Massachusetts Traffic and Pollution Likely to Worsen as Self-Driving Vehicles Hit the Road

New study identifies issues and opportunities in the transition to self-driving cars and trucks

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July 10, 2018 (BOSTON) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has released a report today that outlines the potential impacts of self-driving cars and trucks on Massachusetts communities in the coming years. The study determined that in the short-term, we can expect to see major increases in traffic congestion and air pollution as a result of the widescale adoption of these vehicles.

The report concludes that self-driving vehicles will be on the roads of Massachusetts as early as 2020, with widespread availability by 2023. CLF analyzed a host of potential scenarios, and the report details the impact this technology will have on issues such as traffic, safety, pollution and municipal and state revenues.

“Self-driving vehicles have the potential to drastically change the way we travel,” said Alyssa Rayman-Read, Vice President and Director of CLF Massachusetts. “We have an opportunity to prevent traffic nightmares and negative environmental impacts by enacting smart policies ahead of time. As the study illustrates, we can’t afford to wait.”

According to the report, the key to offsetting the negative traffic and pollution impacts will be incentivizing zero-emissions vehicles and ridesharing. The study also includes several other policy recommendations, including dealing with municipal budget shortfalls, improving public transportation, and investing in job training for professional drivers.

The full report can be found here.

CLF experts are available for further comment.