Pittsburgh CAV design sprint

On 14 September 2016, Uber launched a fleet of autonomous test vehicles on the streets of Pittsburgh. Shortly after, we hosted our Pittsburgh Design Sprint at the offices of Green Building Alliance and Envision Downtown.

As the question of how we can reclaim and re-imagine our streets in an era of autonomous and connected vehicles was more urgent than in our other cities, we selected three quite different sites – all of them however representing a typical street in Pittsburgh: The junction of Carson Street and 25th Street, Fort Duquesne Boulevard, and the intersection of Walnut and College Street.

The Pittsburgh Sprint was attended by policy researchers, computer scientists, engineers, urban designers, government representatives, transport planners from Pittsburgh. They were complemented by a few sprinters from other US cities including Washington D.C., New York, and Chicago. We kicked-off the Sprint with introductions by Ray Gastil, Director of Pittsburgh City Planning and Bryan Salesky, former Director of Hardware Development Self-Driving Cars at Google and now CEO of Argo AI. With the view from planning and technology in mind, our sprinters put together their minds in small groups to reclaim the streets in Pittsburgh.

Ideas showed that urban designers challenged the views of those with expertise of the vehicle technology and vis-versa. One group created a “CARE zone” that would move away from today’s “CAR zone” and create a highly pedestrianized zone in the Walnut Street residential area. Another group aimed to transform East Carson Street into an urban boulevard and to redesign side streets into a network of green streets focused on pedestrian trails. It became rapidly clear that there is great potential to make Pittsburgh more walkable and bikeable – and less car-dependent.

To read more on the Design Sprint, click here.

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