HOW CAN TRANSPORTATION AGENCIES EFFECTIVELY COORDINATE WITH URBAN PLANNING TO ACCOMMODATE THE INTEGRATION OF CAVS

Transportation agencies and urban planners will need to work closely together to ensure infrastructure and land use policies are adapted for the introduction of CAVs on public roads. Some of the key areas of coordination will include transportation network design, infrastructure upgrades, curb space management, parking requirements, and data sharing.

When it comes to transportation network design, agencies will need to consider how CAVs may impact traffic flow and congestion. As CAVs become more common, some lanes on roads may need to be redesigned for exclusive use by autonomous vehicles to optimize traffic flow. This could involve designating certain lanes for shared or priority use by CAVs, buses and high-occupancy vehicles. Planners will also need to model how changes to road and intersection design can take advantage of the improved safety and traffic management capabilities of connected vehicles. For example, reducing standard lane widths to add turning lanes or extend sidewalks.

In terms of infrastructure upgrades, transportation agencies will have to work closely with cities to prioritize upgrades to road signaling, lane markings and signs to support basic vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication. This will allow CAVs to safely navigate intersections and adapt their speed based on real-time traffic conditions transmitted from infrastructure like traffic lights. Agencies will need to map out a plan for incrementally upgrading critical transportation corridors first based on traffic volume and congestion levels. Investments may also be needed in weather sensors along roadways to transmit data on precipitation or visibility to CAVs.

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When it comes to curb space and parking requirements, cities will need to re-examine guidelines for on- and off-street parking, loading and pick-up/drop-off zones. With the advent of shared, autonomous and electric vehicles, demand for private parking is expected to decline over time. Curb space will still be needed for pickup/drop-off of people and deliveries. Cities may convert some spaces to quick-loading zones or dedicate certain curbs to autonomous shuttles and transportation network vehicles. Minimum parking requirements for new developments may also need to be reduced accordingly. This will require parking studies as well as coordination between transportation, planning and public works departments.

To effectively plan for CAV integration, transportation agencies also need access to relevant real-time city and vehicle data. This includes traffic volumes, congestion hotspots, vehicular trip origins/destinations and curb space activities. At the same time, cities need data from transportation agencies and CAV operators on fleet sizes, routing plans, dropping-off/picking up zones. Formal data sharing agreements and committees involving public agencies, private firms and research institutions can help establish protocols for sharing pertinent transportation data to support pilot programs and long-term CAV deployment strategies.

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On the planning and policy side, transportation agencies and urban planners must ensure CAV integration supports broader community goals like sustainability, equity and livability. Tools like general plans, specific area plans and design guidelines will need amendments promoting transit-oriented development around shared CAV hubs. This could encourage a shift towards more compact, walkable development patterns less dependent on private vehicles. Planning departments may also develop strategies to deploy shared CAV services in an equitable manner. For example, ensuring underserved communities are prioritized for first-mile last-mile connection to fixed transit routes.

A cooperative and comprehensive approach between transportation agencies and urban planners is essential to responsibly guide the transition to an era of connectivity and automation. Regular collaboration through committees, public working groups and joint studies can help synchronize policies, coordinate multi-agency projects and ensure transportation infrastructure adapts to maximize the societal benefits of CAVs while mitigating any negative externalities. Continuous cooperation between stakeholders from government, academia and industry will also be important for future scenario assessment and deployment of other advanced technologies like drones and hyperloop systems in an integrated manner alongside CAVs. With proactive coordination, transportation agencies and cities can help ensure connected and autonomous vehicles are deployed strategically to create safer, more sustainable and accessible communities for all.

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Transportation agencies must work closely with urban planners on issues ranging from road designs and infrastructure upgrades to parking reform and data sharing procedures. A collaborative governance framework recognizes CAVs both impact and are impacted by the larger built environment. Coordinated efforts can leverage coming autonomous technology to positively shape patterns of where and how we develop land along with how people and goods move throughout cities. By aligning CAV integration with broader city goals, transportation planners and agencies can facilitate well-planned deployment supporting livability, equity and sustainability.

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