Autonomous Vehicles
January 21, 2019

The Future of Mobility Speaker Series: Tim Papandreou

The Future of Mobility Speaker Series: Tim Papandreou

The transportation sector is about to experience its biggest shake-up since the combustion engine replaced the horse and carriage. Electrification, automation and the sharing economy are converging to change the modes we use to move and the services we expect.

Explore this transformation with Tim Papandreou, the leading global expert in the future of mobility and automation who led strategic partnerships to commercialize Waymo and launch the world’s first fully self-driving ride-hailing service.

The City of Vancouver and City of Surrey will also take the stage to talk about their joint Smart Cities Challenge proposal.

Following his presentation, Tim will be joined on stage for a moderated Q&A with Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program.

 

Thursday, Jan 24

6 pm

SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings, Room 1400

This event is free but registration is required due to limited seating available. Save your spot.

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We’ve all heard the story of tourists from Europe buying air tickets to Sydney Australia, not reading the fine print, and finding themselves in Halifax Airport about  to be transferred to a smaller plane to the Sydney in the Maritimes’ Cape Breton.

Similar things happen in the 911 emergency network.  On Christmas Day a person in distress reached out to 911 in Surrey B.C. through Facebook~unfortunately she had contacted Surrey in southeast Great Britain. As Global News reports there just happened to be a police officer from Toronto in the British Surrey Police department office, visiting one of the police telephone operators. This officer linked the distress call through the Vancouver  Police Department who coordinated with the RCMP detachment in Surrey, B.C.  While the British Surrey dispatcher kept the person on the line, the RCMP  in Surrey B.C. located the lady and got her to support services. In British Columbia calling  911 connects Metro Vancouver and 25 regional districts with emergency services. This call centre receives over 1.45 million calls annually.

But perhaps the most extraordinary 911 emergency answer came to a call made by mistake from the International Space Station.

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Peter delivered this talk at the Get Inspired Talks, on October 20, 2018. .
For decades Peter Ladner has been trying out better ways to get around Vancouver than driving alone at a huge cost. In this video, Peter describes how we can move around Vancouver using ways that are easier, healthier, cheaper and more convenient.   Peter is chair of the David Suzuki Foundation board and the Better Transit and Transportation Coalition. He is a former Vancouver City Councillor, TransLink board member, business owner and journalist.
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Let me quote myself:

I’ve been predicting the rise of the “Transportation Service Provider” — a consolidator of every mode of movement imaginable, integrated with technology, and designed to provide consumers with a suite of services for which they pay (as with telecommunications) one provider with a lot of money.

This is based on the assumption a single provider or oligopoly can emerge. Look to see some of today’s giants try to get even bigger and more diverse as fast as possible in order to dominate the market.

Now it’s just a case of documenting how and how fast this is occurring.  Like this, from The Conversation:

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As Transportation Service Providers (TSPs) provide a suite of options in the form of a service contract, rather like telecommunication providers do now, there will be less and less need for individually owned cars.  And it’s also the way that automated, even autonomous, vehicles are likely to be introduced: a fleet of AVs that the consumer has access to, rather than an individually assigned car.  In other words, the way car-sharing works today.

How fast will that happen?  How soon will the self-owned vehicle be rare or even obsolete?

How about in 10 years?

That’s what one presenter at a transportation conference last week predicted.

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Yesterday’s post about the Vancouver Sun op-ed by Alex Boston scraped the surface of what could comprise an effective business case for Skytrain south of the Fraser, let alone what numbers may (or may not) have been used to justify LRT in the first place.

Did Translink miss some data? As I hinted in Part I, perhaps they simply missed communicating the most relevant, top-line numbers the public have an appetite — and capacity — to understand (no offence to all of us).

But let’s assume they made a whole raft of calculations, such as those that can be found in “Regional Transportation Investments: A Vision for Metro Vancouver (Appendices)“, pointed to me by  Boston’s colleague Keane Gruending from the Centre for Dialogue. The Centre’s own analysis on this file is reminiscent of their Moving in a Livable Region program around the time of the 2015 transit plebiscite, which attempted to hold our leaders accountable (and the politics in check), using a facts-first approach.

Boston’s deeper piece on the Renewable Cities website also reminded me that a lot of the debate on whether to pause Phase 2 and 3 of the Mayors Plan to once again deal with the Skytrain question often fails to deal with two important metrics tied to land use: jobs density, and CO2 emissions.

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This week, Alex Boston, the Executive Director of the Renewable Cities program at SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, wrote an op-ed in the Vancouver Sun on the proposed two big changes threatening to upend phases 2 and 3 of TransLink’s Mayors Plan.

Boston’s piece is a call, if slightly veiled, to Vancouver’s Kennedy Stewart and Surrey’s Doug McCallum to do what they were elected to do when it comes to regional matters — understand all the issues in a city which are regionally dependent or impactful, obtain support and confidence from your respective councils on big ideas, and work collaboratively with the other mayors and the TransLink Board to realize them.

But of course as you may know, it’s never that easy. And much like the housing crisis, there may not even be agreement on what the two problems are. 

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Beth Osborne, Director of Transportation for America, was asked: Can you paint a vivid picture of your nightmare scenario of what our cities look like when AVs are all over the roads?

“My nightmare scenario, which I can visualize perfectly,” she responded, “is sitting in the middle of stand-still traffic in which I am the only human being there.  And all the other cars are clogging up the roads but there are no people in any of them.”

The full response can be found here:

It’s a podcast with Slateand this episode is the best exploration I’ve heard of the context for autonomous vehicles (and what the history of Motordom can tell us).

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More common sense from Jarrett Walker.  In The Atlantic:

Microtransit, or “Uber for public transit,” as some advocates call it, is a new name for an old idea: “dial-a-ride,” or demand-responsive transit. A van roams in a neighborhood….

Superficially, it might seem that offering riders a more convenient service—especially one that comes directly to their door—would increase ridership. And for individual riders who don’t use buses or rail for whatever reason, it might. But for a municipality with a fixed budget for service, shifting resources from fixed routes to microtransit is a way of lowering ridership overall, not increasing it. …

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