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The Montrose Avenue overpass in Chicago. Photo: Patrick Gorski/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Cities are souring on the controlled chaos of current ride-hailing systems, and fleet management systems could work in concert with policy and infrastructure to mitigate the issue.

Why it matters: If autonomous vehicles make ride-hailing cheaper and more efficient, city traffic could slow even further — but fleet management systems could help cities manage the challenge, ideally before AVs are widely deployed.

Background: As of January 2019, 36% of American adults have used Lyft or Uber — up from 15% in 2015 — and automakers are optimistic that AVs could be more widely deployed in the next few years, including in ride-hailing fleets.

The impact:

  • Inefficiencies in routing and communication mean vehicles are idling in city centers and taking congested paths between destinations.
  • Ride-hailing was responsible for half of the slowdown in San Francisco's traffic from 2010 to 2016, its transportation authority estimates. A new Transport Policy study found that the deployment of 2,000 AVs in downtown San Francisco could bring traffic speeds down to 2 miles per hour.

Fleet management software could route vehicles around dense, highly trafficked areas on alternative routes. AVs in particular will need to be routed around areas with heavy traffic from the get-go, because once in traffic, they will likely remain on their programmed route.

Yes, but: Fleet management technology can't be deployed at scale without more accurate maps, directions that factor in a vehicle's capabilities, and idle vehicle management.

  • Companies like Toyota and Deepmap are developing HD maps using existing data from test AVs already in use.
  • There are tasks AVs currently cannot perform, like navigating through a construction site. Routing vehicles around their own limitations will be crucial.
  • Routing vehicles away from cities' thoroughfares while they're awaiting their next passenger could involve infrastructural solutions paired with tech solutions, like waiting lots near popular downtown pick-up and drop-off points.

The bottom line: Fleet management could begin to address congestion now, and prevent it from becoming far worse as AVs are introduced.

Chris Blumenberg is the co-founder and CTO of rideOS, which is developing transportation planning and mapping technologies.

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People who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can take fewer precautions in certain situations, including socializing indoors without masks when in the company of low-risk or other vaccinated individuals, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Monday.

Why it matters: The report cites early evidence that suggests vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection, and are potentially less likely to transmit the virus to other people. At the time of its publication, the CDC said the guidance would apply to about 10% of Americans.

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Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tells "Axios on HBO" that if his company loses a lawsuit brought by the SEC, it would put the U.S. cryptocurrency industry at a competitive disadvantage.

Why it matters: Garlinghouse's comments may seem self-serving, but his call for clearer crypto rules is consistent with longstanding entreaties from other industry players.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt will not seek re-election in 2022

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Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), widely seen as a member of the Republican establishment in Congress, will not run for re-election in 2022, he announced on Twitter Monday.

Why it matters: The 71-year-old senator is the No. 4-ranking Republican in the Senate, and the fifth GOP senator to announce he will not run for re-election in 2022 as the party faces questions about its post-Trump future.