Along for the Ride: Weekly Newsletter on AVs and Urbanism - Issue #28

Hi friends!

This week has exciting stories that include tempura, road pricing, and female CEOs (so a combination of all of my favourite things, really).

Hope you enjoy the news this week as much as I did. Please share it with a friend who you think would enjoy it as much as we do. 🤓

Read of the Week

The power of noodles (and tempura)

The power of noodles (and tempura)

Tokyo Metro needs to change the behaviour of passengers to ease over-whelming congestion on Tozai Line, and are offering soba noodles and tempura as an incentive. Participants have to link up their transport card, and repeatedly travel before morning rush hour to qualify. Free tempura would 100% make a morning person out of me.


Government and Policy

Ontario: The Minister for Transport in Ontario has adjusted road regulation to allow level three autonomous vehicles on the road. Drivers will need to be alert, but they can take their hands off the steering wheel and feet off the pedals. (CTV).

Product liability: The National Law Review predicts that self-driving cars will increase product liability litigation. “… if companies are unable to adequately manage expectations and disclose the potential risks and limitations of these self-driving cars, there is a potential for a flood of litigation in our courthouses”. (National Law Review).

LA’s change of heart: LA is pushing for a new study to examine how road pricing could working in the city - including charging drivers per mile driven. This is an effort to help pay for new mass transport needed for the 2028 Olympics (and reduce the city’s renowned congestion). (LA Times).

Vancouver free shuttles: To all subscribers based in Vancouver (there’s a small contingent of you!), you’ll be able to access a free electric and autonomous shuttle between Surrey and Vancouver between Feb 23 - March 3. Sign-up online here. And send me pictures! (Vancouver Sun).


A waymo welcome to Michigan: Michigan has awarded Waymo an $8 million grant to bring their self-driving car plant to metro Detroit. (Waymo, The Detroit News). Also, The Verge interviewed a Waymo One user, who gave anecdotal evidence about how the vehicle handles weather and confusing situations like crowded parking lots. (The Verge).

On the brink: Uber’s special investigation unit is “overworked, underpaid and at times emotionally traumatized”. (CNN). Uber rewards has officially launched - but they seem to incentivize private trips as opposed to shared, which I personally have a qualm with. (Tech Crunch). And lastly… Uber has an autonomous trick up its sleeve, and it involves bike and scooters this time. They want to automate the redistribution of their micromobility assets around cities. (Tech Crunch).

Unicorn for sale: TomTom has just sold their vehicle-tracking arm for a cool billion to Bridgestone. (ZDnet).

Who run the world: Beyonce in the background: Girls! Zoox has hired Aicha Evans to be their CEO beginning later in February. She is a total badass who was previously Chief Strategy Officer at Intel. (Forbes).

Rotten apple: Apple has cut 200 people from their self-driving car division, Project Titan. According to Apple, the project will continue on, and some staff are being moved to other divisions. (TechCrunch).

Research and Academia

Safe streets: Pedestrian fatalities in the US have increased since 2008. By 35%. Smart Growth America just released their Dangerous by Design report, and it is worth a read. (CityLab, Smart Growth America).

The perception of safety: New research from LA’s expo line suggests that ridership is down partly because women do not feel safe while taking public transport. “… of the women who said they wouldn’t use the nearby transit option, 20 percent said they were avoiding it for fear of harassment or for their safety”. (PDF).

And that’s all there is from me. 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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