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Letter: Driverless cars signal increased gas emissions

The upcoming workshop on driverless cars sponsored by the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency and the Congress for the New Urbanism seems to be seriously off track.

Instead of making plans to facilitate autonomous vehicles, what we need is sustainable transportation planning that prioritizes energy conservation and renewable energy to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. This is an immense almost-impossible challenge, requiring “all-hands-on-deck.”

The rush to introduce autonomous vehicles is a dangerous mistake and distraction.

Minimally, driverless cars and trucks should not be allowed on our roads until they are certified to be safe. While AV technology is now rapidly being introduced piecemeal by car manufacturers, no government agency is testing these vehicles. No independent third party can vouch for their safety.

The use of driverless cars could vastly increase the number of cars driving on our roads as owners instruct their AVs to drop them off or pick them up while otherwise riding empty.

We will need regulations banning this energy wasteful practice, not hailing it as the solution to the parking problem. Priorities please!

Walter and Nan Simpson


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