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Why these cities are accelerating their autonomous vehicle initiatives

The list of cities actively mulling how to embrace self-driving cars, buses, vans and other autonomous modes of transportation is growing longer by the day, for good reason.

Many planners see the technology as an enabler of transportation services that weren’t previously feasible for cost reasons, serving citizens that haven’t previously had ready access to transit options because of their income level or home address. Some believe it could catalyze the development of more livable urbanscapes, ones built for people, not cars.

Other potential benefits: reduced traffic due to smarter vehicle guidance systems; increased potential for improved economic productivity, as drivers become passengers; and a reduction in emissions, since many AV models will be electric (at least down the road).

But the safety concerns are myriad. A Pew Research Center study released in early October found that 53 percent of Americans are very or somewhat worried about driverless car technology, and more than…

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