Chapter 4: Automated and autonomous public transportation
The very need for transportation has been viewed as a most basic one for human life (Clark 1958), and a review of the numerous currently available transportation technologies suggested that ‘access to transport remains unequal both within and between areas’ (Knowles 2006, 407). As we will see in Chapter 6, the upcoming introduction of AVs may reduce and possibly even eliminate altogether inequalities in people’s access to transport. The unevenness in transport applies to the differential levels of automation applied to public transportation means, as we will see in this chapter.
We discussed in Chapter 3 four major contemporary mobility/transportation means (cars, trains, airplanes, and boats) from the perspective of traffic control. In this chapter, we will turn to an elaboration on these same vehicles as public transportation media, with the exception of ships, which will be discussed mainly as freight movers. We will focus here on the automation of public transportation media, as well as on their possible autonomous operations. Automated diesel and electric buses will be excluded from our discussion in this chapter, since they will be highlighted in Chapter 6, focusing on AVs.
Automated operations, followed by autonomous ones, have been disseminated in public transportation for several decades, notably in urban rapid transit systems, as well as in the ‘driving’ of airplanes and ships, through the routine uses there of automatic pilots. In addition to these widely spread modes of automated operation, we will pay some attention in this chapter to trolleybuses and...
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