become a multi-million dollar quandary.
Dozens of similar disruptions have been
Disruption can mean job changes,
rapidly altering infrastructure demands, new
businesses and lost businesses. There will
be new challenges for urban planners and
revenue losses for government as electrified
and automated fleets mean lower revenue
from fuel, parking and traffic tickets.
Democratization means more mobility
options everywhere, more convenience,
new business formats and, eventually, lower
prices. What was unlikely becomes tenable.
A decade ago, two strangers sharing a ride
was a fringe idea, statistically invisible on
transportation charts. Since then, ride-hailers have popularized the idea, and it is
now poised to become a workable approach.
Even New York City taxis started to offer
ride sharing in 2017.
Virtuous cycle—vicious cycle
Democratization, in turn, feeds back
into more disruption, compounding the
cycle. Uber and Lyft have disrupted the
taxi industry and started to disrupt transit
ridership in cities like New York, San
Francisco, Denver and Las Vegas. At the
same time, some smaller cities and towns
collaborate with ride-hailers in a bid to be
relieved of unaffordable bus routes. This
cycle is vicious or virtuous depending
on your perspective. The more transit is
disrupted, the more ridership is lost, the
more routes need to be trimmed back and
the more ride-hailers are asked to take over.
This portends complex social, employment
and environmental considerations. It also
provides an opportunity to shift public
money to more robust trunk lines fed by
If predictions are correct, around 2030 we
can expect automated vehicles to provide
at least one-quarter of all passenger miles
travelled (PMT) in driverless vehicles. This
prediction assumes high automation capable
of this service level will be reliable by then
and AVIN is focused on enabling that to
Regardless of the speed or pervasiveness
of change, there are significant unaddressed
• Massive, commercial, electric and
automated fleets using roads without
paying fuel taxes.
• Public bus systems under severe
• Outward expansion due to the adoption of
personal, automated vehicles.
• Insufficient incentives for passengers
to terminate robo-trips at transit hubs,
meaning a drop in transit ridership and
growing swarms of small vehicles.
• Organized labor concerns for job losses,
or job changes that lead to declining
All of this change and more waits at the
far end of the tunnel that R&D investments
such as AVIN are paying into. Still, programs
like AVIN must proceed.
Coming out of the tunnel
The uncertainty regarding diffusion of
this technology indicates scenarios where