The National League of Cities, a nonprofit group of municipal leagues, recently released a guide on autonomous vehicles (AVs) – “Autonomous Vehicles: A Policy Preparation Guide” – for state and local planners. It provides a rundown of different types of autonomous vehicles, public policy considerations, recommendations and other topics of interests to cities and companies dealing with the new technology. Topics covered include:
- Privacy concerns – the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers published ‘ Privacy Principles for Vehicle Technologies and Services’ in 2014, but the guide recommends that cities should consider their own safety and privacy concerns that are not reflected in these principles;
- Anonymous data sharing – if properly developed and managed, the vast amounts of data received could be used for traffic control, public utilities monitoring, road safety evaluation, and identifying infrastructure needs;
- Public policy considerations – safety, insurance requirements and local approval of any proposed AV testing in a city;
- Municipal coordination and public outreach – assessment of existing laws and municipal codes that will impact any deployment of AV technology, coordination between city departments, and working with regional agencies;
- Infrastructure investment – policies should be considered that ensure diversified approaches to funding future infrastructure needs;
- Broadband needs – cities should be proactive in reaching out to the dominant provider in their region to plan the growth of infrastructure, so that future needs can be met.
The report recommends that cities begin planning now, as AV’s are already a reality. Policies need to be developed, federal and state policy and legislative developments should be tracked so that cities can ensure they have input, and, plans for future infrastructure needs and building data and computing capacity need to be in place.