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Autonomous Vehicles Can Create a Greener and Healthier Future

To demonstrate the incredible difference a future of autonomous vehicles can make, here are three benefits of AVs that create a greener and healthier future.

A drone footage still of a May Mobility vehicle driving in Grand Rapids, Minnesota

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, around 242.1m motor vehicles were registered in the U.S. in 2010. By 2020, this had risen to 275.9m, an increase of over 12 percent in just 10 years.

This overwhelming number of road vehicles and the CO2 emissions they produce have had a profound impact on our communities. But by tackling some of the fundamental flaws in human-led driving, autonomous vehicles (AVs) can dramatically reduce these environmental and social consequences.

As a result, some city planners are investing in eco-friendly transport options that add autonomous cars to their public transit systems. To demonstrate the incredible difference a future of autonomous vehicles can make, here are three benefits of AVs that create a greener and healthier future.

1) Lower CO2 emissions

The use of cameras, sensors, radar and other technology allows autonomous vehicles to optimize how they travel through city streets. That means riders can reach their destinations much faster, resulting in less time spent on the road producing CO2. This reduces engine idling and improves routing efficiency. We also strive to improve outcomes further by encouraging car sharing in our AV routes. This further reduces the number of vehicles needed on the road.

In a 2021 publication titled The Future of Driving, Ohio University suggested that introducing AVs can cut emissions by 60 percent. And if they’re both electric and shared, the University of California estimated they could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent by 2050. When we incorporate our AV fleets into public transit systems as an eco-friendly transport solution, we hope to make a positive impact on the air quality in our cities and communities.

2) Save millions of taxpayer dollars

When city roads are chronically overburdened, expensive construction projects are often required to build additional lanes or alternative routes. Public transport systems such as buses, trains, trams and bicycle lanes can help to mitigate this need. But many underserved communities struggle to access them because of factors such as costs, limited accessibility and inadequate or erroneous timing, to name a few. The same can be true for disabled people, elderly people and children.

But autonomous public transit vehicles from May Mobility offer first-mile to last-mile travel between any two locations within their geofenced zone. This makes them a much more flexible and cost-effective traffic solution that allows community members to take better advantage of existing transit stops. As a result, these autonomous cars could save communities millions of dollars each year, which can be funneled into other projects.

3) Create a happier, healthier community

Driving in built-up urban areas is often incredibly stressful. High levels of stress lead to a wide variety of physical and mental health issues, and poor quality of life within your community.

Autonomous vehicles can eliminate the stress of driving and riders can use commuting time more productively. And because AVs can reduce commuting time in urban areas by up to 24 percent, riders can also spend more time at home or with friends and family.

We know that access to vital facilities can be difficult for some communities and it’s one of our goals to help cities solve the problem. For example, communities without access to supermarkets or grocery stores have the highest rates of obesity and nutrition-related deficiencies. And in 2017, 5.8 million people in the U.S. were delayed in receiving medical care because they didn’t have access to transportation. We have already shown how our autonomous vehicles can help fill the gap by improving access to food and healthcare. By strategically integrating AV microtransit into public transportation systems, including AV support for first- and last-mile connections, cities can increase the health and well-being of their communities.

Create a healthier, greener community with autonomous transit vehicles

The widespread commercial use of fully autonomous vehicles is still some years away. But May Mobility has already helped 10 cities in the U.S. and Japan successfully deploy AV programs, with over 320,000 autonomy-enabled rides to date.

When cities and transit authorities partner with May Mobility, we provide transportation solutions that consider the many challenges and goals of the transit system and help optimize your public transit schema. The data-gathering equipment on our vehicles produce further insights, allowing us to make continuous improvements. We also offer assistance with state and federal funding initiatives and have helped cities achieve greener autonomous transit in just six to 12 months.

So, are autonomous cars useful? Absolutely.

Can they promote eco-friendly transport? Most definitely.

Should cities choose a future with microtransit AVs? Without a doubt.

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