15 September 2016

Development plans, trams and autonomous mobiles

| Kim Huynh
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Autonomous vehicles

Tom Chen and Kim Huynh revisit the best case for light rail and argue that autonomous cars are better

Last week, we wrote an article arguing that light rail is no good for Canberra. Much of the constructive criticism that we received revolved around two points: firstly, that we did not sufficiently take into account the benefits of the projected high density development relating to the tram; and secondly, that we did not provide a detailed alternative.

This article responds to both criticisms.

Light rail is not the only or necessarily best way to improve land value. Indeed, proximity to rail stations has a variable and often meagre impact on property prices. Here’s some of the related studies on the matter.

  • This 2015 article finds that an increased number of bus transit stops also correlated with higher property prices.
  • This study of Brisbane’s transport system found that proximity to both light rail and bus rapid transit had uplift benefits, but only if there were frequent services.
  • This 2007 study and this 2013 analysis of 23 research projects found that the uplift impact of additional light rail services is low if an area is already well serviced by bikes, buses or cars.
  • The most comprehensive 2016 analysis of 140 studies from 60 examples stretching across 40 years in the US concludes that proximity to rapid transit had very mixed outcomes in terms of both increases in land value and the quality of development.

That is why we should be worried that 60% of the government’s reported benefits of light rail are from wider economic and land use benefits, especially when the benefits are marginal compared to the costs.

We should also be wary that the government is not double counting benefits when it comes to value uplift. Incorporating such benefits when assessing proposed infrastructure is widely regarded as poor analytical practice.

But let’s suppose that house prices go up because of light rail. Who would gain? Experience from other projects gives us reason to believe that the land sales, rezoning laws, and government expenditure on urban renewal associated with light rail will provide lifestyle benefits to a small minority of Canberrans along with a windfall for property developers. All of this will be largely paid for by taxpayers across Canberra.

It would be better for us to invest in driverless vehicles (see infographic below) which offer all Canberrans an effective, exciting and environmentally sound way to get from A to B. The technology is ready. And they could be operating in a similar time-frame to the tram network at a fraction of the cost because the infrastructure is largely in place.

Driverless vehicles would give Canberrans what we want now while also future-proofing us into the twenty-first century.

Figures from the ABS indicate that 88% of people in ACT used private motor vehicles for commuting in 2012. Unpacking the motivations of these people, 7.5% had no access to public transportation at all, 10.7% had to carry equipment or passengers, 19.7% needed a vehicle to before/during/after hours, 22.0% said that services were not available at the right time, 30.5% found public transport too slow and 45.9% preferred the convenience of driving.

But acknowledging that Canberrans use, need and like cars does not mean that we cannot be green or forward-looking when it comes to transportation.

We envision embracing electric driverless vehicles capable of ferrying passengers around without human input. The benefits of driverless vehicles are many: they significantly reduce vehicle accidents by removing human error; they save you from having to drive so that you can rest, read, eat or type; they reduce requirements for parking and driveways; they can transport the disabled and elderly; they improve air quality; you don’t need to pay for a driver; and they take you directly to where you want to go.

Most importantly, driverless vehicles can be networked together into a self-driving taxi fleet that provides the transportation capabilities of private cars without ever having to buy a vehicle or drive yourself.

Some readers might find the prospect of driverless vehicles frightening. But that’s what people thought about elevators and automobiles when they emerged.

This is not science fiction. By the end of 2016, Uber will have 100 self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh ferrying passengers around. nuTonomy started offering driverless taxis in Singapore as of August. Google’s fleet of self-driving cars have already clocked up 2.4 million kilometres. These are driverless cars that are engaged in real life driving through real traffic. There are 33 major companies committed to rolling out driverless vehicles, many of which have committed to being on the road by 2020.

Shane Rattenbury is thus wrong to assert that driverless cars are at least 15 years away. The “thorny issues with the technology” are being solved, it’s now up to politicians and planners to fashion the appropriate laws and regulations.

A more detailed feasibility of driverless vehicles should be conducted by the government given both its promise and the progress of other cities. We should aim to have a trial of driverless vehicles in Canberra within the next five years. If that works out, we could have a working fleet by 2025.

The value of a fleet of electric self-driving vehicles beats just about any other transport alternative. The $963 million cost of light rail could purchase a fleet of more than 19,260 driverless vehicles at $50,000 each which modelling suggests could provide Canberra with 600,000+ journeys each workday with no passenger having to wait for more than five minutes to get a ride. The cost of recharging an electric vehicle is about 70% cheaper than running a conventional car. We estimate that the electricity cost of providing the entirety of the ACTs passenger travel 2014 though electric vehicles would be less than the annual cost of running ACTION.

There are no doubt people who believe in light rail not so much because of the numbers or evidence, but because they have a vision of a more sustainable and sophisticated Canberra. Autonomous cars are a better way of achieving that vision.

What do you make of the government’s push to increase population density in Canberra generally and along the Northbourne Avenue corridor in particular? Under what if any circumstances would you ride in a driverless car?

Tom Chen works as a research officer at the Australian National University and believes that people are capable of making the right choices when presented with the right information. Kim Huynh is a RiotACT columnist and is also running as an independent for Ginninderra in the ACT election. Check out more on Facebook at gokimbo or GoKimbo.com.au

 

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Coconutties said :

Bonkers said :

As a disclaimer, I havn’t read all the posts, so may be repeating items already covered. But I did live in Syndey for a time, and from a work perspective used to love the fact that once on PT, I could fire up the laptop and get stuff done during the journey.

You could get the same benefit by catching a taxi which would support someones job. Plus wouldn’t work cover the expenses anyway?

Why dont we put money into getting more taxis on the road because that would create more jobs…

It would appear that you don’t appreciate the cost difference between PT and a taxi. Tell you what: I’ll catch a taxi, pay the equivalent PT amount, and you pay the remainder. If you’re happy with this arrangement, please let me know (I’m sure you’ll have others taking you up on it).

Mordd / Chris Richards7:27 pm 22 Sep 16

KentFitch said :

Mordd / Chris Richards said :

Oh wow, you really are stepping it up now with this 2nd piece, I am so glad I haven’t started writing my reply op-ed to your first piece, so now I can reply to both that in this in a single piece of my own.

I have not read all 4 pages of comments yet, I skimmed page 1, and I normally wouldn’t post a reply before reading all comments first, but on this occasion I wanted to quickly add a couple of things before I go to bed and then read all the comments in the morning and reply again if I need to.

1. Bus stops and bus services can easily be taken out or changed/cancelled with little cost at all to do so, light rail tracks laid as dedicated lanes though cannot be so easily re-purposed or removed without much higher expense involved. This gives land owners much greater long term confidence in the transport options when purchasing in the nearby area than any bus service ever can or will, thus resulting in much higher land capture value as a result. I will lay it out in proper detail in the piece I am going to write.

This argument holds no water: the same bus routes I used in 1974 are still in use. The bus still passes the famous old bus-stop-with-the-toilet in Ainslie, as it has done since Menzies was PM. Why would the “they” remove the bus if people still wanted to catch it?

The only bus route I’ve used that has been removed is the short-lived service to the privatised airport because the airport didnt want it. The appeal for “land capture value” sounds like something that infamous negative gearing property speculator Shane Rattenbury would raise, rather than a Greens supporter of housing equity, or is the link between “land value capture” and “more expensive housing” too subtle?

Mordd / Chris Richards said :

2. As a techie, I have been following autonomous car development obsessively since I was 16, that is 18 years now. I consider myself very well versed in the state of the technology and in the overall growth trajectory rate we need to get to for mass safe adoption with fully autonomous control and the overall growth trajectory rate of similar revolutionary technologies in general. On that basis, and putting aside that I am a Greens member, Shane is right and you are wrong. Simple as that. 15 years is still a “good-case” estimate (not best-case, just good). It could be more like 20-25 years in the upper end of the possibility scale if looked at objectively. Again I will lay this out in excruciating detail for this point in my op-ed, because I might no be able to convince you that LR is right for Canberra, right now, but I am much more confident that I can prove to you that you are wrong on the timeline for autonomous car use as would be required to be a realistic alternative in the near future.

So, you’re asserting you understand the industry and the technology better than the CEOs of auto-makers Ford, GM, Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Nissan, Audi, BMW, Fiat/Chrysler, Volvo
[ https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2016/08/16/ford-targets-fully-autonomous-vehicle-for-ride-sharing-in-2021.html
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-gm-ride-sharing-idUSKCN0YN5NF
http://fortune.com/2015/12/21/elon-musk-interview/
http://www.nissan.com.au/Discover/News/2013/August/29/NISSAN-ANNOUNCES-UNPRECEDENTED-AUTONOMOUS-DRIVE-BENCHMARKS
https://www.press.bmwgroup.com/global/article/detail/T0261586EN/bmw-group-intel-and-mobileye-team-up-to-bring-fully-autonomous-driving-to-streets-by-2021
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/07/business/fiat-chrysler-chief-sees-self-driving-technology-in-five-years.html?_r=0%5D
Google, Baidu, engineering consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff [ http://www.wsp-pb.com/Globaln/UK/WSPPB-Farrells-AV-whitepaper.pdf ], Mobileeye [ http://www.wsj.com/articles/mobileye-to-provide-car-companies-with-autonomous-systems-1463077526 ] think-tanks, industry consultants and academics [ https://www.enotrans.org/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/downloadables/AV-paper.pdf http://press.ihs.com/press-release/automotive/self-driving-cars-moving-industrys-drivers-seat http://www.conferenceboard.ca/press/newsrelease/15-01-21/shifting_gears%E2%80%94preparing_for_automated_vehicles.aspx http://sustainablemobility.ei.columbia.edu/files/2012/12/Transforming-Personal-Mobility-Jan-27-20132.pdf http://www.caee.utexas.edu/prof/kockelman/public_html/TRB15SAVsinAustin.pdf http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/07/06/autonomous-taxis-would-deliver-significant-environmental-and-economic-benefits/ http://www.kpmg.com/US/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Documents/self-driving-cars-next-revolution.pdf
http://www.accenture.com/au-en/Pages/insight-realising-benefits-autonomous-vehicles-australia-overview.aspx ], Uber and Lyft [ https://medium.com/@johnzimmer/the-third-transportation-revolution-27860f05fa91#.yk67nijmo%5D the governments of Singapore, UK, USA [ http://www.enterpriseinnovation.net/article/singapores-transport-vision-analytics-new-interfaces-autonomous-vehicles-1298824564
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-to-lead-the-way-in-testing-driverless-cars
http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/Op-Ed/2016/09/19/Barack-Obama-Self-driving-yes-but-also-safe/stories/201609200027 ]

Big claims require compelling evidence, otherwise you’re just going to sound like one of those climate-change deniers. Sure, some of these parties are self-interested, but that’s the same argument climate-deniers use for criticising climate scientists and attacking those who point to their arguments as “appealing to authority”.

A mistake people with some broad knowledge of the technology often make is to assume it has to be perfect and able to cope with all driving conditions in all places, but not even most humans can do that: show me hail, and I pull over; show me a road in Jakarta and I’ll walk. I don’t know whether autonomous tech to drive anywhere under any conditions will be commercial available in 5 or even 10 years, but unless a large and diverse group of high-profile people with hitherto impressive track records across industry and academia are acting in concert to make stuff up, unless the results to date have been fabricated, unless all the well-developed roadmaps for the next 5 years are unrealistic, then shared fleets of autonomous electric vehicles offering very cheap door to door, on demand 24×7 mobility will be on our streets in 5 years. They won’t be able to take your pergola timber back from Bunnings, nor drive you to a secret picnic spot near Wee Jasper, but they will take you from one front-door to another in Canberra, and what’s more, there will be no tail-pipe emissions, they’ll do it cheaper than current public or private transport, and by sharing cars in peak periods, they’ll reduce congestion. That’s what the technical evidence and the models derived from it show [ http://canberraautonomouscars.info/model.html ].

Sorry but you are wrong, plain wrong. And quoting marketing materials from car makers is not an accurate way to look at it, try reading some of the tech articles by people without a vested interest and the development of the AI used to drive the cars at the moment. I will lay it all out in the piece I am writing, but you are simply and completely wrong.

Mordd / Chris Richards said :

Oh wow, you really are stepping it up now with this 2nd piece, I am so glad I haven’t started writing my reply op-ed to your first piece, so now I can reply to both that in this in a single piece of my own.

I have not read all 4 pages of comments yet, I skimmed page 1, and I normally wouldn’t post a reply before reading all comments first, but on this occasion I wanted to quickly add a couple of things before I go to bed and then read all the comments in the morning and reply again if I need to.

