Regional Plan Association released a report entitled New Mobility: Autonomous Vehicles and the Region, which offers cities and their suburbs a comprehensive roadmap for how to prepare for the introduction and expansion of autonomous vehicles into the tri-state metropolitan region.

While estimates vary, it is reasonable to assume significant AV market penetration over the next two decades.  70%-90% of automobiles could be autonomous by 2045, and it is in the New York region’s best interest to prepare for them, rather than letting the emerging technology dictate how cities and suburban areas evolve alongside it.

The introduction of autonomous vehicles in urban areas will create unique opportunities to improve transportation equity and create new forms of public transit to meet growing needs-- but cities must creatively manage congestion.

In suburban areas, autonomous vehicles have the potential to open up areas previously out of reach by those without cars, as well as seniors, the disabled and the young. It will give drivers their time back, and may reduce the cost of goods by potentially automating truck driving. However, suburban areas must act proactively to avoid the sprawl that could come alongside autonomous driving.

The report also covers recommendations for technology policy, to ensure that cities and suburban areas have a say in the terms of AV deployment; equity initiatives to guarantee that the introduction of autonomous vehicles benefits a diverse range of incomes and abilities; and labor recommendations to account for the transition needed for the over 220,000 regional residents currently employed in industries like trucking and cab driving.

View the full report