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Planning Lab Awarded for Autonomous Vehicle Project

July 26, 2018

A team of master's degree students in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning's Florida Planning and Development Lab (FPDL) has received an Award of Merit from the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) for the student project MPO Policy Guidance for Transit Applications of Automated Vehicles. This is the 6th award FPDL has received in the past seven years in the student project category.

The team, directed by Planner-in-Residence Dennis Smith and assisted by Senior Planner Jeremy Crute, will be recognized for their work at the APA Florida conference in West Palm Beach in September.

The studio team members are:
Marshall Anderson
Glennika Gordon
Chris Ibarra
Jenna Osbun
Ronnie Lee Shelly, Jr.
Ryan Wenger

The state of Florida is an early leader of autonomous vehicle (AV) policy, and is paving the way for transit agencies and local governments to begin operating these vehicles through legislation, including House Bill (HB) 7027, which requires all Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and all Transportation Planning Organizations (TPOs) in the State of Florida to consider AV technology in their Long Range Transportation Plans (LRTP).

The FPDL studio team was contracted by the Florida Department of Transportation during the Fall 2017 academic semester to develop guidance to help MPOs and TPOs throughout the State of Florida better plan for autonomous public transportation by addressing primary knowledge gaps necessary in order fulfill the requirements of HB 7027.

The studio report includes a literature review, a documentation of the team’s outreach efforts to thought leaders, an analysis and assessment of available technology applications, policy recommendations including model policy language for LRTP updates, and conceptual urban design images of how an autonomous public transportation system could look in different development contexts.

As it is imperative that MPO’s and TPO’s have the tools and understanding necessary to plan for this future, the studio team significantly contributed to the community of practice through their semester-long project.