Connected and automated vehicles, often called "driverless vehicles," will have major impacts on urban travel behavior, and therefore on the function and form of cities and neighborhoods. How we manage driverless vehicle operations in cities is a significant research question in urban planning, which will determine the livability and economic vitality of neighborhoods, the sustainability of daily travel, and the control that residents have over the urban environment. In order to address these issues, we are developing policy- and technology-based approaches to managing urban streets that sustainably and equitably balance the potential benefits and costs of driverless vehicles. Key methods include policy analysis, systems analysis, development of street standards and guidelines, and travel modeling and simulation.
Students working on the project will help develop case studies of current policy and planning responses to driverless vehicles, assist with the creation of visualizations of future scenarios, and depending on student skills and interests may contribute to travel modeling and simulation.
While no technical skills are required to begin working on the project, students with interests and/or ability in urban planning, policy, systems engineering, or urban design are particularly appropriate for this project. In addition, all students applying should have some familiarity with online research in order to develop case studies of driverless vehicles.
By working on this project, students should be able to (1) complete urban case study research, (2) understand and help develop urban street design standards, and (3) gain experience with connected, automated vehicle policy and planning. In addition, if the student has the aptitude and interest, they gain gain experience with urban traffic modeling and simulation.