BikePGH Releases Autonomous Vehicle Survey Results

How do Pittsburgh Bicyclists and Pedestrians Feel about Sharing the Road With Autonomous Vehicles?

Autonomous Vehicle (AV) companies have been testing autonomous vehicles, and picking up passengers on Pittsburgh streets since September 2016 without any high profile incidents. For the most part, citizens and public officials have greeted them (and the AV industry in general) with open arms.

Additionally, the Federal Government officially designated Pittsburgh as one of ten “proving grounds” for AVs, with PennDOT citing Pittsburgh’s streets, bridges, tunnels and cyclists in its pitch. Since then, there has been an enormous growth of AVs on Pittsburgh streets, many of which, like Penn Ave and Smallman St through the Strip District, are popular cycling routes. 

However, after some reports about AV engineers falling asleep at the wheel, combined with complaints about AVs trickling into our inboxes at BikePGH, we felt that we needed to highlight and better understand this issue. Within these complaints some common themes emerged – people have no place to provide feedback on their interactions with AVs, nor with how they feel about being included in a potentially dangerous experiment.

We believe that the introduction of these vehicles to our streets deserves a larger conversation. So, we set out to design a survey to see both how our donor-members, and Pittsburgh residents at large, feel about about sharing the road with AVs as a bicyclist and/or as a pedestrian. 

We were interested in finding out about everything from how Pittsburghers who bike and walk feel about being designated an AV proving ground to how safe they feel biking and walking alongside human drivers and AVs. Additionally, we wanted to begin to collect people’s stories about their interactions with AVs, both the good and the bad.

Click here for full survey results

Admittedly, the results of the survey were surprising, and will influence how BikePGH will approach our work as it relates to AVs and keeping bike riders and pedestrians safe, which relies heavily on advocating for an urban form that puts people first not motorized vehicles.

We feel that this data is valuable for the public good. We have released the raw data to the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center (WPRDC) so that others can explore, process, and conduct new and different analyses.

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