Implications of autonomous electric transportation for urban planning and infrastructure

Project completed

Duration2018-2020

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Research team

Soumaya Cherkaoui (Université de Sherbrooke)

Linda Bellalite (Université de Sherbrooke)

Nathalie Drouin (KHEOPS, ESG UQAM)

Jean-François Bruneau (IVADO)

Félix-Antoine Simoneau (Université de Sherbrooke)

Amaury Philippe (Polytechnique Montréal, student)

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Project partners

ARTM

Ville de Montréal

PRESENTATION OF THE RESEARCH

This study concerns the transformations that will be needed to optimize the integration of autonomous electric vehicles in urban settings. It was carried out in four phases, and the resulting recommendations will support decisions concerning the introduction of this technology on Quebec’s road system, especially regarding the use and adaptation of urban spaces and infrastructures.

Objectives and expected benefits

Objectives

  • Identify the existing initiatives that take autonomous vehicles into account in urban planning.
  • Identify and analyze the impacts of autonomous vehicles on land use, personal mobility and transportation infrastructures.
  • Assess the opportunities and risks related to autonomous urban transportation in relation to facilities, infrastructures, urban transformation and sustainable urban development.

Expected outcomes

  • Improvement in decision-makers’ understanding of the implications of autonomous electric transportation for urban planning and infrastructures.
  • Formulation of recommendations regarding the use and adaptation of land and infrastructures.
A study in four phases

Phase 1: Identify and list urban planning studies that take autonomous electric vehicles into account.

Phase 2: Document the main issues related to land use planning by collecting and analyzing data on autonomous vehicles’ impacts on land use and urban activities.

Phase 3: Collect and analyze data concerning autonomous vehicles’ impacts on personal mobility and transportation infrastructures.

Phase 4: Study two scenarios regarding autonomous vehicles’ integration in Montreal.  Make recommendations to support decision-making regarding the use and adaptation of urban land and infrastructures.

Overview of results

Report 1

The issues and impacts related to the deployment of autonomous electric vehicles far exceed the technology itself. In fact, there are social issues regarding electric vehicles’ acceptance by and acceptability to individuals, as well as concepts related to safety and ethics. There are also issues concerning the transition: infrastructures to be put in place, cohabitation and legalization. The impacts relate to changing mobility practices, redevelopment of the territory, economic scope and environmental footprint.

The arrival of autonomous electric transportation in Quebec could potentially be beneficial but, in order to achieve these benefits, municipal and transportation authorities must carefully reflect and plan beforehand.

Report 2

The impact of autonomous electric vehicles on land use and urban activities will, in all likelihood, depend on the predominant use made of these vehicles. If private vehicles dominate the market, then a second wave of urban sprawl can be expected. Conversely, if shared vehicles predominate, then we can expect consolidation of urban cores, an increase in population density and only a modest increase in the built-up area. In all scenarios, the street space could be radically transformed and charging stations will probably have to be adapted. 

In the longer term, public transit will surely have to incorporate autonomous electric vehicles. They will be assigned to connector routes with low ridership (first/last kilometre), acting as feeder routes. The main public transit service lines should instead be concentrated in high-density corridors. They seem to play a complementary role in enhancing service quality and coverage. Finally, it appears essential for municipal authorities and public transit organizations to get involved early so they can influence the deployment of autonomous vehicles and ensure that they are integrated in such a way as to secure the benefits of this new revolution.

Recommendations and summary of results to come.

Publications

Reports

Cherkaoui, S., Drouin, N., Bruneau, J. F. et Philippe, A. (2019). Les enjeux et impacts liés à la mise en place d’un transport électrique autonome au Québec [Research report]. Montréal : KHEOPS. (French only)

Bellalite, L. et Cherkaoui, S. (2019). Impacts des véhicules autonomes électriques sur l’utilisation du sol et les activités urbaines [Research report]. Montréal : KHEOPS. (French only)

Cherkaoui, S., Drouin, N. et Simoneau, F. A. (2020). Impact des véhicules électriques autonomes sur la mobilité [Research report]. Montréal : KHEOPS. (French only)

Cherkaoui, S., Drouin, N. et Simoneau, F. A. (2020). Exemples de scénarios et recommandations à l’égard de l’utilisation des véhicules autonomes électriques en milieu urbain [Research report]. Montréal : KHEOPS. (French only)

Presentation

Cherkaoui, S., Drouin, N., Bruneau, J. F. et Philippe, A. (2019, 31 mai). Les enjeux et impacts liés à la mise en place d’un transport électrique autonome au Québec [PowerPoint presentation]. (French only)

Report : Impacts des véhicules autonomes électriques sur l’utilisation du sol et les activités urbaines
Keywords

Land use planning

Mobility

Autonomous electric transportation

Urban planning

Road system