Autonomous cars controlled by an artificial intelligence are increasingly being integrated in the transport portfolio of cities, with strong repercussions for the design and sustainability of the built environment. This paper sheds light on the urban transition to autonomous transport, in a threefold manner. First, we advance a theoretical framework to understand the diffusion of autonomous cars in cities, on the basis of three interconnected factors: social attitudes, technological innovation and urban politics. Second, we draw upon an in-depth survey conducted in Dublin (1,233 respondents), to provide empirical evidence of (a) the public interest in autonomous cars and the intention to use them once available, (b) the fears and concerns that individuals have regarding autonomous vehicles and (c) how people intend to employ this new form of transport. Third, we use the empirics generated via the survey as a stepping stone to discuss possible urban futures, focusing on the changes in urban design and sustainability that the transition to autonomous transport is likely to trigger. Interpreting the data through the lens of smart and neoliberal urbanism, we picture a complex urban geography characterized by shared and private autonomous vehicles, human drivers and artificial intelligences overlapping and competing for urban spaces.
Commuting patterns in Sub-Saharan African cities are evolving in tandem with rapid levels of historical urbanization. Yet, our understanding of how the prevailing urban spatial structures shape travel patterns is limited. This study explores the land-use-travel nexus in the Kumasi metropolis in Ghana, by focusing on work commuting. It uses newly available land-use datasets to present TAZ-level analysis of the distribution of land-use activity types. From a survey of a representative sample of 1158 workers, the characteristics of commuters and their travel patterns are examined. The analyses reveal a unique structure for the urban system, that is polycentric in both morphological and functional dimensions, but with a relatively stronger centre (i.e. CBD). Overall, home-work commute flows strongly reflect the prevailing spatial structure. Residence in suburban neighbourhoods; non-home-based employment locations; home-work distance exceeding 0.3 km; and relatively higher-incomes influence motorized transport choice and car-use for work journeys. Walking to work is strongly associated with lower-income levels, residence in historical-core neighbourhoods and home-based employment. The paper contributes to conceptualizing, theorising and understanding the spatial structure-travel nexus at the intra-urban scale by focusing on a previously unexplored urban context. The implications of the findings for integrated urban development and transportation planning are highlighted.
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