Connected and autonomous vehicles, along with shared mobility services, have the potential to transform the transportation system. However, exactly how and when these technologies will be deployed is subject to uncertainties related to many factors. This was the topic of a recent charrette that took place on the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Campus.
The charrette, “Envisioning the Future Urban Form with Autonomous Technologies: A Scenario Planning Charrette for Texas A&M University Campus and the Bryan-College Station Area,” brought together experts and professionals from the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study (HIAS), the College of Architecture at TAMU, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), the College of Engineering at TAMU, the Texas Department of Transportation, the Cities of Bryan and College Station, and the Brazos Valley Council of Governments.
The charrette, chaired by HIAS Faculty Fellow Dr. Kumares Sinha and facilitated by the College of Architecture Dean Dr. Jorge Vanegas, focused on a case study of the TAMU Campus, as well as the cities of Bryan and College Station.
“Much like the Texas A&M Campus, the state of Texas has similar transportation challenges in the future so we’re looking at how technologies can improve mobility and safety needs,” explained TTI Connected Transportation Lead Dr. Chris Poe during his overview of connected, automated, and autonomous vehicles presentation.
TTI Executive Associate Director Dr. Katie Turnbull provided an overview of the four hypothetical scenarios developed for the charrette. The scenarios focused on different levels of driver versus vehicle control and private versus shared vehicle ownership. Breakout groups discussed how these scenarios might influence the campus footprint, as well as the location of student housing, residential neighborhoods, and commercial developments.
“There were a number of good ideas discussed, said Turnbull. “Better accommodating pedestrians and bicyclists on campus, changing on campus parking needs, and potential changes in the location and density of student housing, residential areas, and commercial developments provide just a few of the suggestions from the breakout groups.”
Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at TAMU and TTI Assistant Research Scientist Dr. Wei Li provided the closing comments.
“Many of us live in the Bryan-College Station area. We would like to see the community become a safe, livable, productive and sustainable place in the autonomous vehicle era,” said Dr. Li. “This charrette is an exciting first step to seek solutions through community-based research and teaching projects.”