Future Cities: Driverless cars

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1 Future Cities: Driverless cars

2 3 Future Cities: Driverless cars Most indicators suggest that some form of driverless vehicles will be a reality on UK roads by the early 2020s. Their evolution from imagination to reality means that their effect on the built environment needs careful consideration. What lifestyle changes could they bring; how will shopping centres adapt; what are the implications for housing developments. We asked Martin Wedderburn, one of the country s leading transport consultants, about his views. Michael Bothamley, Head of Real Estate, DAC Beachcroft The Department for Transport has actively promoted the UK as a test bed for vehicle automation technologies and has moved swiftly to put in place a legal and regulatory framework to facilitate this. The accompanying policy documents stress the potential economic, social and environmental benefits of driverless cars. [Driverless cars] will make driving easier, allow people to be more productive and offer greater mobility to a wider range of people than ever before. They will also help improve road safety, reduce emissions, and ease congestion. As a result they could provide significant economic, environmental and social benefits, including improving social inclusion. Department for Transport (2015) The Pathway to Driverless Cars The advent of driverless vehicle technology raises a number of practical questions about how we will use these vehicles, as well as some very fundamental questions about our travel habits. What impact will the gradual automation of driving tasks have on the travel habits of drivers? And in the case of full automation, how will the lifestyles of non-drivers be transformed?

3 4 Future Cities: Driverless Cars 5 Importantly, it also raises questions about how the built environment will need to adapt to changing technology, travel habits and parking requirements. The pace of technological change means that developers and property managers should ask themselves what possible adaptations need to be considered. The four stages of automation While certain high-profile companies such as Google are testing self-driving vehicles on the road today, many analysts expect the technology to enter the market either as distinct mobility services or through the gradual uptake of the technology, by existing vehicle manufacturers. Industry and regulatory bodies have defined what they see as the likely path to driverless vehicles, identifying four distinct stages to full automation. Level Automation Example Function specific assistance Partial or conditional automation Specific control functions are automated but drivers need to remain fully engaged at all times. Vehicles can perform longitudinal and lateral driving tasks under certain conditions. The driver needs to monitor traffic conditions at all times and must be in a position to resume control at any time. Park assist Traffic jam assist, valet park assist So how quickly will these technologies penetrate the market? This is not solely a question of technological capability but more importantly consumer attitudes, legal issues and governance. Today some automated functions such as park assist are working their way through vehicle fleets as prices fall. The UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders estimates that by 2025 the majority of UK car production will include partial or conditional automation. The rollout of high or full automation in mainstream vehicle production is expected to start around this time. Mobility as a Service The innovation in vehicle automation technology cannot be seen in isolation from wider societal changes in travel patterns. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is an umbrella term describing the shift away from personally owned vehicles towards mobility patterns where users purchase mobility as a service. A number of examples of MaaS solutions can be found in urban areas of the UK including car- and bike-sharing systems and the Uber platform. Mobile technology is key to the development of these systems with users mobile devices enabling trip planning and increasingly payment. Internationally there is a trend towards multi-modal apps (e.g. Citymapper) or of mobility operators packaging a range of shared mobility services into traditional public transport season tickets. The emergence of full automation is expected to be transformational to the MaaS service offer. Door-to-door automated services could effectively become like a taxi service without the labour costs. And they promise to offer the convenience of the car without the cost and hassle of finding parking. High automation Full automation Vehicles can perform all of the safety-critical driving tasks under certain conditions. Drivers can fully disengage under these conditions but must be ready to resume control if alerted by the vehicle. Vehicles perform all driving functions in all conditions, and so may operate with occupants who cannot drive and without human occupants. Urban automated driving Full end-to-end journey As a result, there are two potential routes to the mass deployment of driverless cars: 1) The majority of consumers will continue to value vehicle ownership and will purchase their own driverless vehicle. Mainstream car manufacturers will develop increasingly automated products, which will be at the disposal of clients at all times (e.g. which can be summoned using automated valet parking assist).

