Autonomous Vehicles: Planning for Impacts on Cities and Regions

On October 6, 2017, 85 of the nation's top thinkers on autonomous vehicles (AV) gathered at the National League of Cities (NLC) headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discuss and plan for the impacts of AV on cities and regions. This event — a collaboration between APA, NLC, Mobility E3, George Mason University, Mobility Lab, the Eno Center for Transportation, and the Brookings Institution — was convened to set the direction for future research, education, and other efforts by identifying policy needs to get cities and regions ready for a revolutionary new technology that will transform the way we think about transportation, transit, and land use.

Read a summary of the event


Research Reception & Networking
8:00 a.m.

Enjoy a light breakfast while networking with some of the nation's foremost thinkers on AV. Event emcee Kelley Coyner (George Mason University/Mobility E3) will get things started.

8:30 a.m.

David Rouse, APA Managing Director of Research and Advisory Services, will open the event and invite Kenneth Petty, Director of Planning for FHWA, to say a few words on the federal perspective.

Opening Keynote
8:45 a.m.

Jeff Tumlin (Nelson\Nygaard) will set a forward-looking, visionary tone for the day's discussions by establishing a common ground for the status of autonomous vehicle technology and a vision of success for the day.

Moderated Discussion Panels
9:15 a.m.

  • Equity & Access: How can autonomous vehicle technology expand access to healthcare, employment, education, and recreation for users of all ages, abilities, and incomes? Panelists will address economic implications in terms of job loss and dislocation, environmental benefits, economic competitiveness, and equity.

  • Transportation Network: How will autonomous vehicles impact the transportation ecosystem? Panelists will discuss use cases, street design, transit, bike/ped considerations, freight, fiscal implications, and revenue.

  • Land Use & the Built Environment: What are the potential benefits and costs of widespread deployment of autonomous vehicles for cities and metropolitan regions? Panelists will discuss potential impacts on urban design and the built environment, regional land use, zoning, design standards, parking, etc.

Lunchtime Fireside Chat
11:45 a.m.

Brian Hoeft of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada and Linda Bailey of NACTO will discuss a real-world AV project now on the road in Southern Nevada.

Scenario-Based Planning Exercise
12:45 p.m.

Kelley Coyner and Lisa Nisenson (Alta Planning + Design) will propose a scenario where active transportation, transit & technology (including AVs) work together on a platform of great community design to expand access and equity. Attendees will discuss and figure out ways to harness potential benefits of AV technology while also limiting potential risks.

Key Takeaways and Next Steps
3:00 p.m.

David Rouse and Jennifer Henaghan (APA Deputy Research Director), will summarize the key takeaways of the event and discuss the work that APA will undertake to follow up and act on the symposium.


David Alpert, DC Sustainable Transportation

Muhammad Amer, ASCE

Max Azizi, Federal Highway Administration

Linda Bailey, NACTO

Adam Beck, Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand

Torsha Bhattacharya, Rails to Trails Conservancy

Lauren Bradley, National League of Cities

Stephen Buckley, WSP

Terry Clower, George Mason Center for Regional Analysis

Kelley Coyner, George Mason University/Mobility E3

Terra Curtis, Nelson\Nygaard

Patrice Davenport, Transportation Research Board

Corbin Davis, FHWA

Eta Nahapetian Davis, Farifax County Government

David Dixon, Stantec

Adam Ducker, RCLCO

Nicole DuPuis, National League of Cities

Gerard Durr, Wilmington Trust

Caroline Egli, George Mason Center for Regional Analysis

Courtney Ehrlichman, Carnegie Mellon University

Daniel Emerine, D.C. Office of Planning

Corey Ershow, Lyft

Sharon Feigon, Shared-Use Mobility Center

Tom Fisher, University of Minnesota

Kate Garman, Crown Castle

Gulafshan Ghori, American Planning Association

Sheryl Gross-Glaser, CTAA

Darnell Grisby, APTA

Matthew Hardy, AASTHO

Corey Harper, Booz Allen Hamilton

Jennifer Henaghan, American Planning Association

Brian Hoeft, Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada

George Homewood, City of Norfolk

Susan Howard, NADO

MacPherson Hughes-Cromwick, APTA

Rebecca Hunter, Crown Castle

Keith Jasper, Northern Virginia Transportation Authority

Howard Jennings, Mobility Lab

Tracye Johnson, Local Motors

Nikki Jones, Local Motors

Jason Jordan, American Planning Association

Joshua Karlin-Resnick, Nelson\Nygaard

William Keyrouze, AMPO

Jennifer Koch, Rhodeside & Harwell

Katherine Kortum, Transportation Research Board

Nico Larco, University of Oregon

Brian Laverty, Sabra Wang & Associaties

Matt Lesh, Coast Tech

Dalia Leven, AECOM

Paul Lewis, Eno Center for Transportation

Michael Lim, City of Los Angeles

Jana Lynott, AARP

Paul Mackie, Mobility Lab

Erik Marojobic, George Mason Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship

