Stories by Laura Fraade-Blanar

Expert Voices

AVs could improve transportation access in "transit deserts"

Illustration of a road with a middle section highlight in red, with a red car speeding on it
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More large U.S. cities are seeing their outer reaches turn into transit deserts, where demand for transportation vastly exceeds supply.

The big picture: Economic inequality and urban sprawl have contributed to the problem, which generates barriers to health care access, employment and even everyday shopping. Connecting public transit systems with automated vehicles — whether in ride-sharing or shuttle services — could offer one solution.

Expert Voices

How to make roads safer for AVs

Illustration of an unfastened seat belt, with the belt replaced with a road
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

No matter how much developers test AVs, the world will still present unforeseen circumstances for vehicles to navigate. Researchers and policymakers want to mitigate these risks by making roadways more accommodating of mistakes.

The big picture: Road safety policy can help offset these challenges and better plan for AV deployment, particularly the Safe System approach that originated as part of Sweden's 1997 Vision Zero initiative. Countries that have implemented similar policies have seen declines in traffic fatalities, and others could follow their models.

Expert Voices

How AVs could provide independence for older drivers

Man looking into the window of an SUV
Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Older adults continue driving until the last 6 to 10 years of their lives, though their ability to safely operate a vehicle may diminish because of illness, limited mobility or side effects of medication.

The big picture: The U.S. has 47 million adults 65 and over — a number that is only expected to grow — and 80% of them hold a driver’s license and live in areas that require a car to get around. Autonomous vehicles have the potential to remake older drivers' golden years by allowing them to maintain independence while still giving up their car keys.