1. Bus stops and bus services can easily be taken out or changed/cancelled with little cost at all to do so, light rail tracks laid as dedicated lanes though cannot be so easily re-purposed or removed without much higher expense involved. This gives land owners much greater long term confidence in the transport options when purchasing in the nearby area than any bus service ever can or will, thus resulting in much higher land capture value as a result. I will lay it out in proper detail in the piece I am going to write.

This argument holds no water: the same bus routes I used in 1974 are still in use. The bus still passes the famous old bus-stop-with-the-toilet in Ainslie, as it has done since Menzies was PM. Why would the “they” remove the bus if people still wanted to catch it? The only bus route I’ve used that has been removed is the short-lived service to the privatised airport because the airport didnt want it. The appeal for “land capture value” sounds like something that infamous negative gearing property speculator Shane Rattenbury would raise, rather than a Greens supporter of housing equity, or is the link between “land value capture” and “more expensive housing” too subtle?

Mordd / Chris Richards said :

2. As a techie, I have been following autonomous car development obsessively since I was 16, that is 18 years now. I consider myself very well versed in the state of the technology and in the overall growth trajectory rate we need to get to for mass safe adoption with fully autonomous control and the overall growth trajectory rate of similar revolutionary technologies in general. On that basis, and putting aside that I am a Greens member, Shane is right and you are wrong. Simple as that. 15 years is still a “good-case” estimate (not best-case, just good). It could be more like 20-25 years in the upper end of the possibility scale if looked at objectively. Again I will lay this out in excruciating detail for this point in my op-ed, because I might no be able to convince you that LR is right for Canberra, right now, but I am much more confident that I can prove to you that you are wrong on the timeline for autonomous car use as would be required to be a realistic alternative in the near future.

So, you’re asserting you understand the industry and the technology better than the CEOs of auto-makers Ford, GM, Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Nissan, Audi, BMW, Fiat/Chrysler, Volvo
[ https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2016/08/16/ford-targets-fully-autonomous-vehicle-for-ride-sharing-in-2021.html
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-gm-ride-sharing-idUSKCN0YN5NF
http://fortune.com/2015/12/21/elon-musk-interview/
http://www.nissan.com.au/Discover/News/2013/August/29/NISSAN-ANNOUNCES-UNPRECEDENTED-AUTONOMOUS-DRIVE-BENCHMARKS
https://www.press.bmwgroup.com/global/article/detail/T0261586EN/bmw-group-intel-and-mobileye-team-up-to-bring-fully-autonomous-driving-to-streets-by-2021
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/07/business/fiat-chrysler-chief-sees-self-driving-technology-in-five-years.html?_r=0%5D
Google, Baidu, engineering consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff [ http://www.wsp-pb.com/Globaln/UK/WSPPB-Farrells-AV-whitepaper.pdf ], Mobileeye [ http://www.wsj.com/articles/mobileye-to-provide-car-companies-with-autonomous-systems-1463077526 ] think-tanks, industry consultants and academics [ https://www.enotrans.org/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/downloadables/AV-paper.pdf http://press.ihs.com/press-release/automotive/self-driving-cars-moving-industrys-drivers-seat http://www.conferenceboard.ca/press/newsrelease/15-01-21/shifting_gears%E2%80%94preparing_for_automated_vehicles.aspx http://sustainablemobility.ei.columbia.edu/files/2012/12/Transforming-Personal-Mobility-Jan-27-20132.pdf http://www.caee.utexas.edu/prof/kockelman/public_html/TRB15SAVsinAustin.pdf http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/07/06/autonomous-taxis-would-deliver-significant-environmental-and-economic-benefits/ http://www.kpmg.com/US/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Documents/self-driving-cars-next-revolution.pdf
http://www.accenture.com/au-en/Pages/insight-realising-benefits-autonomous-vehicles-australia-overview.aspx ], Uber and Lyft [ https://medium.com/@johnzimmer/the-third-transportation-revolution-27860f05fa91#.yk67nijmo%5D the governments of Singapore, UK, USA [ http://www.enterpriseinnovation.net/article/singapores-transport-vision-analytics-new-interfaces-autonomous-vehicles-1298824564
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-to-lead-the-way-in-testing-driverless-cars
http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/Op-Ed/2016/09/19/Barack-Obama-Self-driving-yes-but-also-safe/stories/201609200027 ]

Big claims require compelling evidence, otherwise you’re just going to sound like one of those climate-change deniers. Sure, some of these parties are self-interested, but that’s the same argument climate-deniers use for criticising climate scientists and attacking those who point to their arguments as “appealing to authority”.

A mistake people with some broad knowledge of the technology often make is to assume it has to be perfect and able to cope with all driving conditions in all places, but not even most humans can do that: show me hail, and I pull over; show me a road in Jakarta and I’ll walk. I don’t know whether autonomous tech to drive anywhere under any conditions will be commercial available in 5 or even 10 years, but unless a large and diverse group of high-profile people with hitherto impressive track records across industry and academia are acting in concert to make stuff up, unless the results to date have been fabricated, unless all the well-developed roadmaps for the next 5 years are unrealistic, then shared fleets of autonomous electric vehicles offering very cheap door to door, on demand 24×7 mobility will be on our streets in 5 years. They won’t be able to take your pergola timber back from Bunnings, nor drive you to a secret picnic spot near Wee Jasper, but they will take you from one front-door to another in Canberra, and what’s more, there will be no tail-pipe emissions, they’ll do it cheaper than current public or private transport, and by sharing cars in peak periods, they’ll reduce congestion. That’s what the technical evidence and the models derived from it show [ http://canberraautonomouscars.info/model.html ].

Mordd / Chris Richards4:17 am 22 Sep 16

Oh wow, you really are stepping it up now with this 2nd piece, I am so glad I haven’t started writing my reply op-ed to your first piece, so now I can reply to both that in this in a single piece of my own.

I have not read all 4 pages of comments yet, I skimmed page 1, and I normally wouldn’t post a reply before reading all comments first, but on this occasion I wanted to quickly add a couple of things before I go to bed and then read all the comments in the morning and reply again if I need to.

1. Bus stops and bus services can easily be taken out or changed/cancelled with little cost at all to do so, light rail tracks laid as dedicated lanes though cannot be so easily re-purposed or removed without much higher expense involved. This gives land owners much greater long term confidence in the transport options when purchasing in the nearby area than any bus service ever can or will, thus resulting in much higher land capture value as a result. I will lay it out in proper detail in the piece I am going to write.

2. As a techie, I have been following autonomous car development obsessively since I was 16, that is 18 years now. I consider myself very well versed in the state of the technology and in the overall growth trajectory rate we need to get to for mass safe adoption with fully autonomous control and the overall growth trajectory rate of similar revolutionary technologies in general. On that basis, and putting aside that I am a Greens member, Shane is right and you are wrong. Simple as that. 15 years is still a “good-case” estimate (not best-case, just good). It could be more like 20-25 years in the upper end of the possibility scale if looked at objectively. Again I will lay this out in excruciating detail for this point in my op-ed, because I might no be able to convince you that LR is right for Canberra, right now, but I am much more confident that I can prove to you that you are wrong on the timeline for autonomous car use as would be required to be a realistic alternative in the near future.

Might take me a bit longer to put the piece together now, I am already thinking of dozens of individual pieces I have read I am going to have to check now for quotes and sources on the autonomous car part alone, let alone the rest of it, this has just become a much higher priority for me to write though now that you have sparked my techie passion in this, I will get on this right away!

HiddenDragon said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Bonkers said :

dungfungus said :

How can you possibly make a conclusion that AVs are going to suit your travel needs as they are they are not available yet and no one has any idea how much they will cost.

Twelve months ago, promoters of ride sharing were saying their concept would solve all these perceived needs but little has changed.

Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.

Your own words – “Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.”

So the introduction of light rail won’t suit 90% of the Canberra population. Well said.

While AVs aren’t yet available, how can you possibly argue that they won’t suit my travel needs? It will take me from point a (my house) to point b (childcare) and even point (c) work. For the a to b leg, I can interact with my children instead of having to concentrate on the road. For the b to c leg, I can go into work mode and get things done. Ticks all the boxes. Early adopters may be facing an expensive price tag, but just like in-built GPS it will become affordable very quickly as the competing manufacturers try to one-up the others.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with the existing car. To “embrace” light rail isn’t a practical option for 90% of the community (source: you).

The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.

I am interested to know how you interact with children when they are totally absorbed with their devices.

Yes like an ex neighbour of mine. Finding out where she worked, I commented that must be so handy with a bus that could get her there in about fifteen minutes and a short walk to the bus either end. She looked horrified I could suggest such a thing and said in a snooty voice, “I don’t catch buses.” (An actor couldn’t have made her reply more ‘comical’.) Maybe she looked down on buses, but her comment lowered my opinion of her. She would rather have driven in peak hour traffic, searched for a parking spot and then paid parking fees.

Even if that neighbour is an extreme(ish) example, the anecdote helps to explain one of the reasons why many people are sceptical about trams for Canberra – it’s the thought of what measures will be pursued to “encourage” patronage, justify the capital expenditure, and cover some of the running costs.

No doubt there are many who would say bring it on – the Government should do as much “encouraging” (i.e. discouraging of private car usage) as it takes, but just as you are sceptical about the public transport usage of tram unbelievers, I am sceptical about the public transport usage of many tram supporters. Whether it’s senior officials (of the elected or unelected variety) who have a car and a parking spot as part of their remuneration package, or less senior people who nonetheless have the good fortune to live conveniently close to where they work (including those who have employer-provided facilities which make cycling an option) and shop etc., or people who are now retired or semi-retired after a working life in which a daily car commute was relatively easy and cheap, it is all to easy (and all too common in this town) to practise one thing, and preach another.

In case you included me in some of that, I am now retired, but when I worked I mostly cycled to work, sometimes drove, but even less as parking became harder and had to be paid for (years before this happened to those in the public service) and sometimes caught the bus (wet days) and then walked two kms to work.

Bonkers said :

As a disclaimer, I havn’t read all the posts, so may be repeating items already covered. But I did live in Syndey for a time, and from a work perspective used to love the fact that once on PT, I could fire up the laptop and get stuff done during the journey.

You could get the same benefit by catching a taxi which would support someones job. Plus wouldn’t work cover the expenses anyway?

Why dont we put money into getting more taxis on the road because that would create more jobs…

dungfungus said :

The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.

I am interested to know how you interact with children when they are totally absorbed with their devices.

Okay, so to point 1. I love nothing else than to use public transport, and do so whenever practical. But if half an hour in the car translates to 3+ hours on PT? I don’t think so. The current bus services are infrequent (unless you live on a main corridor) and the timetables don’t mesh particularly well, so you’re either sweating whether your bus will make the interchange in time for you to sprint to get the next one, or waiting around for half an hour for the next service to turn up.

While I’m certain that there are a number of people who don’t use public transport, I’d be fairly confident in saying that it’s not due to want to do so, but just that the service just doesn’t cut it. Given that the tram line is going to be covering a major traffic corridor already supported by existing bus lines, where’s the patronage going to come from?

And if they get it wrong? To change a bus route to say “instead of heading straight down Northbourne, do a quick circular loop through the northern end of Braddon”. Bus driver takes three lefts, and then is back on his/her merry way. Cost? Three parts of nothing. Revenue? Well, you’ve picked up a few more passengers, so will be getting fares to help cover the cost. Additional time? Maybe a few minutes, tops.

Good luck doing the same with the tram.

Point 2. This is probably more reflective of you than it is of me. I don’t know if you have children, but if you do I feel sorry for them as it’s clear you’re using devices as a babysitter. I enjoy spending time with my children, and interacting with them, I don’t park them in front of a device.

HiddenDragon6:38 pm 20 Sep 16

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Bonkers said :

dungfungus said :

How can you possibly make a conclusion that AVs are going to suit your travel needs as they are they are not available yet and no one has any idea how much they will cost.

Twelve months ago, promoters of ride sharing were saying their concept would solve all these perceived needs but little has changed.

Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.

Your own words – “Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.”

So the introduction of light rail won’t suit 90% of the Canberra population. Well said.

While AVs aren’t yet available, how can you possibly argue that they won’t suit my travel needs? It will take me from point a (my house) to point b (childcare) and even point (c) work. For the a to b leg, I can interact with my children instead of having to concentrate on the road. For the b to c leg, I can go into work mode and get things done. Ticks all the boxes. Early adopters may be facing an expensive price tag, but just like in-built GPS it will become affordable very quickly as the competing manufacturers try to one-up the others.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with the existing car. To “embrace” light rail isn’t a practical option for 90% of the community (source: you).

The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.

