Driverless transition_GIAN ANDREA GIACOBONE
Author: PhD. Gian Andrea Giacobone
Affiliation:University of Ferrara / Italy
In the last two centuries, contemporary cities have been progressively changing their urban landscapes according to the functional necessities of the auto-centered transport system but, over the years, that model of consumption has contributed negatively to the environmental degradation of public spaces. Nevertheless, with the advent of autonomous vehicles, urban planners have new opportunities of rethinking urban mobility in a new and sustainable way by completely reshaping transport infrastructures and reorganizing land uses for the future development of more accessible and livable cities. In fact, autonomous vehicles are expected to transform the use and experience of the vehicle itself but also change the overall infrastructure design, which, in turn, will have a great impact on urban planning, location choices, and land use organization. For these reasons, this contribution sheds lights on the urban transition to autonomous transport by reporting the main advantages – in terms of safety, social and economic inclusion, freeing of public space and sustainability of the urban environment – that the new technology is able to offer to urban planners for improving the quality of the existing mobility systems. Moreover, the paper highlights the benefits of autonomous vehicles by describing briefly an ongoing research experiment that is testing the use of driverless cars in the real world. Considering this, the manuscript gives urban planners a new perspective capable of adapting spatial planning and land-use organization to future and uncertain challenges related to the implementation of autonomous vehicles in the existing urban context. In particular, the opportunity of assessing the impact of those vehicles on the existing cities will prepare urban planners to play a strategic role in defining a common urban development policy framework for helping European cities to evolve in perfect symbiosis with the new and disruptive driverless technology.
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