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Cities Research Seminar Series: Autonomous Vehicles: Are they the silver bullet for air quality and safety?

Autonomous vehicles are no longer a thing of the future. Companies and mobility providers are working on the concept already and promising to offer them commercially as early as 2018. The autonomous vehicle revolution promises improved mobility, increased road safety and even environmental gains, but it is not yet clear what its downsides, if any, will be, how the public will react, how it will happen, and what involvement the government should have. What will the impact be of autonomous vehicles be, on vehicle kilometers travelled (VKT), congestion, parking usage, safety, the environment, and jobs and economy. For example, will autonomous vehicles use parking, or will they continue to drive around, waiting for their owner and thus increase congestion and fuel use? Also, in case of a collision, who will be held responsible?

Presentation by David Ward, discussion moderated by Claudia Adriazola-Steil

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Speaker: David Ward

David is Secretary General of the Global New Car Assessment Programme, a UK charity serving as a platform for co-operation among NCAPs worldwide. Davis is also Senior Fellow at the Towards Zero Foundation which promotes the safe system approach to road injury prevention, and is Chairman of the Stop the Crash Partnership which encourages increased use of crash avoidance technologies.

From 2001 to 2013 he was Director General of the FIA Foundation which has donated over $100 million to projects supporting safe and sustainable transport. From 2006 to 2015 he was Secretary of the Commission for Global Road Safety. From 1996 to 2006 he was a Board Member of the European New Car Assessment Programme. From 1994 to 2001 he was Director General of the EU office of the international federation of automobile clubs (FIA) where he led campaigns for improved vehicle safety and emission standards.

Before working in road safety, David was Chief Policy Adviser to the Leader of the Opposition, the late Rt. Hon. John Smith MP, and previously worked for the United Nations Children’s Fund, and as a journalist. David graduated from London University with a BA in philosophy.

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