Top transportation experts in the U.S. say they see rapid change in transportation resulting from three major technology revolutions – shared, electric and automated vehicles.
The 40 policymakers, researchers and representatives from government, nonprofit organizations and the technology and auto industries took part a survey by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California-Davis.
The survey was held in conjunction with the launch of ITS-Davis’ new policy initiative, “Three Revolutions: Sharing, Electrification and Automation.”
ITS-Davis Director Dan Sperling says: “For the first time in half a century, real, transformative innovations are coming to the world of passenger transportation.
“This survey shows us that without thoughtful collaboration and community-facing policies, these changes would lead to increased inequities, vehicle travel and greenhouse gas emissions. We need to be creative to steer these innovations to the public interest.”
The survey found 70% of participants think fully driverless vehicles will account for more than 20% of vehicles sold by 2040.
Also, 80% believe commercially offered shared rides will account for more than 5% of all U.S. passenger miles by 2030, and 78% think this will rise to more than 20% by 2040.
By 2050, 70% of respondents believe, the majority of vehicles used commercially for ride- and car-sharing in the U.S. will be zero-emissions, including battery, plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles.
Almost all participants selected California as the state most likely to embrace all three transportation trends.
Asked to specify which companies are best positioned to capitalize on the revolution in autonomous, shared and electric vehicles, 67% listed Google, 64% named Tesla and Uber, and 48% chose Lyft and General Motors.
Peter Kosak, executive director-urban mobility for General Motors, says the survey results suggest disruptive technologies are coming from both inside and outside the automotive industry.
“In the end, partnerships – including working relationships with governments and communities – are likely essential to a rapid and successful transition,” Kosak says.
Without policy actions, 77% of respondents say the benefits of shared, automated vehicles will not be evenly distributed across income levels, and 80% believe sales of automated vehicles will result in more greenhouse-gas emissions.
“The State of California has programs in place to fully support the rapid transition of the vehicle fleet to zero-emission vehicles, both battery-electric and fuel-cell,” says Richard Corey, executive officer of the California Air Resources Board.
“We will have a growing need for robust data and analysis to develop the incentives and programs needed to ensure that the inevitable shift to driverless cars and more shared-transportation choices works hand-in-glove with the expanding zero-emission vehicle market to help California achieve our climate and air-quality goals,” Corey says.