I am interested to know how you interact with children when they are totally absorbed with their devices.

Yes like an ex neighbour of mine. Finding out where she worked, I commented that must be so handy with a bus that could get her there in about fifteen minutes and a short walk to the bus either end. She looked horrified I could suggest such a thing and said in a snooty voice, “I don’t catch buses.” (An actor couldn’t have made her reply more ‘comical’.) Maybe she looked down on buses, but her comment lowered my opinion of her. She would rather have driven in peak hour traffic, searched for a parking spot and then paid parking fees.

Even if that neighbour is an extreme(ish) example, the anecdote helps to explain one of the reasons why many people are sceptical about trams for Canberra – it’s the thought of what measures will be pursued to “encourage” patronage, justify the capital expenditure, and cover some of the running costs.

No doubt there are many who would say bring it on – the Government should do as much “encouraging” (i.e. discouraging of private car usage) as it takes, but just as you are sceptical about the public transport usage of tram unbelievers, I am sceptical about the public transport usage of many tram supporters. Whether it’s senior officials (of the elected or unelected variety) who have a car and a parking spot as part of their remuneration package, or less senior people who nonetheless have the good fortune to live conveniently close to where they work (including those who have employer-provided facilities which make cycling an option) and shop etc., or people who are now retired or semi-retired after a working life in which a daily car commute was relatively easy and cheap, it is all to easy (and all too common in this town) to practise one thing, and preach another.

Maya123 said :

devils_advocate said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus wrote, “The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.”
And I suspect the can the tram are mainly made up of these, and what I find ‘funny’ is that some are now spruiking buses, when most likely never catch them, and if it weren’t for the tram, would be critical of money spent on buses too.

It’s not relevant whether ‘can the tram’ supports are, or are not, current users of public transport, because ALL Canberrans will be required to pay for the tram, whether they use it or not; and many will be adversely affected by it (e.g. those who have to drive down Northbourne Ave, ever).

You didn’t deny what I wrote is correct. In fact from your wording, it appears you possibly agree they are mostly not users of public transport. Re you comment; as are “ALL Canberrans” (your emphasis) so are education, whether individuals have children in school or not, health, regardless of their present needs, sports grounds, regardless of their sporting needs, etc.
The tram is putting in place something for now, but particularity the future, while it is still easy to put it in. I don’t live where this stage of the tram will go, but so! It can’t be spontaneously built all over Canberra so everyone can benefit from the first stage. It has to start somewhere.

I am not spruiking busses that we do not need nor do we need a tram so “it” doesn’t have to even start let alone start somewhere.

devils_advocate said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus wrote, “The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.”
And I suspect the can the tram are mainly made up of these, and what I find ‘funny’ is that some are now spruiking buses, when most likely never catch them, and if it weren’t for the tram, would be critical of money spent on buses too.

It’s not relevant whether ‘can the tram’ supports are, or are not, current users of public transport, because ALL Canberrans will be required to pay for the tram, whether they use it or not; and many will be adversely affected by it (e.g. those who have to drive down Northbourne Ave, ever).

You didn’t deny what I wrote is correct. In fact from your wording, it appears you possibly agree they are mostly not users of public transport. Re you comment; as are “ALL Canberrans” (your emphasis) so are education, whether individuals have children in school or not, health, regardless of their present needs, sports grounds, regardless of their sporting needs, etc.
The tram is putting in place something for now, but particularity the future, while it is still easy to put it in. I don’t live where this stage of the tram will go, but so! It can’t be spontaneously built all over Canberra so everyone can benefit from the first stage. It has to start somewhere.

devils_advocate11:05 am 20 Sep 16

Maya123 said :

dungfungus wrote, “The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.”
And I suspect the can the tram are mainly made up of these, and what I find ‘funny’ is that some are now spruiking buses, when most likely never catch them, and if it weren’t for the tram, would be critical of money spent on buses too.

It’s not relevant whether ‘can the tram’ supports are, or are not, current users of public transport, because ALL Canberrans will be required to pay for the tram, whether they use it or not; and many will be adversely affected by it (e.g. those who have to drive down Northbourne Ave, ever).

dungfungus wrote, “The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.”
And I suspect the can the tram are mainly made up of these, and what I find ‘funny’ is that some are now spruiking buses, when most likely never catch them, and if it weren’t for the tram, would be critical of money spent on buses too.

dungfungus said :

Bonkers said :

dungfungus said :

How can you possibly make a conclusion that AVs are going to suit your travel needs as they are they are not available yet and no one has any idea how much they will cost.

Twelve months ago, promoters of ride sharing were saying their concept would solve all these perceived needs but little has changed.

Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.

Your own words – “Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.”

So the introduction of light rail won’t suit 90% of the Canberra population. Well said.

While AVs aren’t yet available, how can you possibly argue that they won’t suit my travel needs? It will take me from point a (my house) to point b (childcare) and even point (c) work. For the a to b leg, I can interact with my children instead of having to concentrate on the road. For the b to c leg, I can go into work mode and get things done. Ticks all the boxes. Early adopters may be facing an expensive price tag, but just like in-built GPS it will become affordable very quickly as the competing manufacturers try to one-up the others.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with the existing car. To “embrace” light rail isn’t a practical option for 90% of the community (source: you).

The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.

I am interested to know how you interact with children when they are totally absorbed with their devices.

Yes like an ex neighbour of mine. Finding out where she worked, I commented that must be so handy with a bus that could get her there in about fifteen minutes and a short walk to the bus either end. She looked horrified I could suggest such a thing and said in a snooty voice, “I don’t catch buses.” (An actor couldn’t have made her reply more ‘comical’.) Maybe she looked down on buses, but her comment lowered my opinion of her. She would rather have driven in peak hour traffic, searched for a parking spot and then paid parking fees.

Bonkers said :

dungfungus said :

How can you possibly make a conclusion that AVs are going to suit your travel needs as they are they are not available yet and no one has any idea how much they will cost.

Twelve months ago, promoters of ride sharing were saying their concept would solve all these perceived needs but little has changed.

Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.

Your own words – “Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.”

So the introduction of light rail won’t suit 90% of the Canberra population. Well said.

While AVs aren’t yet available, how can you possibly argue that they won’t suit my travel needs? It will take me from point a (my house) to point b (childcare) and even point (c) work. For the a to b leg, I can interact with my children instead of having to concentrate on the road. For the b to c leg, I can go into work mode and get things done. Ticks all the boxes. Early adopters may be facing an expensive price tag, but just like in-built GPS it will become affordable very quickly as the competing manufacturers try to one-up the others.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with the existing car. To “embrace” light rail isn’t a practical option for 90% of the community (source: you).

The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.

I am interested to know how you interact with children when they are totally absorbed with their devices.

bringontheevidence said :

This indeed is the key question…
[snip]
No-one wants higher rates and transport charges to pay for more roads, but no-one wants their freedom to do anything (legal) curtailed,
[snip]
No parking costs, rego, fuel, insurance, depreciation, fines, repairs, maintenance.
[snip]
Most people, for most trips would be tempted.
[snip]
Rationally, they would be made to pay for the negative externalities they create, in this case, occupation of scarce road space they are taking up in peak periods which causes everyone else’s journey time to be longer given a fixed road capacity. Outside of peak periods – who cares

What bote said. Covers my thoughts but in a much more eloquent and detailed manner.

dungfungus said :

How can you possibly make a conclusion that AVs are going to suit your travel needs as they are they are not available yet and no one has any idea how much they will cost.

Twelve months ago, promoters of ride sharing were saying their concept would solve all these perceived needs but little has changed.

Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.

Your own words – “Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.”

So the introduction of light rail won’t suit 90% of the Canberra population. Well said.

While AVs aren’t yet available, how can you possibly argue that they won’t suit my travel needs? It will take me from point a (my house) to point b (childcare) and even point (c) work. For the a to b leg, I can interact with my children instead of having to concentrate on the road. For the b to c leg, I can go into work mode and get things done. Ticks all the boxes. Early adopters may be facing an expensive price tag, but just like in-built GPS it will become affordable very quickly as the competing manufacturers try to one-up the others.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with the existing car. To “embrace” light rail isn’t a practical option for 90% of the community (source: you).

bringontheevidence said :

AVs will only work without significant congestion problems if the majority of people share…

But my question is, what incentive is there for me to share a vehicle with someone else if I’ll have my own AV already in the garage? One that I can store my stuff in, play my own music, eat if I want, has baby seats for the kids?

This indeed is the key question, Mr/Ms bringontheevidence, not the technology. People use their cars as mobile lounge-rooms, dining-rooms and even bathrooms (I’m sure Im not the only person who has seen a driver simultaneously shaving and texting at traffic lights). And long may this continue, but the cost of doing so has to be recognised. No-one wants higher rates and transport charges to pay for more roads, but no-one wants their freedom to do anything (legal) curtailed, even when it affects others. But as a society, we can use incentives to use shared resources efficiently, and road space is one of those resources.

Just for the sake of this argument, imagine the modelling done for shared fleets of AVs using the best available conservative estimates is right: the government or some commercial outfits will provide you with door-to-door, 24×7 on demand (within 60 seconds) mobility between any two addresses in Canberra for 25 cents per km and 45 cent flag fall in weekday peak periods, 20 cents per km and 20 cent flag fall all other times. In peak periods, you hire a seat (1 seat per person), outside that, you hire the car (4 seats). [ http://canberraautonomouscars.info/model.html#peakFlag ] No parking costs, rego, fuel, insurance, depreciation, fines, repairs, maintenance.

Most people, for most trips would be tempted, just as most people who live in London or Singapore don’t hop into their car to go to the shops or work because it is neither as cheap (because of congestion charge) nor as fast (because of road congestion, parking hassles and good public transport services) as public transport. For some people, saving money is a marginal incentive. Their personal AV will be just as safe, just as non-polluting, and the cost of purchase and operation wont be a deterrent unless those costs are high. Rationally, they would be made to pay for the negative externalities they create, in this case, occupation of scarce road space they are taking up in peak periods which causes everyone else’s journey time to be longer given a fixed road capacity. Outside of peak periods – who cares: the roads have spare capacity (and we assume for this argument that the cars are completely safe, silent and no risk to the environment).

So, you can decide “what’s it worth to me to take my own car to work, so I can sing along to Abba on full volume without getting dirty looks from anyone I’m sharing a car with?” Maybe a congestion cost for a peak hour trip on a busy route is set at $5, and its worth it to you. Maybe you’ll travel outside peak to avoid it. If $5 was “worth it” for everyone, then some people would think the money raised should be used to build a new expressway to (temporarily) ease the resulting congestion, whilst others would think the externalities of that expressway could only be paid for if the cost was raised to $10, which would reduce the demand for one. But at least the cost could be discussed and quantified, and as a society, we could decide.

bringontheevidence said :

AVs will only work without significant congestion problems if the majority of people share…

But my question is, what incentive is there for me to share a vehicle with someone else if I’ll have my own AV already in the garage? One that I can store my stuff in, play my own music, eat if I want, has baby seats for the kids?

What’s the difference between your car and an AV?

Just like the difference between busses and trams in Canberra operating point to point which is none really, but one is cool, the other passe.

bringontheevidence10:45 am 19 Sep 16

AVs will only work without significant congestion problems if the majority of people share…

But my question is, what incentive is there for me to share a vehicle with someone else if I’ll have my own AV already in the garage? One that I can store my stuff in, play my own music, eat if I want, has baby seats for the kids?

dungfungus said :

How can you possibly make a conclusion that AVs are going to suit your travel needs as they are they are not available yet and no one has any idea how much they will cost.

Sounds like a comment about the Tram stages 1 and 2.

Bonkers said :

As a disclaimer, I havn’t read all the posts, so may be repeating items already covered. But I did live in Syndey for a time, and from a work perspective used to love the fact that once on PT, I could fire up the laptop and get stuff done during the journey.

Autonomous vehicles would give me the same benefit. Light rail/trams (whatever you want to call them) doesn’t, as I’m not in the target zone,

I work as a consultant, and as such I need to be at several different sites within a given day. I also have children, so need to be available for school drop off and pickup. The current ACT bus network doesn’t support this. Light rail definitely won’t. Autonomous cars would though.

How can you possibly make a conclusion that AVs are going to suit your travel needs as they are they are not available yet and no one has any idea how much they will cost.

Twelve months ago, promoters of ride sharing were saying their concept would solve all these perceived needs but little has changed.

Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.

wildturkeycanoe said :

Innovation said :

As for someone’s gripe about following slow vehicles in suburbs. Really! What would this delay cost you in time? 1 minute? 2 minutes?

