Transit Action Network (TAN)

Advocates for Improved and Expanded Transit in the Kansas City Region.

Are Autonomous Vehicles in the LRTP?

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 10, 2014

ENOThis 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).marclogo

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.

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One Response to “Are Autonomous Vehicles in the LRTP?”

  1. SHARON PENDLETON said

    It might help the planning process for this region if the system of simply running an effective bus transit could be developed. Jumping onto something as far down the pike as AV technologies is a foolish smoke screen. KC needs to focus on getting their current transit problems solved and stop using such items as this one as a foil for planning. This is NOT how effective plans are made.

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