Inrix report identifies top 10 USA cities for highly autonomous vehicle deployment

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One of the leaders in connected car services and transportation, Inrix Research, has released a report revealing the top 10 cities in the USA that are primed for adopting highly autonomous vehicles (HAVs).

Automakers and technology companies alike are investing in the future of self-driving cars. To determine how this technology will impact cities around the USA, Inrix’s mobility data will help public sector stakeholders strategically plan to bring this technology to market in a way that benefits citizens, businesses and cities. To identify what urban areas could have the greatest proportion of vehicle travel replaced with autonomous vehicles, Inrix looked at one year’s worth of travel data in and around the top 50 U.S. cities by population, combined with StreetLight InSight, an industry-leading mobilityanalytics online platform. The report aggregated and analyzed Inrix trip data from millions of connected cars, parking availability and restrictions, and US census demographic data to create a scoring system to rank cities for AV deployment. New Orleans, Albuquerque, Tucson, and Portland, and Omaha topped the list (full rankings listed below).

The deployment of HAVs is expected to deliver substantial benefits: reduced traffic congestion, decreased emissions, lower-cost of mobility, and safer travel. It is crucial for public officials to proactively plan for autonomous vehicles using a data-driven approach aimed at tackling specific urban area needs. Without smart planning, this technology could clog roads, increase pollution and further stratify mobility options. Many cities are currently considering HAV deployment on public roads within their footprint. Big data analysis and a deeper understanding of mobility will help public sector stakeholders strategically plan to bring this technology to market in a way that benefits citizens, businesses and the city.

To see which urban areas could have the greatest proportion of vehicle travel replaced by HAVs, Inrix looked at nearly 1.3 billion trips in and around the top 50 cities. Inrix Research analyzed trips that began and ended within a 25-mile (40km) radius of each downtown and compared this to aggregate regional trips (including outbound, inbound, and passing-through trips) to establish a percentage of intra-city travel. Inrix then looked at the percentage of a city’s intra-city trips, 10 miles (16km) or less, and combined these two metrics to score each city out of a possible 100 points. Inrix also ran a detailed analysis and constructed heat maps to score and visualize results for Austin, Texas.

“Big data is a powerful tool that should be used as cities explore HAVs, and mobility data and analytics are more powerful when multiple layers are added into the equation,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at Inrix. “Using data-driven insights to inform public planning will allow city officials to proactively leverage HAVs to solve key mobility and societal challenges, while mitigating potentially-negative sideeffects of this technology.”

Avery Ash, autonomous vehicle market strategist at Inrix, noted, “Shared-use vehicles will be a highly effective deployment of autonomous vehicles, where shorter, intra-city trips can maximize occupancy and efficiency, which means safer, faster and more convenient travel for users.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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