That minute slower to the first set of traffic lights then adds another cycle of those lights to go through, probably another minute at least. Then you get stopped at the next set, and then the next and so on. Meanwhile, the cars that got through the first set of green lights has scored greens all the way across town thanks to synchronisation. That initial half a minute slower to get that first set of green lights has now added another ten minutes by the time you get to your destination. I have done this often when we take two cars to ferry kids to sports and such. I can arrive five to ten minutes earlier because I got through the first set of green lights.
Now you want to introduce a whole fleet of slow vehicles to really make it hard for everyone to get where they want to go. Honestly, what is the point of having different speed limits at all? Why don’t we just go back to the days of horse and carriage and do no more than 40km/h everywhere, regardless of the type of road? At least we’ll have fewer casualties, but people will miss out on so much of their free time, spending it on traveling very slowly everywhere.
What is the point of making dual lane highways, then putting a limit on the speed you can do? They were built to get people and goods to their destination quicker, but then we put a restriction on how quick.

Um, I think you’ve misread my posts. I was suggesting A/V’s only to ferry passengers within suburbs to and from nearby main roads. I can’t think of many suburban roads with traffic lights and I doubt there would be any that are synchronised with other traffic lights.

I would have thought that any improvement on existing public transport and which encouraged road users to pull over at the first opportunity and utilise (eg by catching more cost effective multi occupant A/Vs or, for the main roads, a Direct/Rapid driver operated ACTION bus would reduce congestion. In turn, overall travel times for those people who still need to drive (or prefer to pay more to drive) might be less than they are now.

wildturkeycanoe12:17 pm 18 Sep 16

Innovation said :

As for someone’s gripe about following slow vehicles in suburbs. Really! What would this delay cost you in time? 1 minute? 2 minutes?

That minute slower to the first set of traffic lights then adds another cycle of those lights to go through, probably another minute at least. Then you get stopped at the next set, and then the next and so on. Meanwhile, the cars that got through the first set of green lights has scored greens all the way across town thanks to synchronisation. That initial half a minute slower to get that first set of green lights has now added another ten minutes by the time you get to your destination. I have done this often when we take two cars to ferry kids to sports and such. I can arrive five to ten minutes earlier because I got through the first set of green lights.
Now you want to introduce a whole fleet of slow vehicles to really make it hard for everyone to get where they want to go. Honestly, what is the point of having different speed limits at all? Why don’t we just go back to the days of horse and carriage and do no more than 40km/h everywhere, regardless of the type of road? At least we’ll have fewer casualties, but people will miss out on so much of their free time, spending it on traveling very slowly everywhere.
What is the point of making dual lane highways, then putting a limit on the speed you can do? They were built to get people and goods to their destination quicker, but then we put a restriction on how quick.

I was just watching on TV some of the AVs being trialled in the USA – hilarious.

With all that spinning stuff and satellite arrays on top of the vehicle they would be useless for going to Bunnings to get wood etc. because there is no room for a roof-rack.

I suspect the boot space is full of electronic stuff also (like an oversized battery to power everything). Then there will be the batteries for the hybrid propulsion.

Very un-Australian, I think.

As a disclaimer, I havn’t read all the posts, so may be repeating items already covered. But I did live in Syndey for a time, and from a work perspective used to love the fact that once on PT, I could fire up the laptop and get stuff done during the journey.

Autonomous vehicles would give me the same benefit. Light rail/trams (whatever you want to call them) doesn’t, as I’m not in the target zone,

I work as a consultant, and as such I need to be at several different sites within a given day. I also have children, so need to be available for school drop off and pickup. The current ACT bus network doesn’t support this. Light rail definitely won’t. Autonomous cars would though.

To the naysayers of my earlier post, my suggestions were merely an attempt to find a middle ground where Canberra could start trialling AVs.

Initial slow (eg 20km/h) limits would minimise the risk of accidents and injury – and the degree of damage if an accident occurred.

The cost of small AVs in suburban areas only – ie ferrying passengers to and from main driver operated transit corridors (aka “the last mile” as mentioned by someone else on the his thread) – would be significantly less than the cost of our current oversized driver operated diesel buses, so AV frequency could be increased. Passengers would not have to wait or even plan trips potentially making their overall trip faster.

If A/V and driver operated bus trips became cheaper than multi occupant car trips (or even free), more car drivers and/or car passengers might start pulling over at the first opportunity and switching to buses for part or all of their trip.

As for someone’s gripe about following slow vehicles in suburbs. Really! What would this delay cost you in time? 1 minute? 2 minutes? No doubt you waste more time watching commercials on TV each day or driving around looking for car parks.

Oh and having an app that broadcasts a type of vehicle’s proximity (and could be automatically linked to the ignition or sirens etc) would be very different to a device that broadcasts traffic delays which would require more significant, and geographically widescale electronics coupled with human intervention and operation.

And the legal issues could be resolved easily. AV’s are riddled with cameras. I’m not aware of there ever having been doubt as to who was at fault with an AV. I’m sure the AV designers – keen to get their vehicles on the road – would have accept a contractual agreement with the ACT Government as to who would assume liability if damage or injury was caused by an AV.

And on top of all this, the ACT Government is in the perfect position of having sole jurisdiction to implement any road rule changes, sign contracts, reorganise public transport and manage insurance. As I mentioned before, the cost of allowing a few companies to trial their AVs in select suburbs might even be negligible just so those companies could get a foot in the door.

Even bus drivers and unions should be somewhat happy with this approach. Existing buses and drivers could be repurposed to operate added or more frequent main road/direct bus routes (eg, as per the Liberals’ policy). They would transport many more passengers than the sometimes negligible (or even nil) numbers in suburbs now and they would move passengers much more quickly than they do now. (They wouldn’t even have to put up with impatient drivers tailgating them and complaining about how slow they are 😉 ). Surely that would increase job satisfaction.

K320Scania said :

You can go on about how great Canberra’s road system is, but that’s the problem. Canberra’s reliance on cars and roads is just ridiculous. What angers me most about those who say Canberra has an excellent road system, is that they don’t understand what a huge impact these roads have had on the local environment – it’s sad to hear these people say, “there’s a dead kangaroo on the side of the road,” – it’s become an expectation to see dead wildlife on our roads, as if they’re worthless creatures that we don’t have to care about. Roads devide an area of land making kangaroos get bordered in to a small pocket, and then when they try to cross to go back to their former area, now divided by a road and cross it, they get hit by a motor vehicle, because animals simply can’t judge high speeds.
Canberra may have an “excellent” road system, but it has come at a cost of so much of our environment – killed one hundred year old trees, killed kangaroos, wombats and other amazing animals that you just don’t get to see elsewhere.
Instead of the bush capital as Canberra’s nickname, it should be changed to the bush destruction capital, to reflect what we’ve done to it.
Autonomous cars will demand for more lanes of road, new roads and new road infrastructure, at the cost of our environment, and that basically means more environment abuse, which I find simply unacceptable. If you can’t respect Canberra’s unique environment (bush at your doorstep), then go live in Sydney or Melbourne – cities dominated by cars and congestion, with no trees or greenery and controlled by the motor car and its needs – eyesore eight lane roads, which came at a cost of the environment.

One of the main reasons I am an advocate for autonomous cars is because they will reduce the environmental and economic costs of transport. Autonomous cars allow road infrastructure to be used much more efficiently – we will need fewer road lanes and be able to release land/space used by car-parks and garages for more “productive” uses (parks, pseudo-bush, shops, housing? – it should be a community decision).

I know Parsons Brinckerhoff are a multi-national engineering consultancy and what they say has to be interpreted at least partly self- promotion, but it is worth remembering that until recently, they were seen as part of the heavy-engineering-heavy-transport-infrastructure lobby: big roads and rail lines (Lane Cove tunnel, Ipswich Motorway, …) Now see what they are promoting – their “Making better places” whitepaper is filled with before-and after imagined representations of city and urban and arterial roads showing how autonomous vehicles can return land from roads [ http://www.wsp-pb.com/Globaln/UK/WSPPB-Farrells-AV-whitepaper.pdf ] This document is targeted at UK authorities. They estimate 8,000 hectares of central London land is used for car parking, noting that a single 100 hectare redevelopment on this land is worth about 1.25 billion pounds in “value uplift”. They also note that car parking continues to encroach on residential gardens: “in 2015 five times as many London homes had front gardens with no plants compared with 2005” (I found it surprising that they note 44% of inner London households do not have a car, because that implies 56% of them do have a car!)

The economic and environmental benefits in Canberra of not needing to continually widen roads and to be able to release car-parks to better uses are significant and long-term. What would that multi-story-monstrosity hiding the Belconnen Mall from the lake become? After a few years, would you convert your unneeded garage into a rumpus room, workshop, home theatre or an emergency housing shelter? Would you plant tomatoes on your old driveway?

Here is a link to a report of testing that is happening in Pittsburgh right now.
I think Uber has a long way to go . I can’t see AVs working with anything else but other AV’s.

https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/uber-tests-self-driving-cars-pittsburgh-drivers

I strongly agree with these conclusions about driverless cars being a better solution than light rail. Light rail is a 19th century solution to a 21st century problem.

“Improving land values” is not something the Government should involve itself in other than to remind people that Canberra has a leasehold property system and land was supposed be handed back to the Government after 99 years to prevent land speculation in Canberra.

Why should a baby boomer get to renew a 99 year lease in Forrest for a nominal sum when a young person pays hundreds of thousands of dollars for a lease on a tiny block on the fringes of Canberra? Doesn’t seam fair.

In the 1970’s land for housing sold in Belconnen for as little as $1.

As for the massively over-priced property values in Australia. There has never been debt fueled asset bubble that did not crash. Interest rates are at their lowest levels in 5,000 years. The super low interest rate thing is just an experiment by Reserve Banks that has already produced bubbles and busts in shares, housing and the biggest bubble in history, the bond market. The problem with over priced property WILL self correct.

Mark Ellis is a Liberal Democrats Candidate for the seat of Kurrajong

You can go on about how great Canberra’s road system is, but that’s the problem. Canberra’s reliance on cars and roads is just ridiculous. What angers me most about those who say Canberra has an excellent road system, is that they don’t understand what a huge impact these roads have had on the local environment – it’s sad to hear these people say, “there’s a dead kangaroo on the side of the road,” – it’s become an expectation to see dead wildlife on our roads, as if they’re worthless creatures that we don’t have to care about. Roads devide an area of land making kangaroos get bordered in to a small pocket, and then when they try to cross to go back to their former area, now divided by a road and cross it, they get hit by a motor vehicle, because animals simply can’t judge high speeds.
Canberra may have an “excellent” road system, but it has come at a cost of so much of our environment – killed one hundred year old trees, killed kangaroos, wombats and other amazing animals that you just don’t get to see elsewhere.
Instead of the bush capital as Canberra’s nickname, it should be changed to the bush destruction capital, to reflect what we’ve done to it.
Autonomous cars will demand for more lanes of road, new roads and new road infrastructure, at the cost of our environment, and that basically means more environment abuse, which I find simply unacceptable. If you can’t respect Canberra’s unique environment (bush at your doorstep), then go live in Sydney or Melbourne – cities dominated by cars and congestion, with no trees or greenery and controlled by the motor car and its needs – eyesore eight lane roads, which came at a cost of the environment.

OpenYourMind6:31 pm 16 Sep 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

Innovation said :

Canberra would be an ideal place to trial autonomous buses!

Small, approx ten seater electric vehicles, could be trialled by replacing a handful of current slow and circuitous suburban bus routes to ferry passengers to main transport corridors. I think suburban buses average around 25km/h so the replacement buses, which would be more frequent, could be speed limited to around 20km/h and still provide a better service. (I’m sure that someone could create an app even that alerted people to the proximity of these vehicles – as already should be the case for emergency service vehicles.)

OpenYourMind said :

where the Google car takes a very conservative and safe approach and human drivers don’t anticipate that!

So basically we are advocating putting more ultra slow drivers [in this case instead of silver hair, they have silver outer shells] onto our roads. These vehicles will wander around the suburbs, doing well under the speed limit, stopping frequently and basically making a right nuisance of themselves to all other road users. Instead of me being able to take a 20 minute journey into civic in my own fast car, I will be either a passenger to one of these mini buses that meander around the burbs picking up other souls who have to get ready an extra half an hour early to get to work on time, or I am stuck behind one, cursing at the inability to overtake anywhere because of the double whites along the entire route.
Buses already do this now, putting along doing 25km/h because they are ahead of schedule due to not enough passengers. You can’t overtake them on back streets whilst they are moving due to oncoming traffic or double lines, nor can you go around when they are stopped because there is usually a traffic island right next to it. Have Canberra planners done this deliberately to frustrate motorists?

