Along for the Ride: Weekly Newsletter on AVs and Urbanism - Issue #16

Esteemed subscribers, welcome to another week of self-driving cars and urbanization.

This week I have a call to action! In order to keep this newsletter growing, I’m asking each of you to forward this to one friend (or foe..) who you think would enjoy this weekly recap.

Without further delay, here’s the round up:

Reads of the Week

Inside Scoop: Google Car Project

Before Waymo was Waymo, it was known as the Google Car Project. And the re-telling of its history, lawsuits and industry tensions is captured in a New Yorker piece released this week. Grab some popcorn, cause it’s dramatic.


The Wave Of Attribution Is Coming To Car Culture

Mitch Turck discusses how advances in software will create a shift in making car culture more accountable for its impact - especially when it comes to the social, environmental, and economic damage incurred over the last few decades.


Government and Policy

Pennsylvania: State-wide policy rolls out AV testing (Engadget).

Backbone: The future of AVs will only be as good as the maps which support them. (WSJ).

Parking: Forbes contributor leans on the knowledge base of Donald Shoup to discuss what will become of urban car parks. (Forbes).

Jobs: According to internal government documents, Canada could lose 1 Million jobs thanks to AVs. (Huddle).

Dubai: Self-driving taxi trial officially launches; it will run for three months in specific parts of the city. (Tribune).

Lyft Off: Obama’s Transport Secretary joins Lyft as their new Chief Policy Officer. Awaiting my offer any minute now. (Anthony Foxx).

Ready or Not: How six US cities are preparing for AVs. (Tech Republic).


In Their Own Words: Waymo’s latest blog on what their 10th million mile means - and where they hope to be in the next 10. (Waymo).

Law Enforcement: Waymo has released a plan to show how the vehicles with interact with officers if (when?) they are ever pulled over. (SF Chronicle).

Bumps in the Road: Wired discusses why human drivers (and a cyclist!) keep rear-ending autonomous vehicles. (Wired).

Money, Money, Money: Cognita, an autonomous simulation startup, raises 18.5M. (Tech Crunch).

Finding Harmony: GM says that before CAVs really hit the road, the vehicles and the companies behind them need to find “harmonization” with governments. (Fortune).

Shrimp Eyes: Yup, you read that correctly. New cameras for self-driving cars are inspired by shrimp eyes. (

Sign Me Up: Lyft launches subscription service nation-wide. Users pay $299USD for up to 30 $15 trips. (The Verge).

Audi and Huawei: Join forces in China to test autonomous technology. (The Verge).

High Expectations: Drivers over-estimate the ability of semi-autonomous vehicles, and it’s becoming a problem. (Wired).

Research and Academia

At the Helm: More than half of large US cities are preparing for AVs according to a new study by the National League of Cities. (NLC).

Research lab: Arizona develops a research lab for self-driving cars, partly funded by public and private entities. (Auto News).

Road Ready: Apparently not, according to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society; they deliver 12 policy suggestions to get there. (HFES).

TNCs to Blame: San Francisco conducted a follow up study on road congestion and Transport Network Companies (TNCs aka Uber and Lyft). They found TNCs are responsible for 51% of increased traffic between 2010 and 2016. (SFCTA).

Complementary? : Study addresses if Uber is a substitute or complement for public transport, finding that it depends on the city and level of public transport available. (ScienceDirect).


Podcast: Anna Muessig from Gehl Architects discusses AVs on this week’s episode of Talking Headways, a Streetsblog Podcast. (Podcast).

That’s all for this week. Have a beautiful weekend friends.


By Sarah Barnes

This weekly newsletter on cities, transportation and technology is curated weekly by Sarah Barnes, a transport nerd based in San Francisco, CA.

The newsletter encourages new conversations about advanced transportation technology, primarily autonomous vehicles, which focus on people, equity, design and the cities we want to (and need to) be building for the future.

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