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✊🏙 Self-driving Tesla kills driver ☠️ Cuomo rejects congestion pricing 👎 Housing crisis hurts mental health 😔

Hey urbanists! I'm switching things up a little this week. Instead of simply listing articles in the
April 1 · Issue #27 · View online
Radical Urbanist
Hey urbanists!
I’m switching things up a little this week. Instead of simply listing articles in the standard format, I’ve added some additional commentary throughout and short text links at the end to more great reads that don’t fit into the main sections. I hope you like it!
There were more revelations about Uber’s self-driving program this week, along with news that a Tesla on Autopilot has killed another person. I also took a look at other negative outcomes that may result from a possible shift to driverless vehicles: ad dependence and increased sprawl.
It looks like NY Gov. Cuomo dropped his support for congestion pricing and wants to pursue value capture, so I’ve included articles on all that, and there are a couple of interesting reads about how London’s housing crisis is negatively affecting the lives and mental health of residents.
As always, have a great Sunday, and happy Easter and joyous Passover to those who celebrate!

More self-driving vehicle concerns
Two weeks ago, an Uber self-driving test vehicle fatally struck a pedestrian, setting a new (and tragic) milestone in the history of the technology. Last week, I shared some articles about how the crash illustrates that self-driving vehicles may not be as safe as we were led to believe and that the business models of some companies are driving them to sacrifice safety in order to catch up.
Since then, there have been a string of revelations that present a damning picture of Uber’s self-driving vehicle program.
  • Uber’s vehicles in Tempe, Arizona struggled to go 13 miles (21km) before requiring human intervention, compared to 5,600 miles (9,000km) for Waymo’s California vehicles. The Arizona division had also cut back on safety drivers and were pushing hard to be able to show off their progress for the CEO in April. (NYT)
  • Since the crash, there have been questions about how the LiDAR sensors failed to detect the pedestrian. It’s been revealed that when Uber switched from Ford Fusions to Volvo XC90s, the number of LiDAR sensors dropped from seven to just one on top of the vehicle, leaving more blind spots, and the number of cameras dropped from twenty to seven. (Reuters)
  • People who have worked as safety drivers in autonomous vehicles are describing their concerns about the vehicles and how their working conditions made a crash inevitable. (CityLab)
Uber has settled with the family and stopped testing its driverless vehicles on public roads. It also announced it won’t renew its self-driving license in California. On March 23, there was another fatal crash by a Tesla vehicle on Autopilot, marking the second time a Tesla vehicle has killed its driver.
Autopilot was engaged during fatal Model X crash: Tesla
Jarrett Walker
For our cities, the crucial automated vehicle technology is the driverless bus, not the luxury driverless car.
Here’s the real nightmare scenario for self-driving cars
Why self-driving cars will cause sprawl (according to an Italian Physicist)
How will the MTA be funded?
Value Capture Replaces Congestion Pricing as Governor Cuomo's Subway Funding Fix Value Capture Replaces Congestion Pricing as Governor Cuomo's Subway Funding Fix
In issue 17, we looked at Cuomo’s congestion pricing plan and how even Mayor Bill De Blasio seemed to support it. However, it appears Cuomo has trashed the plan, first by suggesting there be a for-hire vehicle fee instead of full congestion pricing, and now by presenting value capture as an alternative.
Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of Partnership for New York City, a non-profit representing 300 CEOs of major companies, has written in support of the value capture plan, while a new piece by Justin Davidson makes the argument for congestion pricing. Arguably the most successful value capture is undertaken by Hong Kong’s transit agency, though it owns much of the land and property around transit hubs.
On a related note, the high construction costs of MTA projects has drawn a lot of attention lately (see issues 15 and 20), though it’s worth noting this is a problem in many US cities. Congress has set up an inquiry to examine the costs, and I only hope it comes back with constructive recommendations, not those driven by an agenda to further privatize public services.
Dark side of life in London
Mental health is the hidden cost of the housing crisis
London has numbed me to everything and I have lost all sense of wonder
A few more reads
🚅 Despite media attacks and budget increases detailed in issue 24, 53% of Californians still support high-speed rail.
📱 A Facebook group making urbanist memes has grown to 62,000 members.
🚙 Waymo is buying 20,000 electric Jaguar I-Pace vehicles for delivery by 2020.
🌳 Cute floating public spaces are coming to Copenhagen!
🇨🇦 Toronto’s new chief planner, Gregg Lintern, is prioritizing transit and affordable housing.
We’re not building more roads and we cannot rely on the automobile as a 21st century transportation solution … Weaning ourselves off of that philosophy is a long journey for the city of Toronto — a long, winding road.
— Gregg Lintern, Toronto chief planner
✊️❤️ Thanks for reading, and feel free to follow me on Twitter, Medium, or Instagram for even more!
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