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Kyle Campbell

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We are in the hype cycle for AV technology. Give it a few years and the buzz will fade. The future of AV roaming the streets without drivers is a myth. It wont happen in our life-times. Remember when they said hovercrafts would be a thing? AV has it's place and the technology will greatly advance over the next few decades and for targeted fleets like trucks and buses it maybe significant savings in labour arbitrage for companies and public monopolies. However, I doubt people will stop owning their own cars or governments be allowed to ban manual driving cars.

Predictions and reality often don't converge. I'm sure everyone remembers the hype about video phones as well. While the technology did become commonly available we don't use it the way people predicted back in the 80s sci-fi movies. They assumed it would be a wholesale replacement of all other forms of telecommunication rather than way that it ended up as just part of the mix
 

crs1026

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The aspect of AV's that is of interest to this discussion (there is a thread all about Self-driving vehicles generally, btw) is whether some sort of "pool car" concept would improve local mobility to the point where people would abandon private ownership and use, removing the need for parking lots at GO stations, malls, etc.

I wonder why AV is so essential. We could attempt the same concept today with driven vehicles. In fact, that's what taxis and Uber are, except the price structure and hailing method don't attract regular commuters to the trips that we are discussing.

The only business I know that applies this concept is, ironically, car dealerships.... they all have shuttles to get you places while your vehicle is being serviced. The shuttle is theoretically free, although in reality it's built into their pricing for their repair business.

It would be interesting to price a 'taxi pass' - monthly fee for unlimited taxi or uber use in a very limited geographic area, a slick app for hailing and dispatch, a caveat that there may be other customers in your shuttle as well. The price might be competitive with auto ownership, the idea being that a 2 car family could downsize to one car - few in the burbs can survive with no car altogether. Traditionally taxi fares have lump sum plus distance. I wonder if that could change in a market where distance is assumed to be constrained and business is constant.... such as shuttling people to the GO.

Oh, and the whole fare thing could be loaded onto Presto.

- Paul
 

micheal_can

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We are in the hype cycle for AV technology. Give it a few years and the buzz will fade. The future of AV roaming the streets without drivers is a myth. It wont happen in our life-times. Remember when they said hovercrafts would be a thing? AV has it's place and the technology will greatly advance over the next few decades and for targeted fleets like trucks and buses it maybe significant savings in labour arbitrage for companies and public monopolies. However, I doubt people will stop owning their own cars or governments be allowed to ban manual driving cars.

Predictions and reality often don't converge. I'm sure everyone remembers the hype about video phones as well. While the technology did become commonly available we don't use it the way people predicted back in the 80s sci-fi movies. They assumed it would be a wholesale replacement of all other forms of telecommunication rather than way that it ended up as just part of the mix

I have used Skype and FaceTime regularly since it came out.

AVs will become as common as fuel injected cars are. They will be the majority within a decade or so.
 

steveintoronto

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Predictions and reality often don't converge. I'm sure everyone remembers the hype about video phones as well. While the technology did become commonly available we don't use it the way people predicted back in the 80s sci-fi movies. They assumed it would be a wholesale replacement of all other forms of telecommunication rather than way that it ended up as just part of the mix
And nuclear powered watches...
 

steveintoronto

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I wonder if Metrolinx owned and ran the TTC, then they’ll remove paid parking, build parking structures, and make it free?
Even ML is looking at charging for all parking, not just the reserved spots. It has to end, and there is a 'new view' at the top, albeit how much resistance he meets to change remains to be seen.
 

aquateam

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First we need to shut down the OMB. Then, if developers don't like the municipal's plan, they won't mess it up.

I'd say the exact opposite, the OMB should become the de-facto planning body for the province. We need more density, especially near transit stations, which municipalities fight tooth and nail. There's no consequence for municipalities not making their targets.

Any municipality that fails to meet a certain target (say 80% of development in built-up areas, within 1 km of a rapid transit line) would automatically have all development permits handled by the OMB. That would be a good incentive for them 1) to stop rubber stamping greenfield development and 2) to build more rapid transit, and to not reject 100% provincially funded lines (à la Brampton, or almost Hamilton), so that they allow more development.

Perhaps I am of the wrong generation, and have admittedly been fairly wrong on the advancement of technology in the past, but I just can't envision ubiquitous fully autonomous vehicles roaming random routes, in our climate, in even the mid-distance future. I have read, but cannot cite, reports from experts in the field - not proponents - that they are decades away. It would seem financial folly to design current transit infrastructure with them in mind. Some thoughts on some of the ideas raised:
-if AVs were privately owned, then it seems that the doubling of trips between home and transit hubs would seem to ring true.
-if they were 'on call', then who would own them? Tesla, Uber, GM, etc. don't own fleets. It would seem that something more akin to a taxi service would be more comparable. Under this scenario, there would be a need for large corrals to accommodate on and off peak needs. Would they be owned by commercial entities, with competition, or some public monopoly.
-I don't see the connection between AVs and ride sharing.


