This Thursday, the Austin City Council will consider a resolution “directing the City Manager to develop a plan and prepare the City to take a leadership role in the ensuing ‘New Mobility/Autonomous Vehicle Solution,’ that will shift the City’s transportation system to one that enables shared, electric, and autonomous mobility services.”
Austin Tech Alliance supports the resolution as a means of solidifying Austin’s leadership in the future of mobility while also addressing enormous civic challenges.
A public vote of support from City Council will show that Austin welcomes innovators, prioritizes its reputation as the place to try new things, and supports using technology as a tool to help address community challenges.
As the resolution states, “Austin was called the ‘Kitty Hawk’ of driverless vehicles for hosting the first passenger-only vehicle on a public City Street,” a feat accomplished with a 10-minute ride in North Austin in October 2015:
The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) recently reported that “the cost of shared, electric, autonomous mobility services will be equal to the total cost of owning, operating, and parking a car as soon as 2018.” Check out this chart showing near cost parity from their report, Peak Car Ownership:
More from RMI:
When we hit this price level, people could save money (and time and the frustration of sitting in traffic) by using automated mobility services instead of owning a car. Given the flurry of research and product development in this area by rideshare companies, technology companies, and auto manufacturers, this is a near-term reality.
The resolution will help Austin prepare for this “near-term reality.”
The City Council resolution specifically directs the City Manager, the individual appointed by Council to carry out Council’s policy objectives, to develop a plan to ensure Austin “take[s] a state/national/global leadership role in the ensuing ‘New Mobility Electric/Autonomous Vehicle (EV/AV)’ solution, [which] will shift the City’s transportation system to one that enables ‘Shared, Electric, and Autonomous Mobility Services’ and provide a City ready and willing for it.”
More on what the resolution calls for in the City Manager’s plan:
The New Mobility EV/AV Plan will address on-demand mobility, accessibility and reduced transportation costs, reduced congestion, improved air quality, and mobility for seniors, persons with disabilities, and others without a driver’s license or means to access a car.
The Plan will include opportunities to the broader population, making it easier to shed private vehicle ownership and migrate to shared, electric, autonomous mobility services for their transportation needs.
Wide spread adoption of Shared, Electric, and Autonomous transportation services has potential to transform our transportation system and provide benefits such as reduced transportation costs and congestion as well as improved air quality and increased affordability. The plan will also include and provide opportunity to evolve with future technological advancements.
The entire draft resolution can be viewed here.
The resolution is sponsored by Council Member Ann Kitchen and co-sponsored by Mayor Steve Adler and Council Members Alison Alter and Jimmy Flannigan.
Take action to support the resolution! Call or email your Council Member’s office before Thursday’s meeting and ask them to vote in support of agenda item #39, the new mobility electric/autonomous vehicle resolution. Not sure who your Council Member is? Enter your home address here under District Lookup.