For this column last month I wrote about how policymakers around the world have taken a varied approach to the regulation and adoption of autonomous vehicle technology. Most governments are looking to address public concerns about safety, security, and privacy, without hampering innovation.

Another benefit of the new technology could be a reduction in emissions and congestion, when paired with shared and electric mobility. According to the World Economic Forum, if shared and electric (and later autonomous) vehicles are properly integrated, cities can reduce their emissions by up to 95% and free road space for other uses. A new WEF report released in July pulls together successful policies from around the world to demonstrate to cities how they can achieve this.

By properly integrating SEAM (Shared, Electric, and Automated Mobility) offerings, the WEF believes that decision-makers could decrease up to 95% of vehicle emissions by 2050 and free up nearly 90% of space used for parking. Policy-makers should prioritize policies on higher occupancy and electric vehicle offerings until the technology for future goals of autonomous vehicles catches up. The WEF has released a new policy library to help decision-makers achieve mobility goals. The library was developed with representatives of the Center of Competence Urban Mobility of BMW, Mobility Leadership of Ford Greenfields Labs, Transport at World Bank, UC Davis, and ClimateWorks. The WEF will convene the new Global New Mobility Coalition in the autumn to tailor this policy framework to three pilot cities.

“With this framework, decision-makers do not have to start from scratch,” said Maya Ben Dror, Project Lead, World Economic Forum. “It anticipates that some cities are more advanced in one of these three categories. But it is flexible enough that a city with no mobility policies can save valuable time and leapfrog ahead.”

Improving the dialog among the developers of AVs and other new mobility technologies, the designers of the built environment, and planners of cities is the focus of our AVT Connect event next month. Two of the execs presenting there have also written about the topics for this issue’s special AVTech Futures feature section.

Joseph Brancato, the Vice Chairman of global design and architecture firm Gensler, writes that the widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles and the proliferation of ridesharing services will afford cities a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reclaim valuable urban real estate for people. It is projected that autonomous vehicles could reduce overall parking demand by 90%, which would liberate hundreds of millions of square feet for other uses. He believes it is critical that the architecture and design community stay ahead of this new-mobility issue.

Paul Doherty, Chairman and CEO of Smart City-focused real-estate-development company The Digit Group, discusses an innovative public-private partnership for forward-thinking Nashville. He writes that all successful Smart City solutions are based on ecosystems, not a single silver bullet innovation. Nashville’s Intelligent Transit pilot program was tasked with developing equitable mass and personal transit solutions that are complementary rather than separate from existing options. It includes autonomous commuter, intracity, and personal EVs, along with wireless, environmentally clean charging solutions to enable the system to run 24/7/365.

Check out these and other articles in our AVTech Futures section starting on p. 13 from top executives of vehicle-technology and built-environment thought leaders on the latest thinking on the future, benefits, and challenges for vehicle autonomy, connectivity, electrification, and mobility services. And be sure to join in on the important and continuing dialog on these and related new-mobility subjects at our Autonomous Vehicle Technology Connect event on September 26th in NYC; be sure to visit the website,, for more information.