Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched a project to help 10 cities around the globe get ready for autonomous vehicles.
An article by State Scoop reports that the billionaire announced the launch of the “Bloomberg Aspen Initiative on Cities and Autonomous Vehicles.”
The new initiative will partner Bloomberg’s philanthropy organization with the Aspen Institute, and include 10 mayors from around the world plus industry experts. The combined brain trust will collaborate on ways to prepare cities for the advent of self-driving cars.
“No tech has shaped cities more than cars in the last 100 years. It’s time for cities to turn the focus to self-driving vehicles,” said Bloomberg on his Twitter feed. “Autonomous vehicles have the potential to complement the work cities are doing – so long as people, not cars, drive the agenda.”
The first five cities are Los Angeles, Austin and Nashville in the U.S., plus Buenos Aires and Paris abroad. The other five cities will be announced before the year’s end.
The initiative will focus on creating guiding principles and best practices that can help cities when developing transportation policies for autonomous vehicles.
Austin sees Bloomberg upside
The city of Austin sees its involvement in the project as advantageous because it ensures having a seat at the table when important municipal policy ideas are being hatched.
“We find that a lot of the public policy innovation in the tech sphere happens when mayors talk to each other,” said Jason Stanford from the Austin Mayor’s office. “I know that sounds lo-tech, but that’s really how it occurs.”
“One thing we hope is that we figure out what we don’t know,” he adds. “Working with other cities and having these conversations might illuminate new possibilities we hadn’t considered yet.”
The Bloomberg-led initiative comes at a time when the majority of Americans are open to sharing their future with robotic vehicles. In a recent survey conducted by the Consumer Technology Association 70% said they are ready for a future that includes autonomous cars.
However, local and national governments around the globe are struggling to develop regulations that accommodate both citizen safety and the new car technology that is evolving at breakneck speed.