Is Self-Driving Technology The Best Thing To Hit Pittsburgh Since Steel? Local Business Groups Think So

Major economic development groups in Pittsburgh recently released a hefty report that outlines a plan for turning southwestern Pennsylvania into a global powerhouse in the autonomous mobile systems industry…

The technology itself is also relevant, Carnegie Mellon civil and environmental engineering professor Corey Harper noted. And it remains an open question how autonomous vehicles will impact communities, he said. Passengers could use the vehicles as part of a more accessible and efficient transit system – or the vehicles could overcrowd roadways and impede public transportation systems.

“One thing we don’t want to do is make some of the same mistakes we made in the past,” Harper said. The interstate highway system, he noted, uprooted entire communities when it cut through predominantly low-income and minority neighborhoods.

This time around, he said, “We want to make sure that we’re not … exacerbating social inequalities that already exist in our transportation system. There’s a big need for input and engagement from community organizations.”