Future Commute: Robots, Ratrods, and Ropeways

Sunday, May 7, 2017 | 1 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
CM | 1.25
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You'll learn about:

  • The state and forecast for automated vehicles and e-bikes in the United States and abroad
  • Feasibility criteria to be used when considering a ropeway or aerial option
  • Ways in which the urban form, and the regulation of land use, may change with automated vehicles
  • The expanded travelsheds and access of e-bikes when compared with standard bikes 
  • The design implications of e-bikes, too slow for many travel lanes, yet too fast for sidewalks, trails, and bike lanes  

Despite the popularity of the Complete Streets movement, some modes and manners of travel remain little more than novelties. However, these alternative modes can play a key role in mobility and placemaking. For each of these "modes," you will learn about the current and evolving state of the technology; criteria to use when considering the use of these technologies; and the implications for planning, urban form, and environmental health.

Automated vehicles (robots) have become a common topic. Explore the technological, legal, and planning implications of this trend. Imagine—as just one example of the coming change—relocating parking lots and garages to remote locations, accessed by driverless vehicles that have already left their passengers at their workplaces.  

In some nations, electric scooters and electric bikes (ratrods) are the most popular mode of travel. Though the proliferation of these vehicles is aligned with most adopted goals and planning objectives, the planning and design for this mode is routinely overlooked in the United States. You will be shown the bikeshed and ridership differences that can be made by the addition of small motors to America’s bike fleet.

Aerial ropeways are in use in urban areas from New York to Portland, helping to move people over barriers that cannot be overcome with surface transportation options. Seldom is an aerial option introduced, even when the network or site constraints indicate its effectiveness. Learn when it is appropriate to introduce the ropeway option.


Michael Deiparine , Engineering Specialties Group , Denver , CO
Derek Chisholm , AICP , AECOM , New Orleans , LA (see bio)
Tyler Folsom , Seattle , WA