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Current News: Evolving Technologies

Image Credit: First Group

Emerging technologies represent a tremendous opportunity to increase the efficiency and safety of transportation; provide on-demand, real-time travel information; and assist riders in traveling within their community. As we learn of new technology being introduced, we will add it to this page. Please send any items you would recommend we include to (Note: Items older than 6 months will generally be deleted from this page, but will be archived by NCMM staff.)

On the Horizon:

Automated Vehicles

  • Denver's first driverless shuttle hits the test track (12/4/17). The Regional Transportation District in Denver, CO formed a partnership with Colorado Department of Transportation and Panasonic to test an autonomous shuttle to help solve the region’s “last mile” commuting issues. The shuttle will take passengers from Pena Station to nearby office buildings or bus stops starting as early as spring 2018.
  • What the Car Did - And What It Might Do (11/7/17). New York Times Magazine's Tech Issue was dedicated entirely to self-driving cars, exploring the challenges, opportunities, and implications of moving towards an entirely autonomous future. Read the whole series of articles.
  • Waymo's fully self-driving vehicles are here (11/7/17). Waymo is releasing self-driving cars into Phoenix, Arizona, without even a driver behind the wheel to take over just in case something goes wrong. The company plans to establish a fleet of shared cars that people can hail like an Uber or Lyft. This is a major step in the roll-out of autonomous vehicles on public roads.
  • 10 Rules for Cities About Automated Vehicles (10/16/17). A list of considerations for planners and officials to keep in mind as they prepare for the advent of AVs.
  • No One Knows What a Self-Driving Car Is, And It's Becoming a Problem (10/12/17). The rapid changes in automated and autonomous technology have resulted in confusion for consumers and even within the industry. More clearly defining the technologies we're talking about is vital to developing safely.

Mobility as a Service, and its interim steps

  • Boston imagines a "super CharlieCard" for transportation (9/22/2017). Boston officials are working on a new fare system that would integrate public and private services into one convenient payment which would play a role in encouraging people to use modes other than driving alone in an already congested city.

Community Planning

Shared Use

  • Automated, electric buses may be transit's future (11/2/17). Public transit has long struggled with the "first-mile/last-mile" conundrum, but the advent of autonomous technology may allow agencies to provide right-sized, efficient services to begin serving transit deserts and getting people to use public services.

Current Applications:

Information on Transportation Services


  • Real-time transportation analytics tools streamline decision-making in Ohio (9/25/2017). Ohio is deploying technology that will allow real-time analysis of traffic and transportation issues, which will ultimately enable planners to prioritize vital transit and mobility projects.
  • VTA Demonstrates Innovative Smart Stop Technology (6/17/16). “Smart Stop,” promotes V2I (Vehicle-To-Infrastructure) and V2V (Vehicle-To-Vehicle) communications using using Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC). Smart Stop will let a bus operator know if someone is waiting at a particular stop, and to let passengers know when the bus is nearby.

Planning Applications

  • Design a Driverless Street of the Future with ReStreet (9/25/17). A new app allows planning-minded users to design their ideal street with the advent of autonomous vehicles in mind. This democratizes transportation planning by giving public input that official planners can use to ensure human- and mobility-minded designs.


Shared-Use Technology

  • Los Angeles' EV Program Seeks Low-Income Users (10/2/17). Los Angeles has introduced its BlueLA Electric Car Sharing Program, hoping to give low-income residents access to electric vehicles. The effort hopes to reduce pollution in the communities it hits hardest and reduce dependence on personal vehicles while increasing mobility in those neighborhoods.
  • Carmakers push toward mobility as a service (8/1/17). Many large automakers don't "two cars in every garage" as the future for production, but instead are trending toward developing shared use services. Instead of selling vehicles to individual households, car manufacturers see a future in fleet-based sales that use technology to reach customers.