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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities - Michael Hancox EPISODE 56, 26th January 2017
Autonomous Vehicles—The Future Much Sooner Than You Think
00:00:00 00:27:26

Autonomous Vehicles—The Future Much Sooner Than You Think


The Inevitable Future of Transportation


[01:10] Mike shares how to register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.

[01:16] Mike describes the Infinite Earth Lab program and how to sign up.

[02:17] Lisa Nisenson is introduced.

[02:39] Ryan Snyder is introduced.

[03:06] Ryan explains what an autonomous vehicle is.

[03:54] Lisa gives her sense of what the timing is for autonomous vehicles to come and what the state of the technology is.

[04:47] Ryan discusses autonomous technology and cab services.

[06:13] Ryan shares his perspective that commercial vehicles will move first toward autonomous vehicles.

[06:39] Lisa mentions that there are different phases for incorporating autonomous vehicles in society.

[07:32] Ryan gives his view of potential implications in terms of infrastructure and community design.

[08:53] Lisa shares her thoughts of potential implications in terms of infrastructure and community design.

[10:08] Ryan and Lisa talk about the shape and size of autonomous vehicles.

[12:15] Ryan and Lisa speak to lane size in relation to autonomous-vehicle size.

[14:00] Lisa and Ryan discuss the benefits of moving to autonomous vehicles.

[17:06] Lisa identifies some of the challenges in moving to autonomous vehicles.

[17:39] Ryan states some additional challenges in moving to autonomous vehicles.

[18:49] Mike discusses the inevitable job loss.

[24:14] Ryan expresses what the transportation system looks like 30 years from now, and whether the technology and the vehicles work correctly.

[25:00] Lisa adds her perspective on what the transportation system looks like 30 years from now.


Lisa Nisenson has 20 years of experience and leadership in smart growth, sustainable development and civic engagement. She founded an award-winning tech startup, GreaterPlaces, will release a mobile app in May and is working with Alta Planning + Design to integrate technology into health, active communities.

GreaterPlaces is an award-winning website, forthcoming mobile app and consulting firm. The demand for smart city + emerging transportation is growing, even as cities, suburbs & towns invest more in walkable, bikeable and sustainable design. The mission of GreaterPlaces is to help you create a greater community by providing a visual, organized trove of placemaking and community planning solutions.

Ryan Snyder is Principal with Transpo Group, a transportation planning and engineering firm that prepares sustainable transportation plans. Ryan is a widely known presenter, activist, and educator and has established himself as one of the forefront experts of the Complete Streets movement.

Transpo Group is a specialty transportation planning and engineering services firm with offices in Washington, California, and the Middle East. Transpo plans and designs transportation systems for people — not just drivers of cars and trucks, but also the pedestrians and cyclists who share these systems. They create connected solutions that enable a sustainable tomorrow for communities of all sizes, and still get everyone safely where they need to go today. Their team of engineers, planners, and technical resources includes- a full range of skilled experts that have assisted clients with transportation planning and traffic engineering services since 1975.

Take Away Quotes

“There are, what we call, five levels of autonomous vehicles that have been identified. The first level is where you just have your basic sort of technology that we’ve had for years—for example, cruise control, and now we’re getting adaptive cruise control and lane assist and park assist. Level two is where you combine two of those together and can use them simultaneously. Level three is where the driver can let the car do the driving most of the time but has to intervene at certain intervals. Level four is full self-driving, except that it’s kind of restricted as to where it can go. And level five is unrestricted, fully self-driving.

“I’m pretty certain that within ten to fifteen years we will see a significant number of fully self-driving vehicles on our streets and roads.”

“One of the big things that we are looking at is, what happens in areas with heavy pedestrian and traffic, because in the first sort of rah-rah statements people had—yay, cars will stop for pedestrians and the death rate will be lower—but what is missing is what happens when there’s a hundred cars and two hundred pedestrians for whom crossing in the middle of the street now carries little risk because they won’t get hit, and all of a sudden traffic comes to a halt and there’s gridlock?”


Register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 2-4, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri! Add our brand new Infinite Earth Lab training to your conference registration and receive a special discount.

Sign up to attend the FREE training – Equitable Development in Practice– Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at [1:30] Eastern


Transpo Group


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