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Cities must drive autonomous and connected strategies

Report finds Amsterdam has successfully introduced MaaS while San Francisco and Singapore are putting CAV at the heart of their mass transit future

How cities respond to CAV depends on their cultural heritage and infrastructure
How cities respond to CAV depends on their cultural heritage and infrastructure

Singapore and San Francisco have put connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) at the heart of their mass transit future while Paris and Hong Kong view it as an enhanced transport solution.


These are among the findings of a new report by global design and consultancy firm, Arcadis, that looks at the mobility needs in 14 global cities and to what extent connected and autonomous vehicles can be used to meet transportation goals.


Citizens in Motion finds that while CAV has the potential to vastly improve urban mobility, it can possibly make congestion worse, or threaten the viability of vital public transport services.


Cities’ share urban mobility goals


The fundamental commonality among all the 14 cities evaluated in the report is an aim to have urban mobility functions that are healthy and safe, citizen-centric, green and sustainable, accessible, investible and smart.


The report says that the future with driverless cars is fast approaching, and how cities around the world respond depends greatly on a variety of factors such as their unique cultural heritage and types of infrastructure. A "one size fits all" approach is to be avoided as it would not deliver the full extent of the opportunities available, and may not ensure that the special character of a city is protected.


"Cities across the world are grappling with congestion, overcrowded transport, poor air quality, and the need to drive greater prosperity, competitiveness and improve the citizen-experience,” said John Batten, global cities director at Arcadis.


“The emerging CAV revolution opens a new frontier of disruption in transportation and urban living, beyond existing examples such as Uber. For our cities, exclusively electric connected and autonomous vehicles will present a huge opportunity to radically transform urban mobility."


Arcadis stated that when cities design solutions which leverage new technology in transportation, inclusivity and accessibility for all citizens is paramount otherwise, there is a risk that CAV could create a two-tier public transport society.


The established mobility blend in any city represents huge investment from the private or public sector, but a disruption like CAV could threaten to deprive existing providers, like taxi or bus companies, of income. It is the responsibility of city governments to engage with the private sector to find a solution that strengthens, not weakens, the whole network, said Arcadis.

"For our cities, exclusively electric connected and autonomous vehicles will present a huge opportunity to radically transform urban mobility"

The Citizens in Motion report refers to levels 4 and 5 of autonomy in electric vehicles (EV), where vehicles communicate with each other as well as with the environment around them without the need for a human driver to intervene. It provides an individual profile of 14 global cities and analyses each city’s urban mobility objectives, infrastructure readiness, CAV initiatives in place and citizens’ openness to their adoption.


Specifically, the three areas examined in each city were citizen connection, governance platforms, and enabling infrastructure. Key points were identified as elements that may or may not support the development of CAV-based solutions as a means of achieving a city’s mobility objectives. Progress towards a fully-operational CAV environment is currently at different levels of maturity across the globe.




Citizens in Motion describes the different new business models, such as mobility-as-a-service (MaaS), which Amsterdam successfully introduced as a ride-sharing pilot in its Zuidas business district. Meanwhile, Singapore, with its high-quality road and communications network, plans to have self-driving buses and shuttles on public roads by 2022.


New York has seen huge growth in bicycle and ride-sharing schemes. Moreover, the city has 6,000 miles of streets of which 77 per cent is occupied by cars - presenting an opportunity for CAV to help reclaim the streets, says the report.


Some urban areas such as Paris and Hong Kong have more emergent ambitions to develop CAV as an enhanced personal transport solution. The latter cites a constrained road environment which may present potential challenges for CAV, as well as limited EV charging points. Paris’s transport strategy is primarily focused on increasing use of public and human-powered modes of transport.


Download the full report here


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