Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Beverley Hills Considering Self-Driving Cars As Public Transportation

Is this the public transit of the
future?
When you think "public transportation," do you think buses, subways, light rails- or do you think self-driving cars? In Beverly Hills, they think the latter. The city's council voted this month to create a program to use self-driving vehicles as public transportation.

According to The Verge, the council envisions self-driving vehicles providing "on-demand, point-to-point transportation," with citizens "requesting a ride using their smartphone." The city's mayor says the shuttles wouldn't replace public transportation, but augment it.

Councilmembers say Beverly Hill's temperate climate, well-maintained roads, and compact size make it perfect for using unmanned vehicles as public transportatin.

Phase one of the city council's program includes contacting companies like Tesla and Google to form potential partnerships. Sponsorships are mentioned as potential source of revenue, but so far there doesn't seem to be any actual funding for the program.

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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.