Monday, February 29, 2016

Self-Driving Cars Can Both Help AND Hurt the Environment Apparently

Or for the love of Pete, you just can't win. While self-driving cars are being touted as the way of the This Vox article says that vehicle automation could initially save energy and reduce emissions by chaining cars together to drive more aerodynamically, driving at more consistent speeds and possibly serve as shared vehicles instead of everyone owning their own car. On the flip side though, more cars may be used if driving is easier and more pleasant, as self-driving cars will reportedly be. This includes the young, the elderly and disabled people using the cars that don't or can't currently drive, thereby putting more cars overall on the streets.
future, they may not be too great for the future of air pollution.

So how do these factors balance out? A new study called Help or Hindrance? The Travel, Energy and Carbon Impacts of Highly Automated Vehicles does a lot of calculation into this and says the answer is "it depends." Depends on what? Policies and decisions that need to be made today. A pretty interesting article, so take a look. 

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About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.