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Strategy 6: Expand and Prioritize Advanced Vehicle Technologies

Traffic congestion still costs the average Nashville driver 45 hours a year on the road (Annual Urban Mobility Scorecard, Texas A&M, 2016), and Nashville drivers lose $1,632 each year due to traffic in the form of congestion-related delays, vehicle operating costs and car crashes (TRIP Report, Tennessee Transportation by the Numbers, 2016). The key to expanding the use of available alternatives to driving is coordination of technology with expansion of multimodal infrastructure, especially around higher density growth centers, and particularly to support future incorporation of autonomous vehicles. Nashville’s nMotion plan and other recommended projects, services, and infrastructure are aligned to reduce drive-alone trips by incorporating technology.

Strategic Actions

  1. Continue to work with state-level agencies and policymakers to establish safety and registration policies for the manufacturing, testing and operation of connected and autonomous vehicles.
  2. Work with automotive and technology industry leaders to test connected and autonomous vehicles traveling in urban contexts on fixed routes.
  3. Explore prioritization of connected and autonomous vehicles that are fleet/shared ownership, electric, fully automated and, for passenger vehicles, shared by multiple passengers.
  4. Evaluate the potential impacts of connected and autonomous vehicles on traffic and travel by modeling, parking, right-of-way allocation and management, and development impacts.
  5. Plan for and pilot right-of-way technology that anticipates the communications and navigational needs of connected and autonomous vehicles.
  6. Establish partnership with fixed-line transit with first mile/last mile connection via autonomous vehicles.

Case Study

Category: Autonomous Vehicle Integration

Pittsburgh: Driving the Future of Autonomous Vehicles

The city of Pittsburgh serves as a decades-long case study for autonomous vehicle (AV) integration. As early as the mid-1980s, scientists at Carnegie Mellon University were constructing self-driving cars from parts of other vehicles. In a 1989 CMU publication entitled ALVINN, An Autonomous Land Vehicle in a Neural Network, Dean Pomerleau, a computer science professor at CMU describes a self-driving unit developed as part of military-funded research. Today, Pittsburgh is the home of autonomous vehicle start-ups such as Aurora Innovation. Both Ford and Volvo have premiered their AVs in pilot programs in Pittsburgh. Most recently, in May of 2017, Carnegie Robotics announced a collaboration with Swift Navigation (a company out of San Francisco, a city matched only by Pittsburgh in its AV leadership) to develop cutting-edge GPS technology for autonomous vehicles.

Learn: Navlab: The Carnegie Mellon University Navigation Laboratory

Explore: ALVINN, an autonomous land vehicle in a neural network