Edmonton and Toronto join 36 other cities from around the globe on a list of places actively researching autonomous vehicle (AV) infrastructure solutions, with Montreal on a secondary list thanks to the future AV regulations it’s now analysing.
The rise of autonomous vehicles seems inevitable, whether you like it or not, but they certainly won’t be deployed everywhere at the same time; that’s why Bloomberg Philanthrophies and The Aspen Institute have conducted a survey to find out which cities are at the forefront of self-driving vehicle research.
Those organizations are calling the result — the Global Atlas of AVs in Cities — an “inventory of how cities around the globe are preparing for the transition to a world with AVs” and a way for cities to find out how other municipalities are getting ready.
Of the 38 cities “actively working on AV strategy,” only two are in Canada, Edmonton and Toronto, both of which run automated vehicle pilot programs; Montreal is on a shorter, secondary list of places analyzing the long-term regulatory and governance questions that surround AV deployment.
Other cities at the forefront, per the atlas, included Austin, Texas; Oslo, Norway; Paris, France; Amsterdam, in the Netherlands; London, U.K.; and Singapore.
The atlas is a pretty cool resource, listing what each city’s research is focused on and other cities that are coming at the topic from a similar direction. For example, the atlas indicates Edmonton was the first city in Canada to set up a connected vehicle test site.
Some of the cities’ research indicates AVs will serve an important role in “the last mile” — things like providing transportation between train stations and employment centres — and so more than half of the AV pilots in progress involve these last-mile applications.
Other potential applications include taxi and mass transit services.
If there was any question whether self-driving cars would become a reality any time soon, the survey revealed more than half of those cities running pilots are about a year into their research, and only about 10 percent have been at it for more than three years.
Best of all, the Global Atlas on AVs in Cities is a living document that will be updated as the folks at Bloomberg and The Aspen Institute learn more about what the world’s cities are doing to prepare for a day when cars, trucks and buses can drive themselves.