Nope, you’ve missed the subtlety. The driverless cars aren’t driving particularly slowly, they are simply obeying the speed limits, indicating, stopping at stop signs and generally driving in a cautious and safe manner. This is what is catching other drivers a little off guard! A driverless car could consistently outlap you on a racetrack if you want one to travel as fast as possible. Some of the experimental cars such as the Google bubble car may be slower during developmental phases, but overall, the expectation is that the average speed of driverless vehicles will be quite a bit faster than humans. Reason being that most delays in traffic are human behaviour related. A network of driverless vehicles that communicate with each other and intelligently route around problem areas will perform better than the same number of human drivers.

KentFitch said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

So basically we are advocating putting more ultra slow drivers [in this case instead of silver hair, they have silver outer shells] onto our roads. These vehicles will wander around the suburbs, doing well under the speed limit, stopping frequently and basically making a right nuisance of themselves to all other road users. Instead of me being able to take a 20 minute journey into civic in my own fast car, I will be either a passenger to one of these mini buses that meander around the burbs picking up other souls who have to get ready an extra half an hour early to get to work on time, or I am stuck behind one, cursing at the inability to overtake anywhere because of the double whites along the entire route.
Buses already do this now, putting along doing 25km/h because they are ahead of schedule due to not enough passengers. You can’t overtake them on back streets whilst they are moving due to oncoming traffic or double lines, nor can you go around when they are stopped because there is usually a traffic island right next to it. Have Canberra planners done this deliberately to frustrate motorists? This isn’t made up either, I have many times had my journey to the local shops slowed down to the pace of the local bus, obviously running early as there was indeed no attempt to speed up to anything over 30km/h. They are almost as bad as three cyclists riding abreast.
The “statewide” multi-vehicular approach to infrastructure is not going to improve people’s journeys. Presently you walk to the local stop, get the bus to the nearest interchange, jump onto the next express, to the next interchange, to the next local service and then you walk the last few hundred meters or kilometers to your destination. Just because you are taking a mini bus or autonomous vehicle for the first part of the journey, it won’t eliminate the need for the rest of the network or make it any faster. Booking an autonomous vehicle from your phone [because they won’t be driving around on pre-specified routes like buses], will mean you need to wait for a car that is doing a similar journey to yours. It won’t be parked near your house so you have to wait for it to come from wherever they are stored during the day/night. It has to contend with the same slow buses I just mentioned, plus it is also not going to drive aggressively to get to your home faster. There is many wasted minutes before you even leave. Then the same over-cautious car will drive you to the bus interchange, deviating around some side streets to pick up more fares, making your previously five minute DIY trip now up to three or four times slower.

I cannot see an improvement in travel times, but rather a degradation of our current transport system, clogged up with paranoid AIs that are too scared to do the speed limit.

“I’m sure that someone could create an app even that alerted people to the proximity of these vehicles – as already should be the case for emergency service vehicles.”
There isn’t even an app that warns of road congestion in peak periods now, let alone tracking of our buses. The NXTbus page had no real time vehicular tracking or movement in the 5 minutes I stared at it. The only thing it could tell me was that it’d take me nearly an hour to get to Civic, which I can do in half that driving my own car.
All this talk of new technology and we can’t get one working that was installed how many years ago?

If a shared fleet of AVs did works as you suspect, it will be an abject failure, and the tens of billions being invested in it will be wasted. But those investing are doing to to build an on-demand service better (including faster, by reducing congestion and synchronising traffic) and cheaper than current private cars and public transport. They may be deluded, in which case they will lose those billions, but you must at least acknowledge that they (Ford, GM, Toyota, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Tesla, Google, Baidu, …) think they are onto something!

What if they are right? How do we calculate the odds they are right? I suggest we look at what the academics and researchers are saying, what the think-tanks and engineering consultancies and bankers are writing, and run own own ruler over the results, build models we can configure and run simulations, and make better informed guesses, that’s all.

I don’t have any ulterior motive – Im not an investor or employee of any of these businesses. My motivation is better mobility for me, my family and friends and exploring whether social equity can be promoted by universal and cheap transport.

You may not accept the assumption behind my model, which I have attempted to make explicit: http://canberraautonomouscars.info/model.html

But if you do, run the default simulation http://canberraautonomouscars.info/sim.html and when it finishes, scroll down to the “Traces of 3 random cars” section to see some typical trips. If you scroll down further, you can see “10% sample of traces of visits to Giralang” (just as an example).

“If a shared fleet of AVs did works as you suspect, it will be an abject failure, and the tens of billions being invested in it will be wasted. “

Exactly the sort of project the current ACT Government would love.

It would be like Rhodium Asset Solutions on steroids.

devils_advocate11:01 am 16 Sep 16

KentFitch said :

If a shared fleet of AVs did works as you suspect, it will be an abject failure, and the tens of billions being invested in it will be wasted. But those investing are doing to to build an on-demand service better (including faster, by reducing congestion and synchronising traffic) and cheaper than current private cars and public transport. They may be deluded, in which case they will lose those billions, but you must at least acknowledge that they (Ford, GM, Toyota, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Tesla, Google, Baidu, …) think they are onto something!

Well another key difference there is that these investments, by and large, are by private people making their own private investment decisions with their own private money. That’s very different than committing an entire town to pay for something, regardless of whether they want or can afford it, and even worse something that only a very few of them will see the benefits of.

devils_advocate10:58 am 16 Sep 16

OpenYourMind said :

Almost every car today would be susceptible to an ‘EMP bomb’. Our entire society operates with the vulnerabilities associated with electronics.

Correction: every car built today. Plenty of cars getting around today (including one of mine) that runs off carburettors, throttle cables, hydraulic brakes and clutches, with nary a computer to be seen.

wildturkeycanoe said :

So basically we are advocating putting more ultra slow drivers [in this case instead of silver hair, they have silver outer shells] onto our roads. These vehicles will wander around the suburbs, doing well under the speed limit, stopping frequently and basically making a right nuisance of themselves to all other road users. Instead of me being able to take a 20 minute journey into civic in my own fast car, I will be either a passenger to one of these mini buses that meander around the burbs picking up other souls who have to get ready an extra half an hour early to get to work on time, or I am stuck behind one, cursing at the inability to overtake anywhere because of the double whites along the entire route.
Buses already do this now, putting along doing 25km/h because they are ahead of schedule due to not enough passengers. You can’t overtake them on back streets whilst they are moving due to oncoming traffic or double lines, nor can you go around when they are stopped because there is usually a traffic island right next to it. Have Canberra planners done this deliberately to frustrate motorists? This isn’t made up either, I have many times had my journey to the local shops slowed down to the pace of the local bus, obviously running early as there was indeed no attempt to speed up to anything over 30km/h. They are almost as bad as three cyclists riding abreast.
The “statewide” multi-vehicular approach to infrastructure is not going to improve people’s journeys. Presently you walk to the local stop, get the bus to the nearest interchange, jump onto the next express, to the next interchange, to the next local service and then you walk the last few hundred meters or kilometers to your destination. Just because you are taking a mini bus or autonomous vehicle for the first part of the journey, it won’t eliminate the need for the rest of the network or make it any faster. Booking an autonomous vehicle from your phone [because they won’t be driving around on pre-specified routes like buses], will mean you need to wait for a car that is doing a similar journey to yours. It won’t be parked near your house so you have to wait for it to come from wherever they are stored during the day/night. It has to contend with the same slow buses I just mentioned, plus it is also not going to drive aggressively to get to your home faster. There is many wasted minutes before you even leave. Then the same over-cautious car will drive you to the bus interchange, deviating around some side streets to pick up more fares, making your previously five minute DIY trip now up to three or four times slower.

I cannot see an improvement in travel times, but rather a degradation of our current transport system, clogged up with paranoid AIs that are too scared to do the speed limit.

“I’m sure that someone could create an app even that alerted people to the proximity of these vehicles – as already should be the case for emergency service vehicles.”
There isn’t even an app that warns of road congestion in peak periods now, let alone tracking of our buses. The NXTbus page had no real time vehicular tracking or movement in the 5 minutes I stared at it. The only thing it could tell me was that it’d take me nearly an hour to get to Civic, which I can do in half that driving my own car.
All this talk of new technology and we can’t get one working that was installed how many years ago?

If a shared fleet of AVs did works as you suspect, it will be an abject failure, and the tens of billions being invested in it will be wasted. But those investing are doing to to build an on-demand service better (including faster, by reducing congestion and synchronising traffic) and cheaper than current private cars and public transport. They may be deluded, in which case they will lose those billions, but you must at least acknowledge that they (Ford, GM, Toyota, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Tesla, Google, Baidu, …) think they are onto something!

What if they are right? How do we calculate the odds they are right? I suggest we look at what the academics and researchers are saying, what the think-tanks and engineering consultancies and bankers are writing, and run own own ruler over the results, build models we can configure and run simulations, and make better informed guesses, that’s all.

I don’t have any ulterior motive – Im not an investor or employee of any of these businesses. My motivation is better mobility for me, my family and friends and exploring whether social equity can be promoted by universal and cheap transport.

You may not accept the assumption behind my model, which I have attempted to make explicit: http://canberraautonomouscars.info/model.html

But if you do, run the default simulation http://canberraautonomouscars.info/sim.html and when it finishes, scroll down to the “Traces of 3 random cars” section to see some typical trips. If you scroll down further, you can see “10% sample of traces of visits to Giralang” (just as an example).

gooterz said :

Kim do you actually know the status of Autonomous vehicles?

Roadwork. You can’t use them
Unmapped roads you can’t use them.
Any sort of change the car doesn’t expect the user has to take over control.

If you want a decent car it’ll probably cost you 60k extra for the system which isn’t released yet and not approved in Australia at all.

Who has public liability if a car hits someone? is ACT government going to pay for every accident?

Perhaps if instead of Autonomous vehicles we employed drivers for the cars. Made the cars bigger and sold tickets. Then instead of random routes just fixed some routes in place that people would normally be able to get to. You could call it a bus.

Have you seen that Action ridership is down again this year?

I do not believe AVs will be able to meet every possible transport needs for decades. Rather, in 5 years, it is very likely that they will work very very well in constrained circumstances, such as urban Canberra and travel on main trunks.

Coping with road works, both planned and emergency, are a known design requirement: they will be noticed by the first AV to encounter them, if not already added to the shared route information database, and each AV is updated with the new information.

Coping with unmapped roads (not on GoogleMaps for example?) is not a design requirement for providing the vast bulk of transport in urban Canberra (in the spirit of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good).

Ford are planning for shared fleet AV without steering wheel/pedals in 2021 – you wont be able to “take control” other than specify a destination or invoke an emergency stop.

Will they cost 60K? Almost certainly not, as the electronics and sensors, as with all mass produced digital equipment, will be very cheap.

Insurance and liability is a great question that we should be discussing. Volvo assert they will be liable, but maybe they are talking big.

Yes, ACTION ridership as a percentage of trips continues to slide, even with pay parking hikes. Why is that? I assert it is because people highly value door-to-door, on-demand, 24×7 mobility, and ACTION (with or without trams) does not provide this. When I lived in EmuRidge, I was lucky that taking an ACTION bus was very convenient for most trips, but now, it adds over 2 hours per day to my typical commute, and the tram will actually make it worse by adding extra transfers (I now live in Nicholls and work sometimes at UNSWCanberra/ADFA and sometimes in Parkes.)

bringontheevidence said :

Kim and Tom, I’d like to address a few technical issues around the economics of light rail, benefit/cost analysis and the economics of ‘alternatives’ of light rail that you may have neglected. Sorry for the excessive detail.

1. Driverless vehicles are not an alternative to peak period mass transit. In fact, the benefits of driverless vehicles (lower effort car transport) are likely to make mass transit more necessary because of increased peak demand for roads.
Also, you talk about the ‘costs’ of driverless vehicles being low because a fleet of 20,000 could offer 600,000 journeys per day. While this might be technically correct, that would mean nearly full utilisation of the whole fleet 24 hours a day and assumes the vehicles are located close to where they need to be at all times. In reality, demand would significantly peak in the mornings and afternoons, requiring a significantly larger fleet of vehicles to meet demand. These vehicles would then sit idle 20+ hours per day.
Further, driverless cars still take up road capacity so to cater for all of those extra trips you would need a massive road investment program which would cost almost as much as the cars themselves. Especially given once you reach a certain saturation of roads in a city, additional road capacity will only come at great cost.

As a result, good quality and high capacity public transport will still be required to service peak demand. To this end Canberra DOES need either light rail or BRT. So the question is, which is better?

