As autonomous vehicles become a real choice for our neighborhoods, transit hubs, entertainment districts, and downtown cores, there is an opportunity for them to bring environmental benefits. But realizing those benefits will require us to take a hard look at how personal cars—even the driverless kind—fit into urban life.
The path toward cleaner cars will be walked in tiny steps. There’s a place for all-electric and even semi-autonomous vehicles, but tweaks to designs that burn gasoline will deliver much of the fuel-economy gains expected in the coming decades.
What can data do for your daily commute? A team of energy policy consultants and software developers met in San Francisco to brainstorm how data sets could be used to make the typical urban commute shorter and greener.