This article discusses the impact of driverless cars, basically boiling down to a best-case and worst-case scenarios.

Best case:
  • People mostly stop owning cars, instead using ride-hailing apps to form spontaneous "jitneys." Vehicle occupancy rises, less parking is needed because the fleet size is smaller (currently there are on average 5 parking spaces for every vehicle in the US).
Worst case:
  • People own their own cars, send their cars to drive around frivolously since the cost is marginal to them (e.g. to avoid paying for parking they just circle, they send their car to pick up take-out food, laundry). People live further away because they don't care about their commute anymore since they can just do whatever they want in their cars.

-the issue of liability would be significant. Liability would not shift significantly to the vehicle, it would have to shift completely. As passengers, we would have no role in the conduct of the vehicle. We don't need insurance coverage to ride a bus or a train. That cost would have to rolled into whatever the cost would be using the service.

This is actually one of the biggest benefits of self-driving cars. Currently, if someone dies in a collision, police do an investigation, point fingers. Newspapers call it an "accident", if it even gets coverage, and there is no kind of change (either in infrastructure, laws, etc.) to prevent it from happening again. It takes about a dozen deaths per intersection before the city even starts considering doing any kind of engineering changes to the road.

As soon as people in self-driving cars get into collisions, there will be NTSB investigations, reams of data from the car, and a full-fledged investigation and round-the-clock news coverage. The approach will be more like train or plane crashes. Collisions will actually result in lessons learned, and changes that move forward into new software updates! There will be a systemic investigation of root causes! Preventative measures will actually be taken! And you will have the full financial weight of large automotive companies trying to mitigate these risks, since the manufacturer would be at fault, you can't point fingers at the driver.

-the concept of banning, by law, manually-driven vehicles, would be an interesting moot court debate of constitutional law for a law school. Many things in life are regulated but comparatively few are prohibited, and they have an established public health and safety rationale (at least according to the courts). The argument might be advanced that it within the power of the province to regulate traffic but I'm not convinced it would be successful. And I'm unsure if the concept would be to prohibit manually-driven vehicles regionally, provincially or nationally. Under my understanding of the Constitution, I'm not sure how the state could prohibit something solely on the basis of social efficiency or convenience. If those were the criteria, the same state could tell us where to live and perhaps where to work. I recall that was tried someplace else with less than stellar success. And, of course, such a concept could not even be considered until all manually-driven vehicles are naturally out of service, unless it is proposed that the state get into seizure.

There are 37 000 traffic deaths in the US last year. That's like twelve 9/11s worth of carnage, every year. It's actually the number one cause of death of anyone in the age from 16 to 25, and the top 10 cause of death in the United States. That's a pretty solid public health rationale to (eventually) ban manual driving.

We are in the hype cycle for AV technology. Give it a few years and the buzz will fade. The future of AV roaming the streets without drivers is a myth. It wont happen in our life-times. Remember when they said hovercrafts would be a thing? AV has it's place and the technology will greatly advance over the next few decades and for targeted fleets like trucks and buses it maybe significant savings in labour arbitrage for companies and public monopolies. However, I doubt people will stop owning their own cars or governments be allowed to ban manual driving cars.

Yep, it's the hype cycle

800px-Hype-Cycle-General.png


Personally, I think that self-driving cars are at the confluence of so many technological trends (AI, big data, machine learning) and have such a big payoff (driving is the #1 job for men) that it is inevitable that it will mature very rapidly. But for sure, there is a lot of hype involved.
 

Disparishun

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The problem is that GO transit was designed specifically for inter-regional transit, not intercity transit. The purpose of go is to shuttle commuters from the 905 to downtown Toronto. The purpose of the subways is to shuttle high volumes of people within the 416 around the 416. This is mainly during peak hours. Maybe make travel within the 416 extremely cheap off-peak until frequencies are heavily increased and express tracks are created. Otherwise, it makes no sense to cater it to the 416 because so many people from the 905 would stop using transit, and their commutes are worth about 5* as much as city commuters (Greater distance = more money & fewer cars over a longer distance).

