Planning for Walking and Cycling in an Autonomous Vehicle Future

Over the last two decades walking and cycling have increased in the United States— in particular in large cities. Efforts to further increase walking and cycling occur during a time of increasingly automated and connected vehicles (AVs). Almost nothing is known about impacts of an increasingly automated vehicle fleet on pedestrians and cyclists. Speculations range from safer walking and cycling (due to emergency braking technology) to reduced safety during the transition period towards AVs (due to driver over-reliance on limited technology). U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT’s) Strategic Agenda (S30 in that report) has identified pedestrian and cycling as important elements of connected vehicle research. In their letter of support for this research the District Department of Transport states identifies ‘many unanswered questions.’ Moreover, the State of Virginia has the goal to put automated and connected vehicles on more roads—which will eventually include urban and local roads used by many pedestrians and cyclists. Given the potentially short timeframe for AV deployment to urban streets and the dearth of knowledge on the expected impacts of AVs on pedestrians and bicyclists, timely research is needed. This study will use semi-structured interviews with transport experts from academia, local, regional, state, and federal levels of government, and the private sector, to develop planning guidelines for walking and cycling for the transition towards an AV fleet. Specifically, the literature review, the interviews, and the analysis will identify potential effects of automated and connected vehicles on non-motorized modes—including synergies and conflicts. Potential effects comprise dimensions such as safety, mode choice, use of roadway space, built environment, or land-use. Thus, this research contributes to the Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability Centers' (MATS’) energy and land-use research areas. Based on the synergies and conflicts identified in (1) the study will develop planning and policy guidelines and priorities for promoting non-motorized transport in a time of emerging automated and connected vehicles. Research results will help inform regulations of AV and non-motorized modes; provide guidance for local planners when implementing AV and non-motorized projects; and inform the automobile industry about potential conflicts with policy goals to promote non-motorized modes; and Identify knowledge gaps in planning for non-motorized mode in an AV future, pointing to future research needs for planning, policy, and regulation of AVs and non-motorized modes.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

      3500 Transportation Research Plaza
      Blacksburg, Virginia  United States  24061

      University of Virginia, Charlottesville

      Charlottesville, VA  United States 

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability Center

      University of Virginia
      Charlottesville, VA  United States 
    • Performing Organizations:

      Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

      3500 Transportation Research Plaza
      Blacksburg, Virginia  United States  24061

      University of Virginia, Charlottesville

      Center for Transportation Studies
      P.O. Box 400742, Thornton Hall, D228
      Charlottesville, VA  United States  22903
    • Principal Investigators:

      Buehler, Ralph

      Hankey, Steve

      Mondschein, Andrew

    • Start Date: 20170801
    • Expected Completion Date: 20180501
    • Actual Completion Date: 20180531

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01645878
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability Center
    • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC33
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Sep 9 2017 3:17PM