Your intuition is similar to mine after I read Columbia University’s Earth Institute report, “Transforming personal mobility” [ http://sustainablemobility.ei.columbia.edu/files/2012/12/Transforming-Personal-Mobility-Jan-27-20132.pdf ] in which a simulation of a shared fleet of AVs in Ann Arbor showed a very small number of vehicles could service the transport needs serviced by private cars and public transport will a door-to-door, on-demand service. It didnt make intuitive sense. And their traffic flows were much more symmetrical than Canberra’s “tidal” commuter flows: towards Civic/Parkes in the morning and back to the suburbs at night.

A spreadsheet simulation suggested I might be wrong – that a small fleet would work as long as cars were shared during peak periods, so there was only one thing to do, build a realistic traffic model using known traffic patterns and volumes and an economic model to see what the break-even cost would be. The model and its assumptions are documented here: http://canberraautonomouscars.info/model.html and you can change most of them when running the simulation. For example, the model assumes AV cost $40K, are financed with money costing 10%, have a 3 year life and are then written off ($0 scrap value). If you think they’ll cost $50K, finance costs 7% and have a $5K scrap value, plug that in (and you’ll see the operating surplus is not much different at the 750K journeys/day simulation). But I assert the default settings are conservative. Independent models from UTexas (eg http://www.ce.utexas.edu/prof/kockelman/public_html/TRB14SAVenergy_emissions.pdf http://www.caee.utexas.edu/prof/kockelman/public_html/TRB15SAVsinAustin.pdf ) and Berkeley Labs ( http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/07/06/autonomous-taxis-would-deliver-significant-environmental-and-economic-benefits/ ) show similar or more “optimistic” results.

Note that for 23K cars to service 750K daily journeys, they must be shared in peak periods: in peak periods, you hire a seat, and on highly trafficed routes (eg, Kambah to Parkes) you will almost certainly be sharing the car with 1, 2 or 3 other people, also travelling from near Kambah to near Parkes (with the model parameter that sharing will never make your trip more than 5 minutes longer than it would otherwise take). Out of weekday peak (and all weekend) you hire the whole car (and at a cheaper rate with the default model).

I agree it is not intuitive that 23K cars can service all public transport and normal car needs in Canberra (excluding tradies’ utes, horse-floats etc). If you look at the output of a typical 750K journey simulation, you’ll see that even at highest peak times, about 3000 cars are idle (not in use, not be relocated to meet anticipated demand, but empty, waiting for something to do). Distributed around about 110 “suburbs/localities”, that’s an average of about 25 per suburb, waiting for a request. And each minute, over a thousand vehicles complete a journey or relocation.

Again, for a typical 750K journey simulation, each car is idle for about 43% of the day. Private cars are idle for about 97% of the day. That is, even if you could double the utilisation of the private car, it would be idle for 94% of the day; increase the utilisation of the private car by ten times, and it would be idle for 67% of the day. Unintuitive, I agree. As well, the average private car in Canberra has an occupancy of just 1.2 people for that busy 3%

In comparison, the average AV arriving in Civic/Parkes/Barton in the AM peak is carrying 2 people. As you can calculate, this takes a huge number of vehicles off the road, and in Canberra’s case, eliminates congestion. As demand grows, the number of cars needed (the fleet size) grows much more slowly, as average occupancy grows.

bringontheevidence said :

2. The Government’s benefit cost analysis found that the benefit of BRT was similar to light rail, but cost significantly lower, so it had a better benefit/cost ratio. This outcome ignores a couple of methodological issues with the benefit/cost analysis and how it’s been used in this case.
Firstly, the comparison assumed the same passenger numbers for both light rail and BRT. This was based on the assumption that because travel times and cost would be the same, the passenger numbers would also be the same. However, evidence from overseas shows that even when travel times and cost are the same, passengers show a distinct ‘rail preference’, indicating passenger numbers for light rail would be larger than for BRT (improving the relative benefits of light rail, particularly in primary transport benefits).
Secondly, the Australian standard for benefit/cost analysis requires analysts to use a discount rate much higher than elsewhere, whereas in the UK, for example, the discount rate is much lower . Using such a high rate means that future benefits are valued much lower in Australia, while current costs are much higher (relatively). This means two things in practice. Firstly, infrastructure investment in Australia is undervalued in the benefit/cost model because the discount rate doesn’t reflect the cost of capital to the Government (which is at historic lows). Secondly, the high rate also means benefit/cost ratios are biased towards lower capital cost/high operating cost options (like BRT) vs high capital cost/lower operating cost options (like light rail).
If these methodological issues were addressed, light rail would stack up much, much better compared to BRT in the current model, and the overall benefit/cost of the project would be significantly higher (the Gov ran the project using the UK standard BCR model and the benefits outweighed the costs 2-1.

The Capital Metro business case actually factored-in very generous travel time benefits which were not supported by the their EIS. Specifically, their EIS modelled increased travel times in the corridor containing the tram, which should have been a negative travel time benefit in the business case. That is, the EIS showed NEGATIVE travel time savings, and hence magic multipliers and “uplifts” based on better travel outcomes in the business case are fanciful. [ http://canberraautonomouscars.info/faq.html#time1 http://canberraautonomouscars.info/faq.html#eisapend ]

How can this be? The main reason is that the tram route crosses 23 intersections. Many of these intersections are very busy with lots of cross-traffic (which includes buses). If the tram is given signal priority, signal synchronisation along the route breaks down for traffic flowing along the route and cross traffic is greatly slowed. Here’s what happens at Mouat St using the Capital Metro EIS signal timings and traffic volumes, now and with and without the tram in 2021 and 2031 : http://canberraautonomouscars.info/simMouat.html

scentednightgardens7:47 am 16 Sep 16

How will the ‘driverless car’ model work for those instances where the occupant climbs into the vehicle without an immutable plan to go from where they are, to another pre-ordained point, in a direct and logical fashion? Like a road trip in the back country, or a lazy meander in the Brindabellas, or just packing the car with kids and just making it up as we all go along? What about folks who don’t live in communities framed by well connected, paved, urban thoroughfares. Surely there’s a couple billion of them. Seems a somewhat exclusive technological future. There just seems to be so many journeys that aren’t of the mode ‘get in conveyance, convey directly along logical path to place of work’ (say, one’s commute into Palo Alto, for example). Here’s to the big red manual override switch.

wildturkeycanoe6:57 am 16 Sep 16

Innovation said :

Canberra would be an ideal place to trial autonomous buses!

Small, approx ten seater electric vehicles, could be trialled by replacing a handful of current slow and circuitous suburban bus routes to ferry passengers to main transport corridors. I think suburban buses average around 25km/h so the replacement buses, which would be more frequent, could be speed limited to around 20km/h and still provide a better service. (I’m sure that someone could create an app even that alerted people to the proximity of these vehicles – as already should be the case for emergency service vehicles.)

OpenYourMind said :

where the Google car takes a very conservative and safe approach and human drivers don’t anticipate that!

So basically we are advocating putting more ultra slow drivers [in this case instead of silver hair, they have silver outer shells] onto our roads. These vehicles will wander around the suburbs, doing well under the speed limit, stopping frequently and basically making a right nuisance of themselves to all other road users. Instead of me being able to take a 20 minute journey into civic in my own fast car, I will be either a passenger to one of these mini buses that meander around the burbs picking up other souls who have to get ready an extra half an hour early to get to work on time, or I am stuck behind one, cursing at the inability to overtake anywhere because of the double whites along the entire route.
Buses already do this now, putting along doing 25km/h because they are ahead of schedule due to not enough passengers. You can’t overtake them on back streets whilst they are moving due to oncoming traffic or double lines, nor can you go around when they are stopped because there is usually a traffic island right next to it. Have Canberra planners done this deliberately to frustrate motorists? This isn’t made up either, I have many times had my journey to the local shops slowed down to the pace of the local bus, obviously running early as there was indeed no attempt to speed up to anything over 30km/h. They are almost as bad as three cyclists riding abreast.
The “statewide” multi-vehicular approach to infrastructure is not going to improve people’s journeys. Presently you walk to the local stop, get the bus to the nearest interchange, jump onto the next express, to the next interchange, to the next local service and then you walk the last few hundred meters or kilometers to your destination. Just because you are taking a mini bus or autonomous vehicle for the first part of the journey, it won’t eliminate the need for the rest of the network or make it any faster. Booking an autonomous vehicle from your phone [because they won’t be driving around on pre-specified routes like buses], will mean you need to wait for a car that is doing a similar journey to yours. It won’t be parked near your house so you have to wait for it to come from wherever they are stored during the day/night. It has to contend with the same slow buses I just mentioned, plus it is also not going to drive aggressively to get to your home faster. There is many wasted minutes before you even leave. Then the same over-cautious car will drive you to the bus interchange, deviating around some side streets to pick up more fares, making your previously five minute DIY trip now up to three or four times slower.

I cannot see an improvement in travel times, but rather a degradation of our current transport system, clogged up with paranoid AIs that are too scared to do the speed limit.

“I’m sure that someone could create an app even that alerted people to the proximity of these vehicles – as already should be the case for emergency service vehicles.”
There isn’t even an app that warns of road congestion in peak periods now, let alone tracking of our buses. The NXTbus page had no real time vehicular tracking or movement in the 5 minutes I stared at it. The only thing it could tell me was that it’d take me nearly an hour to get to Civic, which I can do in half that driving my own car.
All this talk of new technology and we can’t get one working that was installed how many years ago?

Kim do you actually know the status of Autonomous vehicles?

Roadwork. You can’t use them
Unmapped roads you can’t use them.
Any sort of change the car doesn’t expect the user has to take over control.

If you want a decent car it’ll probably cost you 60k extra for the system which isn’t released yet and not approved in Australia at all.

Who has public liability if a car hits someone? is ACT government going to pay for every accident?

Perhaps if instead of Autonomous vehicles we employed drivers for the cars. Made the cars bigger and sold tickets. Then instead of random routes just fixed some routes in place that people would normally be able to get to. You could call it a bus.

Have you seen that Action ridership is down again this year?

devils_advocate said :

bringontheevidence said :

Kim and Tom, I’d like to address a few technical issues around the economics of light rail, benefit/cost analysis and the economics of ‘alternatives’ of light rail that you may have neglected. Sorry for the excessive detail.

That is the most – in fact, only – logical and well-articulated defence of the tram that I have read so far. The arguments regarding the discount rates and network effects were particularly well explained, despite being relatively complex concepts.[/

I agree with devils_advocate and – at the risk of sounding obsequious – it’s great to share website space with the likes of bringontheevidence and KentFinch. If I happen to win then I’d be grateful for your advice and expertise, assuming you’re not party people.

in_the_taratory said :

Disclaimer: I’m a Labor candidate for Ginninderra.

This article misses two critical points:

1. The major fallacy in the article is that it’s not just about light rail OR buses OR autonomous vehicles. We can do it all as part of an integrated transport solution – and we already are. The Chief Minister said in his State of the Territory speech and in earlier media releases this year that we are pursuing opportunities in semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles.

I quote from the speech:
“Autonomous vehicles are not a mass transit solution and they are not
the solution to congestion. But they are a very promising complement to
strong public transport networks and will give mobility to those who need
it most, which will make our city even more inclusive.
That’s why we have been engaging with the main players in this space –
companies like Google and Tesla – to see what structures they need, so
that we have the best idea of future advances before we move to
develop a particular regulatory regime. That approach worked for
ridesharing in the ACT, and it will work for this technology too.
ACT companies, such as Seeing Machines, are also at the forefront of
technology supporting autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles with
the work they are doing here and with overseas research partners.”

2. To draw further from the Chief Minister’s point, autonomous vehicles are an exciting technology that should be pursued, but they are not a mass transit solution like buses and light rail are. Here’s an example. On the weekend I went to the Raiders game and afterwards we had over 20,000 people streaming out of the stadium and a large number of them got onto the buses which were able to move these very big numbers of people out quickly. This is because buses have a much greater capacity than autonomous cars (and a light rail carriage has 3x the capacity of a bus). Can you imagine tens of thousands of autonomous vehicles arriving at the stadium at once? Who do they service first, and how long do they have to wait?

The point is: there is no one transport solution. There are different solutions for different circumstances. Autonomous vehicles may well have their place, but they are not a mass transit solution. This is why we’re pursuing an integrated transport solution.

Well, modelling shows a shared fleet of AVs (note, not private AVs) are indeed a solution to transport congestion in the ACT: the ACT has excellent roads, and by increasing average vehicle occupancy in peak periods from 1.2 to 2 on heavily trafficked, there just is no road congestion. Note, this is not a general claim for all cities: Tokyo, London, New York, Shanghai, Paris etc do not have the road capacity.