4 6 Future Cities: Driverless Cars 7 2) An increasing number of consumers will adopt a lifestyle without vehicle ownership, summoning a range of mobility services as and when they need them. New market entrants will develop and manage the vehicle fleets and the sales channels through which the mobility services can be purchased. It is clear that the first scenario will likely prevail in very rural areas and the latter scenario in the denser urban centres. But what about the middle ground? Is it feasible that surburbia will shift from a model of mass car ownership to one of MaaS? Certainly it is not only new entrants like Uber but the major car manufacturers who are expecting a significant proportion of the market to adapt to the convenience of Pay As You Go travel, and are beginning to invest heavily in the technologies to enable this change of lifestyle. Hence the term autonomous vehicles is replacing driverless cars across much of the industry. Much of the hype around autonomous vehicles tends to stress the sustainability credentials of these services in supporting less car dependent lifestyles and making more efficient use of existing road capacity. These benefits would be eroded if self-driving vehicles were to lead to a large increase in travel. Evidence shows that car use in the UK has been falling steadily since the late 90s, although this general trend masks considerable variation by demographics, geography and road type. Car use has been declining fastest among younger men, economically active groups, and on urban roads especially in London. Change in UK car use (1995/97 to 2014) Will autonomous vehicles lead to an increase in travel? The bigger question for transport planning and for the built environment as a whole arises not from driverless car technology but from how we use it. Trends in trips from 1995/97 to 2014 (index 1995/97=100) Trends in distance from 1995/97 to 2014 (index 1995/97=100) Altogether, it seems likely that the overall impact of driverless cars would be to increase urban traffic. David Metz, honorary professor at the Transport Institute, University College London / / / / Looking at different human civilisations across generations, cultures and geographies, the time people are willing to travel each day has remained remarkably consistent. As a result, successive innovations in vehicle technology have resulted in increasing volumes of travel as users take advantage of increased speed to travel further. However, the advent of full automation promises door-to-door travel where users can use their time productively. Are we therefore now beginning to witness a fundamental shift where people become willing to travel for longer periods? Car driver 11% Car passenger 14% Source: National Travel Survey Car driver 10% Car passanger 13%

5 8 Future Cities: Driverless Cars 9 Supply side factors, in particular increasing congestion, may be in part responsible for this trend. Yet there are equally a host of demand side factors that explain the changes, for example the removal of fiscal incentives to company car use and lifestyle changes among young urbanites. The rise in mobile technologies may also play a significant contributory role, favouring the use of transport modes allowing users to make productive use of their time. Change in UK rail use (1995/97 to 2014) Trends in distance from 1995/97 to 2014 (index 1995/97=100) New forms of pricing It seems almost inevitable that automated vehicle technology will lead to new forms of paying for road use. Users of self-driving mobility services will pay for their travel on a Pay As You Go basis. Therefore, if increased demand for travel leads to increased congestion, an equitable method of allocating road space between vehicles with different levels of automation will become imperative. The implications for location choice will be complex. Users are expected to be willing to travel further since they can make use of their travel time for work or social purposes. On the other hand, charging for travel by minute or by mile would certainly increase the income sensitivity of travel / / Trips 71% Distance 58% 2014 Will autonomous vehicles mean the end of car parking? Currently available technologies can assist drivers in locating parking spaces, paying for them and even manoeuvring the vehicle into the parking space. Yet this still relies on the traditional concept of a driver parking a vehicle, walking to a destination and finding the vehicle again when they leave. This traditional concept could soon be turned on its head. Fully autonomous vehicles would not require car parking in this sense if they were to act as self-driving taxis, simply dropping off and picking up at the destination. Yet in the near future, privately owned vehicles with valet parking assist would also be able drop passengers at a destination and drive autonomously under certain controlled conditions to a designated parking area until they are summoned to pick up their driver again. Source: National Travel Survey Certainly, rail use has grown steadily in the UK in recent years. And according to the National Rail Passenger Survey, by 2011 over half of rail passengers stated that they used a mobile device while travelling on the train. While we can t attribute the growth in rail patronage solely to emerging mobile technology, it is reasonable to assume that fully automated vehicles would generate a similarly high use of mobile technology. The simple result of this equation is that by storing vehicles at a higher density in areas of low land value, landowners would be able to free up large volumes of more valuable land for development. But equally it would mean the need for more expansive drop-off and pick-up zones, bringing with it management issues akin to those currently experienced at busy airports and railway stations. Several other factors could contribute to increased travel. Fully automated vehicles could transform the lives of non-drivers, releasing significant suppressed demand for travel. Moreover, if car drivers are relieved of chauffeuring these passengers, they may choose to spend some of the freed up time on other activities.