Jacob Mason, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

Christine Mayeur, Nspiregreen LLC

Amy McElwain, VDOT

Heidi Mitter, VDOT

Kimberly Moore, Go Together, Inc.

Dale Neef, DNA Data Solutions

Lisa Nisenson, Alta Planning + Design

Michelle Noch, FHWA

Mark Norman, Transportation Research Board

Terence O'Connell, CCM Real Estate

Ellen Partridge, Environmental Law & Policy Center

Kenneth Petty, FHWA

Richard Pruetz, Planning & Implementation Strategies

Robert Puentes, Eno Center for Transportation

Brooks Rainwater, National League of Cities

Anna Read, American Planning Association

Annibel Rice, The Brookings Institution

Matthew Ridgeway, Fehr and Peers DC

William Riggs, University of San Francisco

Justin Robbins

Greg Rodriguez, Best Best & Krieger

Greg Rogers, Eno Center for Transportation

Rachel Roper, AMPO

David Rouse, American Planning Association

Laurie Schintler, George Mason University

Dianne Schwager, Transportation Research Board

Spencer Shanholtz, George Mason Center for Regional Analysis

Egan Smith, FHWA

Ryan Snyder, Transpo Group

Richard Stein, Urban Decision Group

Jason Sudy, Side Street Planning

Aubrey Trinidad, ICMA

Jeffrey Tumlin, Nelson\Nygaard

Scott Turner, Nitsch Engineering

Stephanie Vance, Advocacy Associates

Kevin Vincent, Faraday Future

Rasheed Walford, Local Motors

Douglas Webster, Cisco

Norman Whitaker, Virginia Department of Transportation

Cheng Yan, FHWA

Erich Zimmermann, National Association of Regional Councils


Symposium Report: Preparing Communities for Autonomous Vehicles

This report summarizes insights gained from the symposium, including key issues for land use planning, transportation planning, and fiscal impacts. Included are detailed recommendations and helpful checklists on how to plan for AVs now as part of community visioning and goal setting plan making regulations, standards, and incentives; site design and development; and public investments. It also identifies future research needs and offers policy recommendations.

Research KnowledgeBase

Autonomous Vehicles Resource Collection

APA's Research KnowledgeBase connects APA members to curated collections of topically related resources — including plans, regulations, model codes, guidelines, articles, reports, and multimedia files. Each collection provides commentary and thematic groupings of resource records with bibliographic information, short descriptions, and links to the resources themselves. Each resource collection also has its own search tool for finding records that meet certain collection-specific criteria.

The autonomous vehicle collection summarizes the key challenges and opportunities associated with integrating self-driving vehicles into human settlements. It catalogs numerous resources that provide background research and policy guidance or demonstrate how local, regional, and state agencies are incorporating policy recommendations for autonomous vehicles into comprehensive or functional plans.

Symposium Video Recordings

Opening Keynote

Jeff Tumlin (Nelson\Nygaard) set a forward-looking, visionary tone for the day's discussions by establishing a common ground for the status of AV technology.

Equity and Access

Brooks Rainwater, Laurie Schintler, Jana Lynott, and Darnell Grisby considered how AV can expand access to healthcare, employment, education, and recreation for users of all ages, abilities, and incomes.

Transportation Network

Paul Mackie, Kevin Vincent, Stephen Buckley, and Paul Lewis discussed how AV will impact the transportation ecosystem.

Land Use & the Built Environment

David Rouse, Nico Larco, Lisa Nisenson, and David Dixon discussed the potential benefits and costs of widespread deployment of AV for cities and metropolitan regions.

