Friday, May 19, 2017

Announcing the debut of Wiener Sausage: The Podcast!

(These are show notes from my short-lived and perhaps ill-fated podcast with Dan Sullivan. May it always at least live on here. Sigh.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Should delivery robots be allowed on sidewalks?

I'm quoted today by the San Francisco Chronicle (and MSN, Market Watch, Government Technology, and others; also subsequently quoted two days later by CityLab) on a topic I've discussed before representing Mobility Lab: should delivery robots be allowed on city sidewalks?

San Francisco, of all places, is considering such a ban. While better city planning in most places is needed to examine the best ways these R2D2s can be helpful and not a nuisance, they also could be an answer to the growing army of Amazon and UPS and other bigger delivery vehicles that more and more constantly block my bicycle path and can make traffic jams much worse.

Here's what I said:
A San Francisco ban is a bad idea, said Paul Mackie, a spokesman for Virginia’s Mobility Lab, which researches advanced transportation.
“The space-saving R2D2s could fix a lot of our traffic headaches caused by the ever-growing number of delivery vans and trucks that have to park illegally and dangerously to make their dropoffs,” he said in an email. “It doesn’t make any sense for San Francisco leaders to be going backwards like this.” 
So far, three cities — San Carlos, Redwood City and Washington — have approved robot deliveries, Mackie said. Virginia and Idaho also allow them, and Wisconsin has passed legislation now awaiting the governor’s signature to allow delivery robots to use sidewalks and crosswalks.