6 10 Future Cities: Driverless Cars 11 The ability to provide a drop-off and pick-up on a large scale in a world of full automation poses challenges of its own. For example, the largest bike sharing systems all need to balance out surges in demand and supply by physically moving vehicles between stations and/or by financially incentivising users to make contra-peak trips. And Heathrow Airport announced in May that it was introducing an on-site car park for private hire vehicles in response to drivers waiting in surrounding residential streets for their pick-up. This implies the need for adequate stacking capacity for vehicles, and indeed measures to prevent users simply sending their vehicles to drive repeatedly round the block. Developments All forms of developments could experience shifts in car parking patterns. Yet adapting private, visitor and employee parking facilities as a result may only be cost-effective where the land values justify alternative uses, or where there are specific demand-related or regulatory pressures on parking provision. Certain retail and leisure activities could benefit greatly from fully autonomous vehicles. For example, a range of sectors may seek to tap into the greater level of independent mobility of non-drivers. And fully autonomous vehicles could fundamentally shift the relationship between alcohol and car travel, with a potentially profound change for bars and restaurants. A diversification of suburban housing types and layouts can be expected if valet parking automation starts to penetrate the car fleet. If the suburban love affair with the front drive is broken, the public realm in suburban developments could take on a new role and new forms of secure vehicle storage would emerge. Increasing automation could initially lead to more dispersed residential locations becoming more attractive. Yet this trend could begin to reverse over time if congestion increases and/or new forms of pricing are introduced. Summary of considerations for developers: will the general use of automation extend the range of catchment areas for shopping centres what changes will this bring to the demographic mix of customers how will this affect operating hours of retail and leisure amenities will this see more housing development in rural areas how will parking allocation and arrangements alter how will this change the design of shopping/leisure centres and office/residential developments Any shift in car parking patterns will affect retail and leisure destinations with large surface car parks. Existing car parks could be incrementally retro-fitted to accommodate greater space for drop-off and pick-up, although this may lead to some additional costs for management and enforcement. In urban areas, the trend towards low-car-lifestyle housing looks set to continue as new Mobility as a Service solutions emerge. As the gap in technology uptake between generations shrinks, demand for different urban housing could grow if mobility services targeted at older city dwellers begin to gain traction.

7 12 Martin Wedderburn This material is provided by Martin Wedderburn. He is an independent consultant with wide-ranging experience in transport planning, policy and analysis. Martin has worked for a wide range of public, private and third sector clients around the world. He takes a holistic view of transport planning questions through his experience of analysing a wide range of transport modes and their wider economic, social and spatial impacts. Martin is a board member of the Transport Planning Society, a research associate of Walk21 and an Associate of the Centre for London. DAC Beachcroft We provide a multi-disciplinary Real Estate service from conception through to sale, to UK and overseas organisations whose property assets are at the heart of their business. With over 135 lawyers we have one of the UK s largest dedicated Real Estate practices. We deliver our services through an integrated national team, with centres of excellence in London, Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle, blending local knowledge with national reach. This provides clients with access to the entire infrastructure and resources of the firm. Michael Bothamley Head of Real Estate at DAC Beachcroft +44(0) Alison Key Head of Real Estate: North at DAC Beachcroft +44(0) Christopher Stanwell Head of Planning at DAC Beachcroft +44(0)

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