OTTAWA, Jan. 22, 2015 /CNW/ - As automated vehicles (AVs) merge with traditional vehicles and increase their visibility on our roadways, motorists and government officials need to prepare to integrate AVs within our current infrastructure. According to a new study from The Conference Board of Canada, in collaboration with the Van Horne Institute and Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence (CAVCOE), titled Automated Vehicles: The Coming of the Next Disruptive Technology, estimates that self-driving cars could be on the roads by 2020-25 and AVs will offer potential benefits, but as with any transformative technology, they may also bring disruptions in their introduction and rollout.
"Major transportation infrastructure investments are typically planned with 30-year time horizons in mind," says Vijay Gill, Director of Policy Research, at The Conference Board of Canada. "As AVs are become part of our lives well within that time frame, it makes sense to begin anticipating their impacts on those investment needs now."
- Governments and businesses must prepare for the arrival of AVs.
- AVs will dramatically impact current and future transportation infrastructure.
- AVs will affect our infrastructure needs and cause us to reorganize where we live and work.
- Economic benefit of automated vehicles may be over $65 billion per year, including collision avoidance, fuel cost savings and congestion avoidance.
"Automated vehicles will have a real impact on our current and future infrastructure," said Peter Wallis, President and CEO of the Van Horne Institute. "The future of transportation and related infrastructure will be impacted by this new technology and now is the time to start planning and preparing, so that Canada is ready to support drivers and their new vehicles."
Governments at all levels need to plan for the arrival of AVs. New laws and regulations need to be passed. Governments in Canada need to start thinking about the benefits of AVs and how best to take advantage of them. Governments will play a major role, not only in permitting and regulating AVs, but also in helping to improve the impact AVs may have on certain sectors and the public who rely on driving to earn a living.
AV developers are focusing on making AVs that can exist with our current infrastructure, rather than relying on the development of new infrastructure to accommodate them. AVs will force us to redefine our infrastructure needs and adapt our infrastructure investment to take full advantage of the AVs capability.
Some current roads may be subdivided into AV and non-AV lanes simply by restriping them. Introducing more roundabouts may also prove to be more efficient than traffic signals. Traffic and road signage may be phased out and replaced by local transmitters that send data directly to the vehicles.
The arrival of automated taxis and people who opt to send their vehicles home may reduce the need for parking lots and/or park-and-ride lots, however there may also be a need for increased charging points for vehicles run by electric power.
Planning for AVs will be important for major infrastructure projects. All future transportation-related infrastructure projects need to include a detailed AV impact study.
With many of the new AVs being powered by electricity, governments need to address how to meet the new demand for power. Private sector businesses like those involved in freight and passenger transportation, car-rental companies need to also stay informed.
The Conference Board will host a 60-minute webinar on Automated Vehicles - The Coming of the Next Disruptive Technology, on March 18, 2015.
This study was funded and received in-kind support from The Conference Board of Canada's Centre for Transportation and Infrastructure, The Van Horne Institute, and The Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence (CAVCOE). The report is available free of charge from the Conference Board's e-Library.
SOURCE Conference Board of Canada
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