Autonomous vehicles: planning and policy context
The first step in the decision framework is to engage policymakers and planners at your agency and other stakeholders to better understand their concerns and questions about how CAVs may impact your community as well as to solicit ideas as to how government may intervene to mitigate and/or shape these impacts. Some stakeholders may be interested in, for example, whether or not the jurisdiction should continue to invest in roadway widenings given the potential of CAVs to effectively increase existing capacity via closer vehicle following. Others may be interested in how best to manage the interactions of CAVs and bicycles on local streets. We suspect a wide ranging set of concerns and policy ideas will emerge from these discussions. This briefing document contains a good summary of policy considerations that will be impacted by increased CAV use. In addition, the Further Reading section in the Autonomous Vehicles article offers helpful references for policy makers and planners to begin to frame the context for planning within a CAV future.
The goal in this outreach is to identify three to seven key policies that will be used to guide the development of a forecasting improvement plan.
By engaging stakeholders and policy makers as directly as possible prior to putting together model improvement plans, we hypothesize that model development efforts can be carried out more efficiently. Modeling staff can devote resources to add model functionality that more directly responds to the needs of policy makers. The remainder of the decision framework recommends approaches to determine what development efforts provide the biggest benefit at the lowest cost.
We recommend the following specific guidance when developing policies:
- Identifying no fewer than three policies and no more than seven policies (as noted previously);
- Connect policies to a broader goal, such is improving air quality; and,
- Describing policies in sufficient detail, erring on the side of being too specific, rather than less.
On the Autonomous vehicles: use cases page, we give three example policies to illustrate our recommended approach. To be clear, these examples are intended to be illustrative — not as policies that are necessarily relevant to your jurisdiction. Our guidance is that each agency engage some number of relevant stakeholders/policymakers to identify the three to seven policies that are most important to their region.
An important consideration when considering the implementation of any policy is what will be the environment upon which the policy is overlaid. Said another way, what is the baseline or no action environment? In an era where technological innovation has the potential to rapidly change the transport ecosystem, it will be increasingly difficult to craft policy. As discussed in Autonomous vehicles: Forecasting, modeling and simulation has the potential to alleviate these concerns by creating multiple, hypothetical baselines against which policies can be tested.