Australian infrastructure unprepared for autonomous vehicles: report

Australian property and infrastructure owners are not prepared for autonomous vehicles (AV), according to new research undertaken by design and consultancy firm Arcadis in partnership with the Committee for Sydney.Australian property and infrastructure owners are not prepared for autonomous vehicles (AV), according to new research undertaken by design and consultancy firm Arcadis in partnership with the Committee for Sydney.

The report, Are Sydney’s Property and Infrastructure Owners Prepared for Autonomous Mobility?, found that 100 per cent of respondents believed AVs will impact their assets, but only 10 per cent have a plan to address the new technology.

Private owners of commercial, residential, retail and mixed-used properties, as well as representatives of local and state governments were interviewed by the researchers. The value of the assets held by the interviewees is estimated at over $28 billion.

A further 65 per cent of respondents believe that AVs will impact their assets within five to 10 years with 65 per cent stating that AVs will require them to repurpose their assets, which could include turning parking stations into commercial spaces or demolition and rebuilding.

This lack of preparation risks significantly devaluing assets and means infrastructure owners could miss an opportunity to redevelop the asset for future use, according to the report.

Arcadis Australian Cities Director Stephen Taylor said the research found that those in charge of some of the largest assets are drastically underprepared for the impact of AVs on cities.

“We know they are coming and will impact our cities but those who own and operate our largest assets are either still grappling with what to do or are dragging their feet,” Mr Taylor said.

“What is needed is strong government leadership. We need a leaded petrol moment, where an end-date is set for the driving of analogue cars in our cities. This line in the sand will rapidly accelerate adoption and help our cities plan for an autonomous future.”

Committee for Sydney Executive Chairman Michael Rose AM said the fact that AVs will change cities and significant impact on communities.

“The reduction in on-road deaths and the ability to facilitate movement around our city with the efficiency of an algorithm will transform how we think about travel,” Mr Rose said.

“But this is not to say that all changes will be entirely positive. The Committee for Sydney has been concerned that there has not been enough thinking about how AVs will reshape where we live, where we work and the public realm around these places.

“Indeed – if we don’t consider the trajectory of this new technology, we run the risk of sleepwalking into a future that is hostile to good urban outcomes and great liveable places,” he said.


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