Global mayors prepare their cities for autonomous vehicles

by Brianna Crandall — November 23, 2016 — In a move that may have effects on building design as well as companies’ fleets, staff commute time and more, five mayors from cities around the world recently committed to working together to prepare their cities for the emergence of autonomous vehicles, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute. This new initiative responds to discussions with mayors from around the world who are already beginning to feel the impacts of this technology.

The inaugural cities participating in the Bloomberg Aspen Initiative on Cities and Autonomous Vehicles, announced at the CityLab 2016 conference in Miami, are: Paris, France; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Austin, TX, USA; Los Angeles, CA, USA; and Nashville, TN, USA.

Four of these pioneering cities, Paris, Buenos Aires, Austin and Los Angeles, are also members of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and therefore committed to bold leadership on tackling climate change. As mayors welcomed the initiative they also highlighted the unique opportunity that autonomous vehicles offer in accelerating cuts to greenhouse gas emissions in their cities.

Five additional cities will be announced later this year.

Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute will convene leading global experts, marshal cutting-edge data and insights, and facilitate an innovation process that helps city leaders consider the many ways this technology could solve chronic urban challenges, and improve the lives of citizens. By helping participant cities plan for their own future, the initiative will produce and release a set of principles, resources and tools that participating cities and many other cities can use in their own efforts in the years ahead.

C40 Chair-Elect and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo commented:

In Paris we are transforming our transport system to prioritize the health and welfare of our citizens. If managed properly, the arrival of autonomous vehicles will speed up that transformation whilst also helping cities to deliver on the ambition of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The Bloomberg Aspen Initiative on Cities and Autonomous Vehicles will be key in ensuring that this shift focuses on improving the lives of citizens.

Sustainable urban transportation is a major priority for C40 and will be a key theme of the C40 Mayors Summit in Mexico City from November 30 to December 2. The Summit will bring together influential mayors from around the world representing 650 million citizens to present their common goals for a sustainable future, one year after COP21 in Paris.