increase in cycling ridership and the potential impact on car traffic from new bike lanes. Their findings suggest that expanding cycling ridership without a dramatic increase in overall car traffic congestion is possible and that the addition of bike lanes can even reduce car congestion in some road segments.”
“For this segment of the population [+75], walking represents the main means of accessing urban services and actively participating in community life. It is thus essential to improve both the physical and functional organization of urban areas to develop comfortable and safe walking paths for the elderly and the other weak segments of population. Therefore, this study provides a methodology for classifying a neighbourhood as more or less accessible for the elderly to reach urban services on the basis of its favourable characteristics.”
The more you know!
How unethical is next day delivery?
This one goes out to my mom, who has been boycotting Amazon and Jeff Bezos since the dawn of all time and taught me how sweet life is when you’re just a wee bit inconvenienced.
“There are also questions about how sustainable this relentless pace is within the climate emergency. There are two differing philosophies about the emission impact of next-day delivery. Some argue that by streamlining the flow of products – bundling up all of our assorted consumption needs into parcels on a shared conveyor belt – we are taking the cars off the road that would previously be making routine trips to local strip malls.”
AVs will need smarter roadways
“One way to speed the adoption of self-driving vehicles is to give them automated express lanes, where they can zip past regular traffic without having to tangle with human-driven cars.. A startup company, Cavnue, just raised $130 million in Series A financing to build the nation's first network of connected and automated vehicle (CAV) corridors, starting in Michigan.”
This article is everything that scares me about the AV moment, namely investing millions and billions in infrastructure to make driving even easier. Meanwhile all cyclist and pedestrians need is substantially cheaper “dumb” protected infrastructure, while bus riders could use enhanced bus stops and real-time tracking, and of course mass transit could be properly invested in… and then we’d actually have safer, more sustainable transit systems.
Extra Bits + Bobs
C40 Call for Competition! C40 is inviting creative multidisciplinary teams – including architects, developers, community groups and more – to compete to design and develop climate-friendly urban projects. See here for sites that are currently open for competition.
That’s all from me. Have a beautiful weekend friends.