Role 7. Active Transportation Advocate

Your role during the stakeholder process is to represent the interests of pedestrians, bicyclists, and others who want meaningful access to active transportation options. Your primary concerns are related to safety and access for pedestrians and bicyclists if self-driving buses are integrated into the mass transit system. In recent years, the city has been increasing its investment in active transportation options, including a growing number of dedicated bike lanes and bicycle sharing programs. Many residents now walk and bicycle for commuting, health, and recreation purposes, and you are concerned that the city’s pursuit of self-driving buses might prioritize vehicle access over these pursuits.

Moving around the city as a bicyclist or pedestrian usually involves interacting with motorized vehicles, which in some cases can result in injury or death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “a pedestrian was killed every 1.5 hours in traffic crashes” on average in 2016.¹ It is thus critical that any system of transportation prioritize the safety of people who walk and bicycle. You suspect that autonomous vehicles might improve safety by removing some of the individual passenger cars from the road. However, you are not fully sure how to evaluate the safety of self-driving buses if they are going to be in close proximity to pedestrians and bicyclists.

As the active transportation representative, your main points of prioritization include:

  • Explaining the concern about whether autonomous vehicles can reliably detect and avoid pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Encouraging the city to prioritize infrastructure updates for active transportation such as fixing potholes, creating walkable sidewalks, and maintaining bike lanes
  • Describing how the use of the self-driving bus fleet might impact pedestrians and cyclists, including by potentially requiring them to purchase expensive equipment that improves the fleet’s ability to detect them
  • Explaining how the use of the self-driving bus fleet might discourage citizens from taking part in active transportation
  • Describing how the presence of the self-driving buses might negatively affect low income and minority populations


  1. 2016 Traffic Safety Facts: Pedestrians. (2018, March). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrived from

Supplemental Readings