New report highlights advantages of AVs for first and last mile trips

A new report examining the impact of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) on cities has highlighted that the biggest benefit could be for first and last mile journeys.

The greatest benefit highlighted by the  report, Cities in the Driving Seat released by Siemens’ Global Center of Competence Cities, was the opportunity for cities to plug gaps in their public transport network; for example, between a train station and commuters’ homes.

“The future of our cities could look very different with the adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles. They could help shape future trends in climate change, air quality, public health and more,” said Pete Daw, Urban Development and Environment Director at the Global Center of Competence Cities.

One example is on-demand shuttle services, which could operate instead of uneconomical bus services. Siemens claims that its own research shows that replacing four underperforming London bus routes with an on-demand e-minibus service would break even within three to four years and be profitable thereafter. As technology improves and becomes cheaper, such vehicles could be replaced with autonomous ones.

Speaking on a launch panel for the report, Martin Haese, Lord Mayor of Adelaide, said: “We are moving into an age of convergence and a changing consumer mindset in terms of how we view the role of the vehicle. The public transport system is becoming not only a means to get from A to B, but also an enabling digital platform in itself.”

Connected and autonomous vehicles can also help reduce accidents (90 percent of road accidents are due to human error) and with electrification will lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions but the full benefits of CAV will only be realised if cities and their residents adopt the planning and foster the behavioural change which will drive impact.

The full article is available on Cities Today.