April 01, 2020

Autonomous and Connected Multimodal Transportation: A Global Game Changer

David H. McCray and Jacob Duginski

Autonomous and connected vehicles are on the brink of changing global transportation and land use forever. These types of vehicles will, among other things: (1) significantly reduce highway deaths by reducing human error; (2) improve goods movement by streamlining the exchange of articles in commerce; (3) change land use by reducing the need for things such as parking lots; and (4) improve environmental conditions by, for example, decreasing idling emissions and utilizing zero-emission vehicles. All of this can be accomplished while providing truly individualized and convenient transit otherwise thought to be the hallmark of driving one’s own automobile. This article explains what autonomous and connected modes of transportation are and the advantages of a multimodal system. We will also discuss some of the many legal concerns with such a system and the societal changes that may result. Although not discussed in this article, it is important to note that this monumental transportation change is not limited to traditional modes of transportation; new modes such as Hyperloop One and SpaceX Hyperloop are testing and planning implementation and could soon be part of the multimodal system.

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