Are Autonomous Vehicles in the LRTP?
Posted by Transit Action Network on December 10, 2014
This week Mark McDowell, Kansas City financial consultant and Transit Action Network advocate, published an article in Eno Institute for Transportation Policy: Time for Autonomous Vehicles to Disrupt Transportation Planning
McDowell’s paper considers the impact Autonomous Vehicles (AV) will have on the demand for infrastructure and the effects on suburban sprawl, urban parking needs, inter-city transportation, public transit and paratrasnit in the near future.
He makes the case that Autonomous Vehicles should be included in local transportation planning since these driverless vehicles will create a huge change to our transportation system in the current timeframe of the Long Range Transportation Plans (LRTP) prepared by Metropolitan Planning Organizations, like Mid-America Regional Council (MARC).
MARC is currently updating Transportation Outlook 2040, our LRTP. The plan deals with our regional transportation plans for the next 25 years. AV’s already exist and are being used in some places. Is MARC sticking with the status quo or including the affects of Autonomous Vehicles? If AV’s don’t get included in the LRTP then McDowell says “ we are designing infrastructure for yesterday instead of tomorrow.”
Transit Action Network doesn’t have a crystal ball to see the full impact of AV’s over the next 25 years, but 25 years ago very few people had a personal computer, and smartphones weren’t designed yet. It may be unwise to bury our heads in the sand and continue to make transportation and funding decisions for the next 25 years without considering the impact of disruptive technologies like Autonomous Vehicles.