Autonomous Vehicles (AV) Resources
Planners are committed to looking at how future technology can influence and shape the fabric of our communities. Planning professionals are uniquely able to address the impacts of today's actions on tomorrow's communities in a comprehensive way and over the long term.
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) will impact communities on a variety of fronts — land use, transportation planning, social equity, and the economy. APA is committed to helping members navigate AVs by providing resources, materials, guidance, and ongoing research. Below is a list of curated resources:
List of Resources
Planning for Autonomous Mobility
PAS Report 592
AVs are poised to disrupt the built environment and planning practices just as the automobile did more than a century ago. Planning for Autonomous Mobility is a call to action for planners to develop policy solutions and infrastructure investments that ensure an attractive, people-friendly, equitable, and safe AV future.
PAS reports are available free to APA members.
Preparing Communities for Autonomous Vehicles resulted in part from the AV Symposium on October 6, 2017. APA and partners convened 85 national AV and connected vehicle experts for this event as part of its Autonomous Vehicles: Planning for Impacts on Cities and Regions research.
Discussion topics included accessibility, equity, transportation planning, and built environment impacts. APA partners included the National League of Cities, Mobility E3, George Mason University, Mobility Lab, Eno Center for Transportation, and the Brookings Institution.
AVs will have significant impacts on policies, legislation, and regulations at the national, state, and local levels. APA's policy principles outline key areas of focus for planners and advocates to help shape federal programs and policies related to autonomous vehicles.
Looking for examples of how other communities have approached or responded to AVs? The AV KnowledgeBase provides a cumulative resource of best practices from reports, briefing papers, articles, policy guides, planning documents and videos from around the country. A grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has made this collection open to the public.
The podcast series "Planning the Autonomous Future" explores the many ways in which autonomous vehicle technology will impact cities and regions, mobility, and the planning profession.
Planning the Autonomous Future: Episode 1
In the first episode of the series, host Jennifer Henaghan, AICP — APA's deputy research director and Green Communities Center manager — and cohost Kelley Coyner — CEO of Mobility e3, a transportation leadership firm that helps communities plan, pilot, and deploy AV fleets — provide an introduction to AVs and explain why every community needs to be paying attention to them.
Planning the Autonomous Future: Episode 2
In this episode, Jennifer and Kelley hear about the ins and outs of conducting autonomous vehicle pilot projects from Corey Clothier, AV technology development and deployment strategist at Mobility e3. Later on in the episode, the three talk autonomous vehicle design and what types of eye-catching looks vehicle makers are coming up with.
Planning the Autonomous Future: Episode 3
Jennifer and Kelley take stock of multiple autonomous-vehicle-focused sessions from the 2018 National Shared Mobility Summit, which took place March 12–14 in Chicago. Later on in the episode, they welcome Jeff Tumlin, principal and director of strategy at Nelson\Nygaard, to the table. Jeff moderated the summit plenary session called "The (Shared) Road Ahead: An Electrified, Connected, Autonomous, and Accessible Vision of Transit," and he discussed the topic with Jennifer and Kelley, touching on what could happen if autonomous vehicles aren't shared, why we need to prioritize space-efficient modes of transportation for AVs to work, and why planners need to take sprawl seriously when planning for automated vehicles.
Planning the Autonomous Future: Episode 4
Jennifer and Kelley sit down with Rebecca Hunter of Crown Castle and John Estrada of eTrans Systems to break down exactly how infrastructure relates to autonomous vehicles. Rebecca explains why connectivity requires a wireless and wired network, how densification of infrastructure will affect traffic safety, and why the comprehensive plan should address these issues. John delves in to the various technologies being used in the field, like LiDAR (which stands for "Light, Detection, And Ranging”) and haptic systems, and which cities around the U.S. are seeing some of these tools in action.
Planning the Autonomous Future: Episode 5
In this episode, Jennifer and Kelley pick Lisa Nisenson’s brain to find out why the founder of the startup Greater Places and advisor to Alta Planning + Design thinks scenario planning is crucial to designing the autonomous future. Nisenson explains what scenario planning actually is, how it became an essential part of a planner’s toolbox, and how it really works in the context of automation. She mentions notable people working in the field and the tools they’re developing (but she also argues for putting the tools away so as to not limit our thinking). Throughout the conversation, Nisenson makes the case for integrating this framework into planning for the autonomous future.
For more on scenario planning, check out APA's member-only Research KnowledgeBase collection.
Planning Magazine Q&A: AV and Tiny Cars
"Transportation Q&A — Disruption: AV and Tiny Cars" is an audio interview conducted by APA Editor in Chief Meghan Stromberg with Josh Westerhold, senior manager of Nissan's Future Lab. Planning magazine, April 2017.
The December 2017 issue of Zoning Practice, Getting Ready for Driverless Cars, explores the categories of AVs and how communities need to plan for accommodating both automated and non-automated vehicles. Available free to ZP subscribers or for single-issue purchase.
Autonomous Vehicles: States Pave the Way (February 2018) blog post looks at how autonomous vehicles are being addressed at the state level.
"Here Come the Robot Cars" from Planning's April 2017 issue spotlights how AVs will impact the built environment and what to do now.
Michigan Joins Small Number of States with Self-Driving Car Laws (January 2017) blog post reports on the progress of AVs and AV legislation in the home state of American automakers.
The Commissioner addressed "Driverless Vehicle Best Practices" in the December 2016 issue. Available to APA members and subscribers.
Automated Vehicles and the Next Great Transformation of the Built Environment (June 2016) blog post highlights the research work on the impacts of AVs from the Florida State University Department of Urban & Regional Planning.
Autonomous Vehicles Zoom into Public Imagination in 2016 blog post looks at how AVs became one of the hot topics of 2016.
"When Autonomous Cars Take to the Road" from Planning's May 2015 issue explores how AVs are coming quickly to roads near you.
"Attention: The Age of Automation Is Right Ahead," an exclusive web-only article in the Planning May 2015 issue, examines what self-driving cars will mean to drivers.