NACTO's Blueprint for Autonomous Urbanism

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has created the Blueprint for Autonomous Urbanism, a first-of-its-kind street design vision to help cities worldwide prepare for the age of autonomous vehicles. Building on NACTO’s library of street design guidance, the Blueprint envisions a future where cities benefit from new transportation technologies to improve the public realm and build streets that work for people, rather than merely redesigning streets to accommodate emerging technologies.

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Developed with a steering committee from NACTO’s 61 member cities and transit agencies and funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Blueprint outlines the physical and policy steps that cities could take to ensure that their streets can be reimagined and redesigned to improve safety, prioritize people and public space, strengthen the role of mass transit and manage the contested curb as automated vehicles arrive on city streets.

This Blueprint outlines a vision for cities in a future where automated transportation is both accepted and widespread as part of the built environment. It is a human-centered vision for the potential of city streets, intersections, and networks-one in which automation is harnessed to serve the goals of safety, equity, public health, and sustainability. As a vision, it sets out to inspire policymakers and practitioners to challenge basic assumptions of design, traffic operations, and engineering and to project a vision that builds on present progress, yet takes advantage of technological possibilities.

The onset of automated vehicles marks a critical and consequential turning point in the history of mobility-as important as the early 201h century rise of motordom.  The policies contained here are a step towards building a policy agenda and aspirational framework for the deployment of automated vehicles.  In the absence of such policies, transportation network companies and technology companies will shape urban transportation policy by default. Cities must restate and reiterate their goals and priorities now in order to proactively create cities that best serve the long-term needs of their residents-and other levels of government must heed their call.

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For those working in cities and public officials, the Blueprint is intended to serve as a foundational and aspirational human-oriented vision for the city-a statement and visualization of core principles in an uncertain future shaped by technology.

For the private sector, the Blueprint is intended to communicate the urban vision that cities are working toward and the importance of partnership to achieve this vision.