National Society of Black Engineers

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Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, 10:15 – 11:30 a.m.

Autonomous, or self-driving, vehicle (AV) technology may be the most significant innovation in transportation since the mass introduction of automobiles in the early 20th century. Whether the widespread adoption of self-driving vehicles results in positive outcomes in the years ahead will depend largely on how public policy guides the introduction of this emerging technology today. The potential benefits include safer roads, more affordable transportation, improved access to jobs, and a cleaner, healthier environment. Without well-crafted policy, though, self-driving vehicles could increase vehicle miles traveled and global warming emissions, worsen congestion, exacerbate air pollution, and put millions of Americans out of work (UCS 2017).

Considering the incoming introduction of these vehicles on the roads,the goal of this workshop is to educate participants about (1) the current state of AV technology; (2) policy implications, and; (3) ways the cars could help or hurt with reducing congestion, reducing environmental emissions, and providing access to people who regularly do not have access to transportation. Using an exercise that will involve role playing as policymakers, attendees will have a better sense of how to implement the introduction of these cars in the most ideal way and be encouraged to visit their local transportation planning organizations to advocate for an equitable introduction of AVs in their cities. 

About the Presenter


Dr. Richard Ezike currently works on the impact of new mobility technologies on transportation equity as a Kendall Fellow at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Prior to that he served as a Transportation Fellow with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. He received his bachelor’s in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University, then went on to receive his Master’s and doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan, where he conducted research on reducing pollutants from diesel-powered cars. He is active in the community and is a longtime member of the Northern Virginia Urban League Young Professionals Network and the Washington DC Professional Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, where he currently serves as President.


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