Architects convene for national Summit on Design & Urban Mobility
In May the American Architecture Foundation and the City of Pittsburgh held a national Summit on Design & Urban Mobility to discuss the impact of autonomous vehicles on city design and public policy. The summit brought together leading thinkers from across the country representing industry, government, design, and advocacy to develop actionable strategies to prepare Pittsburgh and peer cities across North America for emerging trends in urban mobility.
Then, in conjunction with CityAge, the partners released the summary recommendations of the summit at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The report outlines a number of key principles that cities and private sector mobility providers must collaborate on to achieve desired outcomes.
“Mobility has two very important and intertwined meanings,” Mayor William Peduto said. “First it refers to physical movement—the ability to move freely from place to place. Secondly it is the ability to change one’s status in life—to move up the economic ladder.”
The report provides dozens of actionable strategies to prepare cities—and workers and builders—for the effects of autonomous vehicle technology and expanded shared mobility. And it highlights the need for proactive change management to ease the transition for drivers, workers, individuals, and families and ensure all can thrive.
“Autonomous vehicle technology is advancing at a rapid clip and will arrive much sooner than the public realizes,” said Ronald E. Bogle, President & CEO of the American Architectural Foundation. “Cities—nimble enough to work across sectors to directly serve residents in a meaningful way—will need to lead on this front and leverage transportation to promote values of equity.”
The need is urgent. A 2016 study from Harvard University clearly documented that mobility and access is the leading factor in households being able to escape poverty. New options in mobility—from car sharing to autonomous vehicles—are already penetrating the Pittsburgh market, but their benefits are not yet equally shared.
Delegates recommend that emerging urban mobility platforms and services adhere to nine basic principles:
- Be accessible—physically, economically, and culturally;
- Be safe, secure, and reliable;
- Strengthen walkability, mass transit, and community;
- Ensure private partners share in incentives, outcomes, and rewards;
- Include full cost accounting, including the use of facilities and impacts on systems and workers;
- Reinvest in mobility systems;
- Proactively manage change for equitable outcomes;
- Reduce vehicle trips in the system; and
- Treat the community as shareholders.
City Design and Programming: Delegates acknowledged that cities are the right scale of geography and municipal governance for place-based design strategies dealing with the advent of AVs to be developed, tested, and implemented. The following recommendations are the product of concurrent design charrettes that analyzed neighborhood and district-scale projects in Detroit; Kansas City, MO; New York; Pittsburgh; and Portland, OR that are planning for AV incorporation.
Public Management, Governance, and Regulation: Delegates realized that place-based development that responds to a new urban mobility will require consistent public management, transparent governance, and strategic regulation. The following recommendations provide guidance for how the public sector and partners may best address the opportunities for AV technologies to contribute positively to the built environment.
Education, Outreach, and Change Leadership: Successful implementation of new urban mobility systems requires effective and strategic communication from public and private sector leaders. Citizens should understand the urgent need to plan for and implement changes to city infrastructure and systems with the advent of AV technology. Delegates offered the following recommendations to educate, conduct outreach, and inspire change.
To find out how you can get involved with helping cities prepare for an autonomous vehicle future, visit the American Architectural Foundation at www.archfoundation.org.