Jan 4, 2019

How to prevent AV curbside chaos

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Ride-share congestion at airports, stadiums and shopping malls may be foreshadowing the chaos at popular destinations if AVs begin making most pickups and dropoffs.

The big picture: As transportation options diversify to include more car-sharing, ride-sharing and AVs, cities will need to invest in new infrastructure to keep traffic flowing safely and smoothly at transportation hubs and other high-activity areas.

Background: Curbside management has become an issue, as ride-sharing has elevated accident risk and traffic congestion in pickup and dropoff zones. A proliferation of passenger AVs in urban areas could compound the problem.

  • In the short term, the "polite behaviors" of AVs, like yielding when cut off, could encourage drivers to more aggressively jockey for prized space on the road.
  • Longer term, “door-t0-door” service requests could overwhelm popular destinations, leading to designated dropoff points farther from destinations.

Where it stands: Many airports and large venues already have designated ride-sharing zones and systems of lanes and signage to help maintain order. But they will need to convert parking space into zones for loading and other uses, such as recharging areas that can be leased to AV fleet operators. These solutions could address congestion and also make up for venue losses in parking revenue.

  • Some airports and cities are currently exploring replacing their existing Automated People Mover systems with shared-use AVs that would operate on existing roads in order to save operational costs.

What's next: Eventually, high-density venues may opt for more distant dropoff zones connected to the venue by electric autonomous shuttles. These could provide "last-mile" transport and cut emissions levels.

  • In the near term, areas with needs for new parking garages should build them with this future in mind, so that the garages can be more easily converted to offices, apartments or other spaces as the need for parking declines.

Jim Barbaresso is SVP of intelligent transportation systems at HNTB, an infrastructure advisory firm.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 932,605 — Total deaths: 46,809 — Total recoveries: 193,177Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 213,372 — Total deaths: 4,757 — Total recoveries: 8,474Map.
  3. Business updates: Very small businesses are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus job crisis.
  4. World update: Spain’s confirmed cases surpassed 100,000, and the nation saw its biggest daily death toll so far. More than 500 people were reported dead within the last 24 hours in the U.K., per Johns Hopkins.
  5. State updates: Florida and Pennsylvania are the latest states to issue stay-at-home orders — Michigan has more than 9,000 confirmed cases, an increase of 1,200 and 78 new deaths in 24 hours.
  6. Stock market updates: Stocks closed more than 4% lower on Wednesday, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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World coronavirus updates: Spain's health care system overloaded

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Two planes with protective equipment arrived to restock Spain’s overloaded public health system on Wednesday as confirmed cases surpassed 100,000 and the nation saw its biggest death toll so far, Reuters reports.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 900,000 and the global death toll surpassed 45,000 early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy has reported more than 12,000 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

FBI sees record number of gun background checks amid coronavirus

Guns on display at a store in Manassas, Va. Photo: Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency via Getty

The FBI processed a record 3.7 million gun background checks in March — more than any month previously reported, according to the agency's latest data.

Driving the news: The spike's timing suggests it may be driven at least in part by the coronavirus.