Speakers, Panelists, and Moderators

Convening Organizations

American Planning Association

National League of Cities

Brookings Institution

Eno Transportation Center

Mobility Lab

George Mason University/Mobility E3


Kelley Coyner

Kelley Coyner serves as a senior fellow at the Center for Regional Analysis and Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. A veteran of public, private, and nonprofit sectors, Coyner has served at all levels of government and in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. She has served as an expert on a variety of transportation and performance evaluation research panels of the National Academy of Engineering and The Transportation Research Board. She has a long history in the transportation field, including service as the administrator of Research and Special Programs at the U.S. DOT. She is the former executive director of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and previously served as chief of staff to the National Capital Region's Senior Policy Group on homeland security and emergency management. A native Texan, Coyner holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a law degree from University of Virginia.


David Rouse, FAICP

David Rouse, FAICP, is a certified planner and registered landscape architect with over 30 years of private, public, and nonprofit sector experience in community planning, design, and implementation. As APA's research director, he oversees the Planning Advisory Service and the three National Centers for Planning (Green Communities, Hazards Planning, and Planning and Community Health). Prior to joining APA Rouse was a principal of WRT, a nationally recognized planning, urban design, landscape architecture, and architecture consulting firm based in Philadelphia.


Kenneth Petty

Kenneth Petty is the director for the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Office of Planning. He is responsible for leading and advocating for the statewide, metropolitan, rural, and tribal transportation planning program and is responsible for directing the development of policies, regulations, directives, and techniques to carry out the planning process. Prior to this position, Petty served as the Planning Capacity Building Team leader where he provided strategic direction in developing federal regulations and policies relating to the implementation of performance-based transportation planning programs. He develops and delivers products and services that provide information, training, and technical assistance to transportation professionals responsible for planning for the needs of the nation's surface transportation system. Petty has 21 years of experience with FHWA, including 15 years in the FHWA Office of Planning. He has a master's degree in accounting and finance from the University of the District of Columbia.

Keynote Speaker

Jeff Tumlin

As principal and director of strategy with Nelson\Nygaard, Jeff Tumlin is an expert in helping communities move from discord to agreement about the future. For more than 20 years, Tumlin has led award-winning plans in cities from Seattle and Vancouver to Moscow and Abu Dhabi. He helps balance all modes of transportation in complex places to achieve a community's wider goals and best utilize their limited resources. He has developed transformative plans throughout the world that accommodate millions of square feet of growth with no net increase in motor vehicle traffic. Tumlin is renowned for helping people define what they value and building consensus on complex and controversial projects. He provides residents and stakeholders the tools they need to evaluate their transportation investments in the context of achieving their long-term goals. He understands that managing parking and transportation demand is a critical tool for revitalizing city centers and creating sustainable places.


Brooks Rainwater

As senior executive and director of the National League of Cities' Center for City Solutions, Brooks Rainwater drives the organization's research agenda, leadership education, and community engagement efforts to help municipal leaders create strong local economies, safe and vibrant neighborhoods, world-class infrastructure, and a sustainable environment. As an advocate for strong local leadership, Rainwater often speaks and writes on the subject, and has published numerous reports and articles on innovative solutions that lead to vibrant and successful cities. His recent research and interests include advancements in technology and city innovation, the sharing economy, and how the rise of state preemption is impacting local authority.


Darnell Grisby

Darnell Grisby is an expert on the emerging urban mobility landscape and its impact on economic development. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio and other outlets. He is an experienced practitioner of the complete set of tools to influence policy. He was named among the "Top 40 Under 40' by Mass Transit magazine, a Next City Vanguard, is a graduate of the Urban Land Institute's Regional Land Use Leadership Program and has degrees from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a native of Riverside, California and currently resides in the walkable core of Washington, D.C.


Jana Lynott, AICP

Jana Lynott is responsible for the development of AARP policy related to livable communities adopted by the AARP Policy Council and Board of Directors. Lynott is the project director for AARP's Livability Index, a first-of-its-kind online tool designed to help communities better serve their residents across the lifespan. She received her master's in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia. She serves on the Transportation Research Board's Safe Mobility for Older Persons committee and the Transportation Cooperative Research Program's Development of Open Data Standards for Demand Responsive Transportation Transactions project panel.


Laurie Schintler

Laurie A. Schintler is an associate professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. At the school, she heads up the Digital Analytics Center at the Center for Organizational Performance and Integrity, and is an associate director of the Center for Study of International Medical Practices and Policies and director of the Transportation, Policy, Operations and Logistics master's program. Schintler is councillor-at-large for the Regional Science Association International and a founding member of the Regional Science Academy. She is also recipient of a patent for "System and method for analyzing the structure of logical networks" and co-founder of the company Fortiusone (Geoiq), a geospatial data intelligence company initially focused on developing analytical solutions and tools for homeland security. Schintler received her PhD in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.


