New Report: Why We Need Self-Driving Cars and How to Get Them Faster
In an era of rising motor-vehicle deaths, autonomous vehicles can revolutionize road safety and cut transportation costs
NEW YORK, NY – The topic of autonomous vehicles (AVs) is a polarizing one, with activists in San Francisco going viral on TikTok this month disabling fleets of the new technology. But in a new report for the Manhattan Institute, Paulson Policy Analyst Jordan McGillis offers vital perspective, demonstrating that AVs are an opportunity to usher in an unprecedented era of vehicular safety. Combined with their economic virtues, they offer important benefits for American cities willing to think strategically about their use.
In the U.S. alone, over 40,000 people die annually in motor vehicle accidents, mostly due to human error. The opportunity to reduce risk of fatal collision, paired with the economic opportunity to save transportation costs, means Americans cannot afford to take a backseat as AV technology develops. Specifically, McGillis suggests that two autonomous vehicle applications, autonomous ride-hailing and autonomous freight trucking, offer the greatest near-term opportunities for development, and lays out policy roadmaps on city, state, and federal levels for forward movement.
According to McGillis’ research, U.S. cities should:
- Allocate curb space to ride-hailing loading and unloading;
- Add autonomous ride-hails to the vehicle categories that qualify for use of preferred lanes; and
- Implement congestion pricing.
State governments should:
- Devote a state policy office to autonomous vehicles;
- License autonomous driving systems similarly to the licensing of human drivers; and
- Invest in quality infrastructure that facilitate autonomous technology.
The federal government should:
- Raise or eliminate autonomous vehicle manufacturing caps;
- Address problems as they arise, rather than before they arise; and
- Use carrots and sticks to induce adoption such as the conditioning of federal transportation dollars upon state approval of autonomous testing.