But to reiterate: AVs are technically a mass transit “solution” for Canberra, even if there are temporary political imperatives that do not want that to be the case. I say “temporary”, because the health and safety, equity, mobility, cost and environmental benefits are becoming obvious very quickly, even without the relentless pressure of commercial interests (Ford, Uber etc) to push the case on terms advantageous to themselves. See for example the material being produced by erstwhile tram consultants, Parsons  Brinckerhoff, for UK authorities: http://www.wsp-pb.com/Globaln/UK/WSPPB-Farrells-AV-whitepaper.pdf – these benefits are entering mainstream consciousness, and to down-play them is to leave Canberra in the slow lane.

The equity issue alone should be paramount: so many people in Canberra suffer economic and social disadvantage due to the expense or impracticability of current transport. To offer a 24×7, door-to-door, on demand service that costs a small fraction of current private car and public transport is a social good.

Singapore aren’t just talk – they actually want to solve the transport problem of getting people to their mass transit (the “last mile problem”) and getting people across their city 24×7, on-demand, door-to-door when mass transit is not available. Hence, their trial which started a few weeks ago. So, why isnt Canberra doing that? Is it laziness, scepticism, or a deep misunderstanding of where transport is headed?

One way to get 20,000 people out of Bruce:

– people get on 50 bendy-buses (100 people each) which takes them to locations dotted 2km around the stadium (UC, CIT, Belco Mall, Jammo, Kaleen shops, schools, …) where each bus is are met by 50 AV’s to take them home to their doors (requires a total of 10,000 AVs deployed, from a fleet of about 23,000: a fleet of about 23,000 is required to meet Canberra’s current weekday peak needs, see http://canberraautonomouscars.info/#outcomes ).
– bendy bus returns to Bruce stadium to get next load, repeat 4 times.

Another way, which may be as good, is just to have streams of AV’s leaving on each of Bruce Stadium’s exit roads (a bit like a ski lift with multiple pick up points), carrying 2-4 people per AV. AV’s will communicate and coordinate with each and with transport “infrastructure” controlling intersections, so they can travel in formation on common parts of their route [see for example http://senseable.mit.edu/light-traffic/ and http://traffic21.heinz.cmu.edu/ ]

I know this is hard to credit, just as it was hard for people to understand the transformation that would be brought by mobile phones, tablets, the internet, facebook…

The thing is, it is happening, with or without our input. “Doubling down” on a tram is a losing strategy which will become increasingly obvious. It doesn’t even approach the goals of the ACT Government’s 2012 “Transport for Canberra” for heavens sake. I know some people in the ALP and Greens think they are stuck with it, but there are many that don’t. It was a decision of the time, but as always, time’s they are a changing…

OpenYourMind6:45 pm 15 Sep 16

devils_advocate said :

There are other risks associated with autonomous cars. Firstly, they rely on purely electrical inputs to control steering/brakes/throttle etc (as opposed to hydraulic or mechanical inputs in cars from, say, a decade ago). Faults in the programming logic lead to vehicles accelerating out of the driver’s control, brake failures etc, as seen in various Toyotas. Secondly, they can be hacked and remote controlled. This was demonstrated with a Jeep recently. Having a bunch of full-size R/C cars presents an opportunity for mischief.

HOWEVER – the value of these vehicles to society would depend on whether the accident/incident/mortality rate associated with these vehicles was higher or lower than the existing rate of accidents in the gen pop of vehicles; and even if it were higher, whether the social utility exceeded the cost. And then you’d have to assume that technology could improve over time. But that’s essentially a quantitative question, the answer to which we can only speculate at this stage.

Any decent new car runs a bunch of code controlling brakes, accelerator and even steering. The quantitive data has been gathered over many years and will continue to. In fact, we’ll have better stats on autonomous cars than almost any other form of transport bar jet travel. Interestingly, the Google car has had a number of minor bingles where the Google car takes a very conservative and safe approach and human drivers don’t anticipate that!

dungfungus said :

Will all the EMR emitted by the sensors, servos and actuators affect my pacemaker?

I think the people selling this concept also believe renewables will replace coal.

The ACT Government couldn’t even get the Betterplace electric cars started up.

And last but not least, do these new-fangled anonymous cars deliver your groceries to your front door?

Betterplace went broke. It was a start-up whose “visionary” founder had no experience in the auto industry. In contrast, AVs are being developed by large automakers with annual RandD budgets which are individually many times those of CSIRO, and with mega-tech giants such as Google and Baidu, and with Uber and Lyft whose assets are unimaginable by Australian RandD standards. Many governments are also chipping in small change..

DHL are one of the companies investigating use of AV’s for deliveries [ http://www.dhl.com/en/about_us/logistics_insights/dhl_trend_research/self_driving_vehicles.html#.V9pdnGF97MQ ]

Reducing greenhouse gases is one motivation for developing shared fleets of battery-electric AVs, but it is only one. Here are some others: http://canberraautonomouscars.info/#motivation

OpenYourMind6:40 pm 15 Sep 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

Autonomous cars have one fatal flaw, they rely on unreliable infrastructure. GPS does not have the accuracy to keep a car in its lane, just look at articles in the news relating to GPS and shifting of the Australian continent. Being out by a metre or so could potetially put a self driving vehicle into the wrong lane. This is further compounded by the confusing road markings that are sometimes left behind when lanes are relocated but the old lane markers are still visible. These often catch me out in rainy weather especially. Speaking of weather, how often has Foxtel gone down during thunderstorms? Are self driving cars going to stop dead every time a spring storm hits at 3:30PM?
Then you have the issues of wi-fi and internet, of which even in Canberra there is sketchy reception. William Hovell Dr has a mobile black spot that has been there for years as just one example. Underground parking also interferes with these control signals.
Hackers will have a field day, with trying to compromise the systems controlling our daily non-drivers.
Imagine the carnage a small EMP bomb could cause for instance, if used on the Tuggeranong Pkwy. I think we are a long way from adopting this technology, due to the susceptibility to interference. Why do you think they ban mobile phone use on planes?
Lastly, as has been said before, where do these AI cars park? We will still need car parks, something that won’t go away with this mode of travel. Sending them home to recharge won’t be economically sound, plus you must have somebody behind the wheel even though you aren’t in control.

This is simply not the case. Autonomous cars use a multitude of sensors and inputs including radar, (lidar in some cases) and cameras. Furthermore, unlike human drivers autonomous cars work together collaboratively and learn the roads. A small change noted by one car is passed to the network.

Almost every car today would be susceptible to an ‘EMP bomb’. Our entire society operates with the vulnerabilities associated with electronics.

As for parking, the wonderful thing about autonomous cars is they will most likely be electric and capable of taking themselves off to free charging bays located in otherwise unusable land.

wildturkeycanoe said :

Autonomous cars have one fatal flaw, they rely on unreliable infrastructure. GPS does not have the accuracy to keep a car in its lane, just look at articles in the news relating to GPS and shifting of the Australian continent. Being out by a metre or so could potentially put a self driving vehicle into the wrong lane. This is further compounded by the confusing road markings that are sometimes left behind when lanes are relocated but the old lane markers are still visible. These often catch me out in rainy weather especially. Speaking of weather, how often has Foxtel gone down during thunderstorms? Are self driving cars going to stop dead every time a spring storm hits at 3:30PM?
Then you have the issues of wi-fi and internet, of which even in Canberra there is sketchy reception. William Hovell Dr has a mobile black spot that has been there for years as just one example. Underground parking also interferes with these control signals.
Hackers will have a field day, with trying to compromise the systems controlling our daily non-drivers.
Imagine the carnage a small EMP bomb could cause for instance, if used on the Tuggeranong Pkwy. I think we are a long way from adopting this technology, due to the susceptibility to interference. Why do you think they ban mobile phone use on planes?
Lastly, as has been said before, where do these AI cars park? We will still need car parks, something that won’t go away with this mode of travel. Sending them home to recharge won’t be economically sound, plus you must have somebody behind the wheel even though you aren’t in control.

All infrastructure is unreliable to some extent; the goal of engineers is to anticipate failures and build systems that are not fragile using techniques such as system redundancy and diversity. There are currently many approaches used by teams developing autonomous cars, but none rely on GPS to keep a car in its lane: effective GPS signals can be lost under trees, building “canyons”, car parks, tunnels. Even reflections and “multi-path” problems caused by heavy rain and wet surroundings can reduce GPS accuracy. So, regular GPS location fixes updated by “dead reckoning” (distance and direction travelled since last fix – the Kalman filter is a common approach) are typically used to help the positioning algorithms determine the rough whereabouts of the car, and sensor information from cameras, radar and in most approaches (but currently not Tesla’s), lidar provides the final positioning.

In some approaches (such as currently Tesla’s) visibility of lane markings is quite important, but less so in other approaches (which is very important in snowy places where roads are frequently covered).

Cameras and lidar are effected by heavy rain just as is human vision, but radar is not: fog and rain are almost transparent to the frequencies used in AV radar.

3g/4g reception is not required to navigate in most systems, but it is anticipated to be required for many control functions (such as car routing in a shared fleet).

Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications used in “Intelligent Transport Systems” are being standardised on the 5.9GHz band, partly chosen because over the intended range of 1000m, “rain fade” is not a problem.

Hacking of AVs will be a cat and mouse game: for example radar reflections can be manipulated with a convex surface, making a small object appear big, but cars will use multiple independent sensors to assess the environment. All threats can never be stopped: imagine setting up a bank of very bright lights along a tricky curve on a road now to shine in driver’s eyes..

If AVs are privately owned, they do nothing to solve parking and congestion problems – they may even make them worse by encouraging more travel. This is why many advocates of AVs (myself included) see them as public transport, deployed as a shared fleet: during peak periods, trips are quite likely to be shared with other people with similar start and end journey points, or at least, points along the way.

Ford are explicit that by 2021 they will be producing AVs without steering wheels or pedals for use in a shared fleet [https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2016/08/16/ford-targets-fully-autonomous-vehicle-for-ride-sharing-in-2021.html http://www.techrepublic.com/article/fords-fully-autonomous-vehicles-will-start-out-in-ride-share-says-ceo-mark-fields/ ] BMW are also targeting 2021 for shared fleet AVs [ https://www.press.bmwgroup.com/global/article/detail/T0261586EN/bmw-group-intel-and-mobileye-team-up-to-bring-fully-autonomous-driving-to-streets-by-2021 ] as are GM [ http://www.wsj.com/articles/gm-lyft-to-test-self-driving-electric-taxis-1462460094 ] Nissan, Benz and Tesla are also hinting at similar plans, and outside of automakers, so are Google and Baidu.

Are they all making this stuff up, along with MIT, Carnegie-Mellon, Stanford, …? Parsons-Brinckerhoff (Capital Metro’s consultants: http://www.wsp-pb.com/Globaln/UK/WSPPB-Farrells-AV-whitepaper.pdf ] ? Maybe, but not many informed people are willing to take that bet.

Otherwise, we should be planning for them now, and there are plenty of encouragement for us as a community to drive this process for our maximum benefit, rather than it being imposed on us [
http://usa.streetsblog.org/2015/10/02/chose-your-own-utopia-what-will-we-make-of-driverless-cars/
https://backchannel.com/self-driving-cars-will-improve-our-cities-if-they-dont-ruin-them-2dc920345618#.3e6oqvagu
https://medium.com/@mitchturck/i-find-your-lack-of-faith-in-autonomous-cars-disturbing-c5f249e9e623#.i4y68xu0u ]

Its a bit like climate change – you can ignore the evidence, belittle the messengers and not take insurance that you just may be wrong.

devils_advocate1:26 pm 15 Sep 16

bringontheevidence said :

Kim and Tom, I’d like to address a few technical issues around the economics of light rail, benefit/cost analysis and the economics of ‘alternatives’ of light rail that you may have neglected. Sorry for the excessive detail.

That is the most – in fact, only – logical and well-articulated defence of the tram that I have read so far. The arguments regarding the discount rates and network effects were particularly well explained, despite being relatively complex concepts.

David Pollard said :

Another disclaimer – I’m an Independent candidate for Yerrabi.

Hi Kim, I think autonomous vehicles are a fantastic idea, and definitely in our future. They will reduce congestion, pollution, accidents, and more.

I also think we need a mass transit solution, which obviously Light Rail is on option. I don’t believe you are claiming that a fleet of autonomous vehicles addresses the need for mass transit, so I was wondering if you would elaborate on that point. Do you think Canberra doesn’t need mass transit (and won’t in the next 20 years), or do you think there is a better option for mass transit specifically?

Thanks and respect to DP and devil’s advocate. We’re big on buses in the short and intermediate term. We think free buses are a surprisingly inexpensive way (around $24 million per year) to get people moving towards public transport, hopefully addressing that misguided mindset that driving is free.

