Taking its reputation as a North American leader seriously, the City of Vancouver’s Transportation Division has now started to consider the various ways that driverless cars will impact their important work. “In April 2016, Council asked us – as staff – to report back on the current affairs around automated, connected vehicles, and to suggest ways we can be more proactive as the technology evolves,” recalls Dale Bracewell, the City’s Manager of Transportation Planning.
Bracewell and his team spent the next few months researching the challenges and opportunities presented by autonomous vehicles, including the commission of a comprehensive, 93-page report authored by UBC SCARP (School of Community and Regional Planning) grad student Cail Smith, and funded by the Greenest City Scholars program.
The resulting 27-slide summary – created by Senior Transportation Planner Paul Krueger – entitled “Automated and Connected Vehicles: Implications and Next Steps”, was presented to Council during their final session of 2016.
For Bracewell, this document marks the beginning of the process, rather than the end: “This is the first of what will likely be a few times we need to report back to Council,” he clarifies. “We need to ensure we are proactive in meeting our Transportation 2040 goals, and whether there are policies in the City’s toolkit to help minimize the risks and pressures automated vehicles might put on those goals.”