Driverless cars present huge opportunities for cities and the people living in them. They stand to change ownership models for cars, usage models through sharing rides, and the built environment through reducing and re-purposing our streets.
At DG Cities, we also think that Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) will fuel the trend towards thinking of transport in terms of access, not mobility. People will always need to travel for work and leisure, but in a future where people buy journeys and transport providers and operators fulfil those journeys through the aggregation of transport modes, what role does the CAV have to play?
In 2017, there were 37.7 million vehicles registered on the British roads. With cars parked for over 95% of the time, on average, this presents a huge opportunity to re-imagine how we fulfil our transport needs. Enter CAVs.
In London, we are already seeing significant changes in the modes and uses of transport. Citymapper are ‘plugging gaps’ in the public transport system through SmartRide, a fixed network of pick-up and drop-off points, like bus stops, but with the additional flexibility of their vehicles being demand responsive and taking flexible routes through this London network depending on customer needs, with the added bonus of being able to share rides.
Chariot is also re-thinking the commute in cities around the world, and in Greenwich, they are linking up residential areas with places like the O2 and Abbey Wood to help people commute and travel to areas of interest more easily.
London also remains the place to be in driverless car development, with the Smart Mobility Living Lab (SMLL) catalysing the development and testing of CAVs in both Greenwich and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Projects such as Apollo, announced recently , which will run automated taxi services within Greenwich that provide further links for residents to key transport hubs and interchanges.
Finally, Greenwich hosts one of London’s Low Emission Neighbourhoods, which extends to the heart of the Maritime Greenwich, a World Heritage Site. New technology is already being introduced, including electric vehicle car clubs and with the development of driverless, electric cars, we can further reduce car ownership, increase access and improve the environment and air quality in our urban centres. The time has never been better to re-think and re-imagine our cities of the future and how people move around them.