I’m not sure how massive people want mass transportation to be. What happened to small is beautiful? What about bicycles for those who are up for it? What about the idea that successful 21st century techology is highly customisable? It’s not a perfect nor wholly original analogy, but going with light rail is a bit like investing in Blockbuster/DVD hire in an age of Netflix/Stan/streaming services. Kbo

bringontheevidence12:13 pm 15 Sep 16

Kim and Tom, I’d like to address a few technical issues around the economics of light rail, benefit/cost analysis and the economics of ‘alternatives’ of light rail that you may have neglected. Sorry for the excessive detail.

1. Driverless vehicles are not an alternative to peak period mass transit. In fact, the benefits of driverless vehicles (lower effort car transport) are likely to make mass transit more necessary because of increased peak demand for roads.
Also, you talk about the ‘costs’ of driverless vehicles being low because a fleet of 20,000 could offer 600,000 journeys per day. While this might be technically correct, that would mean nearly full utilisation of the whole fleet 24 hours a day and assumes the vehicles are located close to where they need to be at all times. In reality, demand would significantly peak in the mornings and afternoons, requiring a significantly larger fleet of vehicles to meet demand. These vehicles would then sit idle 20+ hours per day.
Further, driverless cars still take up road capacity so to cater for all of those extra trips you would need a massive road investment program which would cost almost as much as the cars themselves. Especially given once you reach a certain saturation of roads in a city, additional road capacity will only come at great cost.

As a result, good quality and high capacity public transport will still be required to service peak demand. To this end Canberra DOES need either light rail or BRT. So the question is, which is better?

2. The Government’s benefit cost analysis found that the benefit of BRT was similar to light rail, but cost significantly lower, so it had a better benefit/cost ratio. This outcome ignores a couple of methodological issues with the benefit/cost analysis and how it’s been used in this case.
Firstly, the comparison assumed the same passenger numbers for both light rail and BRT. This was based on the assumption that because travel times and cost would be the same, the passenger numbers would also be the same. However, evidence from overseas shows that even when travel times and cost are the same, passengers show a distinct ‘rail preference’, indicating passenger numbers for light rail would be larger than for BRT (improving the relative benefits of light rail, particularly in primary transport benefits).
Secondly, the Australian standard for benefit/cost analysis requires analysts to use a discount rate much higher than elsewhere, whereas in the UK, for example, the discount rate is much lower . Using such a high rate means that future benefits are valued much lower in Australia, while current costs are much higher (relatively). This means two things in practice. Firstly, infrastructure investment in Australia is undervalued in the benefit/cost model because the discount rate doesn’t reflect the cost of capital to the Government (which is at historic lows). Secondly, the high rate also means benefit/cost ratios are biased towards lower capital cost/high operating cost options (like BRT) vs high capital cost/lower operating cost options (like light rail).
If these methodological issues were addressed, light rail would stack up much, much better compared to BRT in the current model, and the overall benefit/cost of the project would be significantly higher (the Gov ran the project using the UK standard BCR model and the benefits outweighed the costs 2-1.

3. Network effects from future stages have not been included in the BCR analysis for stage 1. The Gungahlin-City light rail line is just the first stage of a multiple line network. The first stage of any network will always be undervalued because the number of destinations is limited and hence passengers will choose alternatives. As further lines are added to the network, you don’t just get additional raw passengers from stage 2, it will drive more demand on stage 1 as the number of viable destinations increases.

For the Canberra network, all of the BCRs for stage 1 have been done assuming the demand for trips between Gunners and the City only. As further links are added (to the Triangle, Woden etc), not only does the network pick up traffic from Civic to Woden, there will also be a lot of additional traffic on the Gungahlin – Civic route, as more destinations are available to passengers. The original work indicated that the proposed stage 2 (to Russel) would have increased traffic on the Gungahlin-Civic leg by something like 35 per cent. I would expect the Civic-Woden link would have an even bigger impact on the Gungahlin-Civic leg.

David Pollard12:00 pm 15 Sep 16

Another disclaimer – I’m an Independent candidate for Yerrabi.

Hi Kim, I think autonomous vehicles are a fantastic idea, and definitely in our future. They will reduce congestion, pollution, accidents, and more.

I also think we need a mass transit solution, which obviously Light Rail is on option. I don’t believe you are claiming that a fleet of autonomous vehicles addresses the need for mass transit, so I was wondering if you would elaborate on that point. Do you think Canberra doesn’t need mass transit (and won’t in the next 20 years), or do you think there is a better option for mass transit specifically?

in_the_taratory said :

Disclaimer: I’m a Labor candidate for Ginninderra.

This article misses two critical points:

1. The major fallacy in the article is that it’s not just about light rail OR buses OR autonomous vehicles. We can do it all as part of an integrated transport solution – and we already are.

My take out from the OP is that they support an integrated transport system – just one that doesn’t include the Tram.

So, we can “do it all” ?

In 2012, ACT Labor said that Stage 1 from Gunners to Civic would cost m$614. The ACT Auditor General recently reported that the total cost to ACT Ratepayers would be b$1.78 over life of the contract, including running costs. Stage 2 to Woden has to cross the Lake.

ACT Labor has said that if re elected, it will sign contracts for Tram stage 2 before the 2020 ACT LA election. But unlike in 2012, ACT Labor has not said how much that will cost Ratepayers.

Please explain how ACT Labor can expect a “blank cheque” from ratepayers & voters or advise the cost of Tram stage 2.

devils_advocate11:17 am 15 Sep 16

There are other risks associated with autonomous cars. Firstly, they rely on purely electrical inputs to control steering/brakes/throttle etc (as opposed to hydraulic or mechanical inputs in cars from, say, a decade ago). Faults in the programming logic lead to vehicles accelerating out of the driver’s control, brake failures etc, as seen in various Toyotas. Secondly, they can be hacked and remote controlled. This was demonstrated with a Jeep recently. Having a bunch of full-size R/C cars presents an opportunity for mischief.

HOWEVER – the value of these vehicles to society would depend on whether the accident/incident/mortality rate associated with these vehicles was higher or lower than the existing rate of accidents in the gen pop of vehicles; and even if it were higher, whether the social utility exceeded the cost. And then you’d have to assume that technology could improve over time. But that’s essentially a quantitative question, the answer to which we can only speculate at this stage.

in_the_taratory said :

Disclaimer: I’m a Labor candidate for Ginninderra.

This article misses two critical points:

1. The major fallacy in the article is that it’s not just about light rail OR buses OR autonomous vehicles. We can do it all as part of an integrated transport solution – and we already are. The Chief Minister said in his State of the Territory speech and in earlier media releases this year that we are pursuing opportunities in semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles.

I quote from the speech:
“Autonomous vehicles are not a mass transit solution and they are not
the solution to congestion. But they are a very promising complement to
strong public transport networks and will give mobility to those who need
it most, which will make our city even more inclusive.
That’s why we have been engaging with the main players in this space –
companies like Google and Tesla – to see what structures they need, so
that we have the best idea of future advances before we move to
develop a particular regulatory regime. That approach worked for
ridesharing in the ACT, and it will work for this technology too.
ACT companies, such as Seeing Machines, are also at the forefront of
technology supporting autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles with
the work they are doing here and with overseas research partners.”

2. To draw further from the Chief Minister’s point, autonomous vehicles are an exciting technology that should be pursued, but they are not a mass transit solution like buses and light rail are. Here’s an example. On the weekend I went to the Raiders game and afterwards we had over 20,000 people streaming out of the stadium and a large number of them got onto the buses which were able to move these very big numbers of people out quickly. This is because buses have a much greater capacity than autonomous cars (and a light rail carriage has 3x the capacity of a bus). Can you imagine tens of thousands of autonomous vehicles arriving at the stadium at once? Who do they service first, and how long do they have to wait?

The point is: there is no one transport solution. There are different solutions for different circumstances. Autonomous vehicles may well have their place, but they are not a mass transit solution. This is why we’re pursuing an integrated transport solution.

Thanks for the comments TC and all. We’re for an integrated approach to transportation too as outlined in our previous post. It includes free buses, bike highways and autonomous cars (no light rail). Cheaper, faster, better. Kbo

in_the_taratory9:52 am 15 Sep 16

Disclaimer: I’m a Labor candidate for Ginninderra.

This article misses two critical points:

1. The major fallacy in the article is that it’s not just about light rail OR buses OR autonomous vehicles. We can do it all as part of an integrated transport solution – and we already are. The Chief Minister said in his State of the Territory speech and in earlier media releases this year that we are pursuing opportunities in semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles.

I quote from the speech:
“Autonomous vehicles are not a mass transit solution and they are not
the solution to congestion. But they are a very promising complement to
strong public transport networks and will give mobility to those who need
it most, which will make our city even more inclusive.
That’s why we have been engaging with the main players in this space –
companies like Google and Tesla – to see what structures they need, so
that we have the best idea of future advances before we move to
develop a particular regulatory regime. That approach worked for
ridesharing in the ACT, and it will work for this technology too.
ACT companies, such as Seeing Machines, are also at the forefront of
technology supporting autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles with
the work they are doing here and with overseas research partners.”

2. To draw further from the Chief Minister’s point, autonomous vehicles are an exciting technology that should be pursued, but they are not a mass transit solution like buses and light rail are. Here’s an example. On the weekend I went to the Raiders game and afterwards we had over 20,000 people streaming out of the stadium and a large number of them got onto the buses which were able to move these very big numbers of people out quickly. This is because buses have a much greater capacity than autonomous cars (and a light rail carriage has 3x the capacity of a bus). Can you imagine tens of thousands of autonomous vehicles arriving at the stadium at once? Who do they service first, and how long do they have to wait?

The point is: there is no one transport solution. There are different solutions for different circumstances. Autonomous vehicles may well have their place, but they are not a mass transit solution. This is why we’re pursuing an integrated transport solution.

Will all the EMR emitted by the sensors, servos and actuators affect my pacemaker?

I think the people selling this concept also believe renewables will replace coal.

The ACT Government couldn’t even get the Betterplace electric cars started up.

And last but not least, do these new-fangled anonymous cars deliver your groceries to your front door?

Canberra would be an ideal place to trial autonomous buses!

Small, approx ten seater electric vehicles, could be trialled by replacing a handful of current slow and circuitous suburban bus routes to ferry passengers to main transport corridors. I think suburban buses average around 25km/h so the replacement buses, which would be more frequent, could be speed limited to around 20km/h and still provide a better service. (I’m sure that someone could create an app even that alerted people to the proximity of these vehicles – as already should be the case for emergency service vehicles.)

The Greens have or had a policy that prioritises the weaker road user (eg, cars that hit cyclists/pedestrians have to prove fault). Automated buses could be slotted in to this legal framework as a weaker road user than cars (and possibly cyclists even) encouraging other road users to fit cameras and/or stay out of the way of these buses.

The Liberals’ expansion of rapid bus networks would fit perfectly too. Drivers would still be employed for these faster routes using all existing appropriately repainted buses.

As technology and community acceptance improves, autonomous buses could be rolled out to all suburban routes, enhanced to provide door to door service and, eventually, rapid transit buses could be automated.

Under this legal framework, one or more international companies might even donate buses for the purpose of suburban trials. At the very least Canberra would make international headlines for good reason – instead of for wasting money on antiquated light rail systems.

wildturkeycanoe7:38 am 15 Sep 16

Autonomous cars have one fatal flaw, they rely on unreliable infrastructure. GPS does not have the accuracy to keep a car in its lane, just look at articles in the news relating to GPS and shifting of the Australian continent. Being out by a metre or so could potetially put a self driving vehicle into the wrong lane. This is further compounded by the confusing road markings that are sometimes left behind when lanes are relocated but the old lane markers are still visible. These often catch me out in rainy weather especially. Speaking of weather, how often has Foxtel gone down during thunderstorms? Are self driving cars going to stop dead every time a spring storm hits at 3:30PM?
Then you have the issues of wi-fi and internet, of which even in Canberra there is sketchy reception. William Hovell Dr has a mobile black spot that has been there for years as just one example. Underground parking also interferes with these control signals.
Hackers will have a field day, with trying to compromise the systems controlling our daily non-drivers.
Imagine the carnage a small EMP bomb could cause for instance, if used on the Tuggeranong Pkwy. I think we are a long way from adopting this technology, due to the susceptibility to interference. Why do you think they ban mobile phone use on planes?
Lastly, as has been said before, where do these AI cars park? We will still need car parks, something that won’t go away with this mode of travel. Sending them home to recharge won’t be economically sound, plus you must have somebody behind the wheel even though you aren’t in control.

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