Paul Mackie

Paul Mackie has been communications director at Mobility Lab since 2012. Previously he was climate change communications director at The Nature Conservancy and director of media relations at the World Resources Institute. Mackie has been quoted on transportation issues by USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, NPR, and many others. He has spoken at many conferences, including MIT's Disrupting Mobility, Innovate Raleigh, and various state and national transportation events. Mackie received the 2015 Excellence in Advocacy Award and 2013 Presidents Award from the Association of Commuter Transportation.


Stephen Buckley, AICP

Steve Buckley currently serves as the northeast regional manager for WSP's Planning, Environment and Traffic practices. Buckley is a licensed engineer and certified planner, and has over 20 years of experience in many aspects of the transportation industry, including design, operations, maintenance, policy, planning, programming, and funding. Buckley most recently served as general manager of transportation for the City of Toronto. Previously he led the Transportation Division of the Philadelphia Streets Department and was the director of policy and planning for the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities for the City of Philadelphia.


Paul Lewis

Paul Lewis is vice president of policy and finance at the Eno Center for Transportation. In that capacity, he directs Eno's policy research programs, including paper development and event organization. He received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Ohio Northern University and his M.S. Transportation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Kevin Vincent

Keith Vincent was chief counsel of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 2009 to 2015 as part of the Obama administration. He is currently director of regulatory and safety affairs for Faraday Future, a new California-based electric vehicle manufacturer.


David Dixon

David Dixon is a senior principal and urban design group leader at Stantec. Residential Architecture Magazine named Dixon to its Hall of Fame as "the person we call to ask about cities." In recent years he's led planning in post-Katrina New Orleans, transformed strip malls into new suburban downtowns, and initiated a broad reappraisal of the role of density in building more livable, resilient, and equitable communities. A sought-after expert in urban planning and design, Dixon is well known for helping create new, mixed-use urban districts (in both cities and suburbs) and the planning, revitalization, and redevelopment of downtowns.


Nico Larco

Nico Larco is an associate professor of architecture at the University of Oregon and is a co-founder and co-director of the Sustainable Cities Initiative, a nationally and internationally awarded, multidisciplinary organization that focuses on sustainability issues as they relate to the built environment. Larco's research focus is on sustainable urban design and how technological advances are changing city form and development. Larco has received numerous national and international awards for his work and was recently a Distinguished Fulbright Scholar in Spain.


Lisa Nisenson

Lisa Nisenson has 20 years of experience in sustainable city design and helping cities adopt innovation. She currently leads Alta Planning + Design's New Mobility Group and is founder of GreaterPlaces, a tech startup aggregating all aspects of city design in one site and forthcoming mobile app.


Linda Bailey

Linda Bailey is the executive director of NACTO. Prior to this position, she was the federal policy advisor for New York City Department of Transportation for six years, where she was also a key advisor for NACTO. In her role at NACTO, she works on policy initiatives based on member city priorities at the national and federal levels, which include everything from regulatory support for innovative design to automated vehicles. Before working for the City of New York, she worked for six years on national research projects regarding the intersection of the environment, health and transportation. Bailey has a master's degree in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan.


Brian Hoeft

Brian Hoeft is the the director of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada's Freeway & Arterial System of Transportation (FAST). He is also an instructor with the University of Phoenix and has taught coursework on intelligent transportation systems at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas.

Symposium attendees participated in a highly-interactive scenario planning exercise.

Related Work

As momentum grows on Capitol Hill and among industry leaders for AVs, APA is working on a variety of fronts to help planners prepare and to ensure good outcomes for local communities. To help shape federal legislation and regulatory action on AVs, the APA Legislative and Policy Committee is working on a set of policy principles that was released in early 2018.

In December 2017, Zoning Practice focused on the likely impacts of autonomous vehicle on local planners. Author Don Elliott, FAICP,  discussed the need to plan for a world in which the roads will be shared by AVs and non-AVs. It is available by subscription or individual-issue purchase.

In 2018, APA's Planning Advisory Service (PAS) will release a PAS Report on autonomous vehicles. This in-depth report by Timothy Chapin, Jeremy Crute, William Riggs, AICP, and Lindsay Stevens, AICP, will offer planning practitioners a detailed investigation of AV technology and the associated challenges and opportunities it poses for planning, the built environment, policymaking, and infrastructure. All APA members and PAS subscribers will be able to download the report for free, and non-members may purchase a PDF version of the report.

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