A Framework for Shaping the Deployment of Autonomous Vehicles and Advancing Equity Outcomes

A Framework for Shaping the Deployment of Autonomous Vehicles and Advancing Equity Outcomes

Using experience from working on the Knight AV Initiative, Urbanism Next created this white paper to provide a foundation for public sector agencies to approach autonomous vehicle deployment and policy with a focus on equity. This report outlines ways that public agencies can identify community needs and shape deployment to ensure that AVs will be accessible for all. 

Key findings

Always ask “who is not in the room and why?” People with barriers to accessing existing transportation systems such as Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), people with disabilities, older adults, and low-income community members may benefit from AV technology, but they are often left out of decision-making processes.

Public agencies have a variety of tools and levers at their disposable to regulate AV deployments and ensure equitable outcomes. These include, but are not limited to, regulation through legislation, permits, licensing, data reporting requirements, providing incentives, and direct involvement in the provision of AV services.

There are many lessons learned from the deployment of other new mobility technologies that can be applied to AVs. For instance, bikeshare systems and e-scooter programs have provided important lessons about the inequities of limited service areas. TNCs like Uber and Lyft were initially only available to those who could download the apps and link a debit or credit card to their account to pay for rides.

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