Planning for walking and cycling in an autonomous-vehicle future
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Over the last few decades, walking and cycling have increased in the United States, especially in large cities. Future efforts to promote active travel will occur during a time when automated vehicles will increasingly perform driving tasks without human input. Little is known about impacts of an automated vehicle fleet on pedestrians and cyclists. This study uses semi-structured interviews with experts from academia as well as the public and private sectors in the United States to (1) explore potential synergies and conflicts between increasingly automated motorized vehicles and active travel; and (2) highlight planning and policy priorities for active travel in a time of emerging connected and automated vehicles (C/AVs). Our interviews indicate that while C/AVs promise to make roadways safer for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians, some potential hazards exist related to communication, behavior, and technical capabilities in the near term. In the long-term, C/AVs may have drastic impacts on infrastructure, the built environment, and land use, but these impacts are likely to vary by locality. Federal and state governments will play a role in ensuring that connected and automated vehicles operate safely, but local governments will ultimately determine how automated vehicles are integrated into the transportation network.