Nashville chosen for self-driving car initiative by Bloomberg

A group of self driving Uber vehicles position themselves to take journalists on rides during a media preview at Uber's Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. Starting Wednesday morning, Sept. 14, 2016 dozens of self-driving Ford Fusions will pick up riders who opted into a test program with Uber. While the vehicles are loaded with features that allow them to navigate on their own, an Uber engineer will sit in the driver’s seat and seize control if things go awry. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nashville could see more driverless cars in the very near future.

Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute are leading a year-long effort with Nashville and other select cities to accelerate their efforts to prepare for autonomous vehicles.

Nashville MTA recently adopted a $6 billion, 25-year transit plan that includes four light-rail lines among other technological upgrades. Erin Hafkenschiel, Director of Transportation for Mayor Megan Barry, says Nashville needs to be prepared for a future with autonomous vehicles as well.

Hafkenschiel said she and Mayor Barry do not believe autonomous vehicles will solve all of Nashville traffic issues. However, they do hope that the so-called “driverless cars” will provide mobility solutions to more people including seniors, those with disabilities and other people who not have access to transportation they need.

At the CityLab conference – an annual meeting for the world’s most creative mayors, academics, artists, and others focused on improving cities – philanthropist and three-term New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, “The advent of autonomous cars is one of the most exciting developments ever to happen to cities – and if mayors collaborate with one another, and with partners in the private sector, they can improve people’s lives in ways we can only imagine today.”

Mayor Barry will speak at the CityLab conference Tuesday at 1:35 p.m.

The Bloomberg Aspen Initiative should help Nashville develop solutions that maximize the benefits of autonomous vehicles and policies that encourage shared, electric, automated vehicles..

The other cities taking part in the initiative are Austin, Texas; Buenos Airies, Argentina; Los Angeles, USA; Paris, France.