Are robotaxis good for the climate?


A Waymo autonomous vehicle drives along Masonic Avenue.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Blanca Begert

November 29, 2023

Susan Shaheen, UC Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Research Center Co-Director discusses shared automated vehicles with Polictico.

“If you could get more people sharing a car, when you start to look at the vehicle miles traveled and the greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant impacts, they’re likely going to be lower,” said Susan Shaheen, a California Air Resources Board member and director of UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center.

Prior to the pandemic, numbers for carpools or van pools were already starting to slip. And during the pandemic, these numbers tanked for rideshare companies and were never able to return.

Shaheen says AV companies and regulators could learn from past mistakes and recent studies to incentivize pooling through pricing, updates to rideshare logistics and changes to urban design.

“If we allow these systems to be deployed without policy strategies or interventions, perhaps we will see an increase in demand and an increase in VMT,” said Shaheen. “But if we introduce these vehicle systems in concert with policies directed at land use and operations and pricing mechanisms, do we get different outcomes? Our research would suggest ‘yes.’”

Read full article here.


Posted on

January 3, 2024