Local Policy for Automated Mobility

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MTI research creates policy framework for the future of automated mobility
November 2, 2020
San José, CA

Recent developments in autonomous vehicle (AV) and electric vehicle (EV) technologies, along with evolving urban mobility landscapes, have altered the core of urban transportation as we know it. New Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) research, A Policy Framework for the Future of Automated Mobility: The Need for Local Government Policy, lays out a framework for the future of automated mobility and the need for local government policy as transportation shifts toward a safer, more sustainable, and equitable future.

As AV and EV technologies rapidly advance, cities struggle to address necessary policy changes with the same momentum. Shifts in transportation patterns, the latest data, new concerns about privacy and security, and unprecedented cross-jurisdictional policy landscapes challenge city, state, and federal governments. While local policymakers in some cities, such as Boston and San Antonio, have already begun to conquer a few of these obstacles, efforts remain largely broad and patchwork, creating an incongruent regulatory landscape that inhibits growth.

“Without harmonization of policies across jurisdictions, operators are confronting heterogeneous regulatory landscapes that hinder compliance and interoperability,” explains Principal Investigator Dr. Billy Riggs.

This research found that local governments are uniquely positioned to make tangible infrastructure-focused efforts to maximize AV technology and future mobility through a policy framework. Recommended policy changes include:

  • Reimagining curb use and allocation, such as implementing curbside designations and signage
  • Rethinking mobility strategies, including supporting deployment of AVs in communities with less transit availability
  • Standardizing right of ways with AV-readable signage to increase road safety
  • Incorporating transportation electrification into city-level priorities, including incentives for EVs, with special consideration given to people living in communities of concern
  • Considering positive-sum road design to reduce speed, including creating car-free zones

Cities and communities have the opportunity to create and implement policies that will shape an equitable, green, accessible, and inclusive future for AV, EV, and all transportation. The policy framework outlined in this research is a starting point for this action. Creating and implementing a focused, clear policy framework is a tangible step toward a better and brighter urban future.

MTI will host a 30-minute webinar on this research on Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 10a.m. (PST). Attendees can register at https://tinyurl.com/policyAV.



At the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University (SJSU) our mission is to increase mobility for all by improving the safety, efficiency, accessibility, and convenience of our nations’ transportation system. Through research, education, workforce development and technology transfer, we help create a connected world. MTI was founded in 1991 and is funded through the US Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, the California Department of Transportation, and public and private grants. MTI is affiliated with SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.


William (Billy) Riggs, PhD, AICP, LEED AP is an MTI Research Associate and a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Management with his expertise in the areas of autonomy and smart transportation, housing, economics and urban development.


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Irma Garcia,

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O: 408-924-7560

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