Automated Vehicles Can’t Save Cities

The comments below were submitted by Executive Director Kate Kraft to the New York Times in response to their editorial Automated Vehicles Can’t Save Cities by Allison Arieff. 

Dear New York Times Editorial Team,

Our compliments on your recent editorial Automated Vehicles Can’t Save Cities by Allison Arieff. We at America Walks, a national non-profit focused on safe, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk with a network of over 34,000 walkable community champions, strongly agree with the people-first approach that Arieff uses and the resulting prioritization of walking and transit as the most effective means for moving more people.

Streets are public spaces and should be made available as much as possible for multiple uses by all community members, regardless of age and ability. This democratizing of streets has many benefits not cited in the article, including the health benefit of walking more, the economic benefits of more foot traffic to local businesses, the environmental benefits of reduced greenhouse gases, and the general well-being improvements of stronger community ties and social inclusion. Automated vehicles may have the opportunity to address many of the challenges facing today’s cities, including accessibility and traffic congestion, , but no matter their development, the re-thinking in how we use our streets and providing all users equal access to the street will improve our community quality of life.

M. Katherine Kraft, Ph.D.
Executive Director
America Walks