Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Planning Lab Envisions a Future with Automated Vehicles

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP) Florida Planning and Development Lab (FPDL) provides technical assistance and capacity to communities and institutions, acting as a consulting and research team on a wide range of issues related to innovative planning for sustainable growth and long-term viability. In taking on these studio projects, graduate students in the FPDL gain applied, place-based professional training in planning and urban design that proves valuable in their future job searches and career choices.

In the fall semester studio, FPDL students developed and facilitated sessions for the Florida Automated Vehicles (AV) Summit, held in Jacksonville, December 1-2, and attended by engineers, planners, and many others from across the state and the U.S.

The students ran visioning exercises based on table “games” they created to immerse participants in what the urban environment might look like when self-driving vehicles become a reality.

The project was part of the department’s ongoing research focus on automated vehicles. In 2014, the Florida Department of Transportation awarded a $300,000+ grant to DURP to study how AV (aka “robot car”) technologies could enhance mobility for aging populations and the transportation disadvantaged. DURP faculty members Michael Duncan, Tim Chapin, and Lindsay Stevens are the principal investigators on this research; Department of Geography Professor Mark Horner and some of his graduate students are also part of the team.

The FPDL has won several awards for its past studio projects. In 2013 and 2014, the studio won the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) Student Project Award for work on graduate student housing at Florida State University and the revitalization of Tallahassee’s College Park neighborhood. In 2015, the lab, under the direction of Planner-in-Residence Lindsay Stevens, won the award again for outstanding work on “Vision 19: A Catalyst for Change in The Harbors,” a project that focused on economic development for Pasco County, Florida. That project also earned FPDL the Florida Planning and Zoning Association 2015 Outstanding Study/Plan Award.

For more about the Florida Planning and Development Lab, visit this link.