Siemens urges cities to start planning for the arrival of connected vehicles
Siemens said the lack of planning in this field could create negative social and economic effects
Cities will need to anticipate and tackle upcoming changes to their infrastructures early in order to get ready for the advent of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV), according to a recent report by German company Siemens.
Siemens said that connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) have the potential to cause major and disruptive changes to cities worldwide. The report, called “Cities in the Driving Seat,” stresses the need for cities to plan early and tackle issues in a wider context of mobility transformations.
The study explores the interdependencies between urban development, public transportation policies, power supply, pollution and the increasing share of CAV in city traffic.
According to Siemens, the lack of mid-term planning and delayed investments in infrastructure could create negative social, economic and environmental effects.
“Autonomous vehicles must be part of a wider transformation of urban areas. Cities need to ensure that they work towards putting people first – and not cars, or we risk repeating the mistakes of the past. The future of our cities could look very different with the adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles and they could help shape future trends in climate change, air quality, public health and more,” said Pete Daw, urban development and environment director for Siemens Global Center of Competence Cities.
The study also highlighted that some of the benefits for cities with future connected and autonomous vehicles include:
-First- and last-mile trips that will strengthen public transport;
-Reduction of noise, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions;
-Decrease in the number of road fatalities and injuries;
-Expanded mobility access to the young, elderly, impaired and marginalized;
-Repurposing of land currently used for parking and roadways into green space, housing, schools, protected cycle lanes, etc.
-Greater efficiencies and safety through the connection and communication of vehicles with city infrastructure.
However, without new policies and regulations the arrival of CAV could result in negative consequences, such as:
-Continuation of effects of climate change if CAV are not regulated to be low or zero-carbon;
-No decrease in vehicle ownership if individuals prefer their own CAV instead of adopting a shared transport system;
-Unused CAV may cause congestion and require unnecessary parking space.
Siemens’ study also defines three possible scenarios to illustrate how outcomes could vary depending on the vision and policies that a city puts in place.
-The strong city scenario assumes that shared mobility becomes the norm and private car ownership declines.
-The business-as-usual scenario provides an outlook of future mobility that is not guided by a coherent vision or effective policies. The assumed revolutions in vehicle automation and electrification do not lift off at scale, and private usage remains the norm.
-In the CAV-as-a-luxury-good scenario, CAV remain an exclusive rarity, private car-ownership is the norm and shared vehicles and shared trips remain a niche concept and public transport usage decreases rapidly over time.