Each time we complete a US Ignite Forum workshop, we go through a process of trying to distill the most important experiences and lessons shared into playbook format. In the case of the Smart Transportation event we hosted in Columbus, Ohio, the volume of information was so significant, we decided we also needed a way to break the content up into smaller segments of reading material. In addition to a full playbook, we’ve created a single-page overview document, and we’re producing short content spotlights to highlight areas of particular interest.

Ultimately, we’ll publish these spotlights alongside the playbooks themselves, but for now, we’re offering an early preview below, covering work done by the city of Boston around autonomous vehicle governance with links to further resources and more detailed information. It’s truly a sixty-second read, with the option to dig deeper and learn more.


Content Spotlight – Starting the Civic Engine Early for Driverless Cars

In the era of Uber and Lyft, local governments need to be proactive in anticipating transportation disruption. That means getting an early start laying the groundwork so that regulatory, economic, and safety issues aren’t a roadblock for the autonomous vehicles (AVs) of tomorrow.

Right now, the city of Boston is running models to determine the potential effect of these vehicles on traffic and parking. Kris Carter, co-chair of the Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, says they’ve found that AVs will create a reduction in traffic and parking needs, but an increase in distance traveled per vehicle. As a result, officials may choose to adjust parking prices and road access to guide both industry and citizen behavior.

But what about safety concerns? Boston is also now giving out tiered licenses to companies for AV tests on public roads. By setting a norm before the industry develops fully, Carter suggests that Boston will be able to maintain more control over how valuable roadway space is best put to use for citizens.

Further Resources