I agree with the first sentence of the above. But I think the rest is far too wrapped up in drawing an invisible line between the 416 and 905. GO trains are at good at long-haul trips. Subways are good at medium-haul trips. And so on. Making the longest-haul mode free is a bit tongue-in-cheek. But make them exactly the same fare as other modes of transit, and people will select those that make sense for them, including cannibalizing modes better suited for longer or shorter hauls when it's a less crowded or more pleasant rider. I'd argue there's nothing wrong with that, and irrespective of whether a trip is medium-haul from Woodbridge to Weston, long-haul from Malvern to Parkdale, or ... wherever.

We'd lose a whole bunch of money on fares. But we'd gain a whole bunch of ridership, win modal share, and -- by charging for parking at GO trains -- give people a reason to commute together, use buses where they make sense, or even give UberPool and its ilk a kick in the pants.

It would be interesting to price a 'taxi pass' - monthly fee for unlimited taxi or uber use in a very limited geographic area, a slick app for hailing and dispatch, a caveat that there may be other customers in your shuttle as well. The price might be competitive with auto ownership, the idea being that a 2 car family could downsize to one car - few in the burbs can survive with no car altogether. Traditionally taxi fares have lump sum plus distance. I wonder if that could change in a market where distance is assumed to be constrained and business is constant.... such as shuttling people to the GO.

Oh, and the whole fare thing could be loaded onto Presto.

Basically what Innisfil is doing with UberPool. I mean, set aside Uber-the-company, but this model is the future of suburban and least-dense public transit imho. The secret sauce is in how many minibuses and drivers you put on the road (since the public-service union model surely remains) to ensure service standards are met, and then whether you allow for a citizen-driver "overflow" portion to make peak-period planning easier.

If the TTC, YRT, Mississauga Transit, et al. aren't already looking closely at which routes would be better replaced by a public transit implementation of UberPool, I really do think they're doing it wrong. Maybe this is where a clever consultancy goes and sells a bunch of munis on commissioning a computational-jitney-planning model...

As to AV, I think that's just an extension of that computational jitney model. Like, the replacement economist are driven by cost of operation versus number of folks picked up. The AVs are more expensive, but save driver costs, so the same model applies, but probably -- sometime in the future -- drives costs down even further. Start with UberPool, end up further down that continuum as cost of deployment improves.
 

rbt

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We are in the hype cycle for AV technology. Give it a few years and the buzz will fade.

That's certainly true.

The future of AV roaming the streets without drivers is a myth. It wont happen in our life-times.

Unless you happen to live in Phoenix of course, where driverless Waymo taxi been a daily event for the last 3 months with very little fan-fare. Of course, in typical Google fashion it's an invite only program (with no fees charged) at this time but they're expecting to implement a public commercial service soon (Spring to Summer 2018 IIRC).

There are 2 big challenges to a wider rollout than Phoenix; excessively detailed maps which largely don't exist and non-perfect weather. Due to the weather, they're mapping Arizona, Nevada, and Southern California first.
 
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micheal_can

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I'd say the exact opposite, the OMB should become the de-facto planning body for the province. We need more density, especially near transit stations, which municipalities fight tooth and nail. There's no consequence for municipalities not making their targets.

Any municipality that fails to meet a certain target (say 80% of development in built-up areas, within 1 km of a rapid transit line) would automatically have all development permits handled by the OMB. That would be a good incentive for them 1) to stop rubber stamping greenfield development and 2) to build more rapid transit, and to not reject 100% provincially funded lines (à la Brampton, or almost Hamilton), so that they allow more development.

(Snipped for ease of reading...)

In smaller locales, trying to make anything dense seems to always be met with some residents going to the OMB to get it overturned, and it always does. So, for smaller municipalities, the OMB is holding them back.
 

aquateam

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In smaller locales, trying to make anything dense seems to always be met with some residents going to the OMB to get it overturned, and it always does. So, for smaller municipalities, the OMB is holding them back.

Can you give an example? I find it strange that residents would be appealing to the OMB when the zoning bylaw amendment would be the easiest time for NIMBY's to intervene.
 

crs1026

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Can you give an example? I find it strange that residents would be appealing to the OMB when the zoning bylaw amendment would be the easiest time for NIMBY's to intervene.

That statement also flies in the face of the data presented by the government to justify the changes to the OMB, which showed that the majority of OMB decisions favoured developers and unfavoured residents and municipalities.

- Paul
 

micheal_can

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Can you give an example? I find it strange that residents would be appealing to the OMB when the zoning bylaw amendment would be the easiest time for NIMBY's to intervene.

Here in Sudbury, there is several land developments that have been overturned by the local residents due to "added traffic on the roads".
 

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