National Links: Your Best Friend the Autonomous Vehicle

Every day at The Direct Transfer we collect news about cities and send the links to our email list.  At the end of the week we take some of the most popular stories and post them to Greater Greater Washington, a group blog similar to that focuses on urban issues in the DC region.  They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

Autonomous cars are going to be our friends: In an attempt to make riders more comfortable in self-driving cars,  BMW has hired a psychologist to help design artificial intelligence that can… befriend passengers. In a wide ranging interview, BMW Board Director Peter Schwarzenbauer says he believes psychological barriers, not regulations, will be autonomous vehicles’ biggest hurdle. (Dezeen)

This is why the housing market is complicated: A lot of luxury homes are going up in major US cities with tight housing markets these days. With people of all kinds of incomes needing housing, why aren’t we building more moderately-priced homes to keep up with the demand? Think of it this way: Toyota makes and sells far more Camrys than Lexuses because a lot more people want mid-priced cars. But if the company could only make and sell one type of car, selling fewer Lexuses at a higher price would be a way to stay in business. (Rooflines)

We need diversity in architecture:  Curbed has put together a series on diversity in architecture, writing a number of articles on topics like influential black architects and the need for diversity in architecture school.  While 13% of Americans are black, only 2% of licensed architects are black with only 196 of 107,581 licensed architects being black women. (Curbed)

Roads. We only want to build roads: Republicans in California and Minnesota are looking to divert federal money allocated for major regional transit projects to state road projects now that they control the federal government. Two specific long-term projects in these states mark  big opportunities to push for zero federal funding for transit. (San Francisco Chronicle | Minneapolis Star Tribune)

A change in LA would be bad, but the status quo ins’t great either: If passed, a March 7th ballot measure called Measure S in Los Angeles would put a moratorium on development that increases density in the city for two years.  While most advocates in the region are against the proposal because it would limit most new development, the planning process’s status quo isn’t much better because it often ignores low income communities in a way that keeps prices rising and displacement happening.Voting against Measure S is the right thing to do, but it doesn’t begin to address the housing needs in the region. (Streetsblog LA)

Quote of the Week:

“It’s telling that this week’s bills target the bullet train only.  For example, SB 979 states that railroads are permitted to use eminent domain, with just one exception: if they’re developing or operating a high-speed rail project. Ridiculous.”

– The Dallas Morning News Editorial Board on legislation in Texas that would take away eminent domain powers from high speed rail planning.

Jeff Wood

About Jeff Wood

Jeff Wood is an urban planner focused on transportation and land use issues living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jeff blogs at The Overhead Wire and tweets @theoverheadwire. He also shares news links daily from around the country on issues related to cities at The Direct Transfer