By Daniel Sperling and Austin Brown
The linked article below appears in the July 2018 issue of EM Magazine, the magazine for environmental managers, which is a copyrighted publication of the Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA; www.awma.org).
Drs. Dan Sperling and Austin Brown offer their perspective on the future of transportation, based on the book lead-authored by Dr. Sperling: “Three Revolutions: Steering Automated, Shared, and Electric Vehicles to a Better Future” (Island Press, 2018).
We love cars. Or at least we love the freedom, flexibility, convenience, and comfort they offer. Cars provide great benefits, which is why they are popular. But they also impose huge costs on society in the forms of pollution, congestion, safety risks, and infrastructure construction and maintenance. Our transportation problems are exacerbated by the fact that the United States has fallen behind much of the rest of the world in providing affordable, fast, and reliable public transportation, resulting in more traffic congestion and disadvantaging those unable to buy and drive cars. These downsides have long been acknowledged but not vigorously addressed because there were so few solutions. Now new services and technologies are at hand, with the potential to disrupt the status quo. The signs are all around us: Zipcar, Lyft, Uber, microtransit companies like Chariot and Via, dockless bikes and scooters, plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) from almost every major automaker, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, and partially automated cars. Taken together, these innovations represent the 3 Revolutions” of electric, pooled, and automated vehicles…