Global Design Sprints: Urban Streets in the Age of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles
Anna Rothnie, Buro Happold
Our first Global Design Sprints, held in seven cities across the world, considered the question: how can urban streets be reimagined and reclaimed through the introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles?
BuroHappold’s Global Design Sprints are a thought leadership on the topic of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) project pioneered and carried out by a small team of Transport and Mobility Consultants, City Planners and Researchers within BuroHappold.
Our Design Sprints are workshops with a process designed to allow interdisciplinary teams to develop ideas and concepts collaboratively and then prototype them within a restricted time period. Our first Global Design Sprints, held in seven cities across the world, considered the question: how can urban streets be reimagined and reclaimed through the introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles?
The Design Sprints have shown that CAVs raise different hopes and concerns depending on the cultural context of the city in which the Sprint is held. Londoners were keen to use CAVs to help create adaptable spaces – in a likely bid to make the most of high value land within the centre of the city. Riyadh sprinters looked to split land uses, including separating road users from pedestrians. And Sprinters in Berlin seemed concerned about CAVs detracting from investment in public transport, looking to ensure their highly developed public transport system is not overtaken by a system of CAVs.
Thus, the Design Sprints clearly demonstrated that any approach dealing with the spatial impacts of CAVs will need to take into account the specific urban context. One-size-fits-all approaches will need to take into account the cultural behaviour, the physical urban fabric, and regulatory mechanisms of each city.
The value resulting from our Sprints is that they have created awareness of the opportunities and risks of our cities in the age of CAVs, and have enabled the development of potential solutions to mitigate the risks, including custom-made solutions that respond to each city’s individual mobility challenges. This can help us, as consultants, to assist policy makers in visualizing the potential impacts of their policy decisions, and therefore inform how they develop.
Association for European Transport