Volume 20, Issue 2, August 2019
The Philosophical Dimensions of Urban Transportation
Transportation Planning for Automated Vehicles—Or Automated Vehicles for Transportation Planning?
In recent years, philosophical examinations of automated vehicles have progressed far beyond initial concerns over the ethical decisions that pertain to programming in the event of a crash. In turn, this paper moves in that direction, focusing on the motivations behind efforts to implement driverless vehicles into urban settings. The author argues that the many perceived benefits of these technologies yield a received view of automated vehicles. This position holds that driverless vehicles can solve most if not all urban mobility issues. However, the problem with such an outlook is that it lends itself to transportation planning for automated vehicles, rather than using them as part of planning efforts that could serve urban mobility. Due to this condition, present efforts aimed at improving transportation systems should resist dogmatic thinking. Instead, they should focus on goals that keep topics such a human flourishing, sustainability, and transportation justice firmly in view.