Movability's Membership and Professional Services Director, Alix Scarborough, and her husband recently rode in a self-driving Lyft.

Autonomous Cars and TDM: Guest Article by Movability Member HNTB

As cities grow and commutes become longer, many are wondering if autonomous vehicles – also called self-driving vehicles – could provide a solution to gridlock. More and more Americans are thinking about how autonomous vehicles might fit into a transportation landscape: 52 percent of Americans are familiar with or knowledgeable about self-driving vehicles, according to a new HNTB America THINKS national public opinion survey.

HNTB’s latest survey, Sharing the Road with Autonomous Vehicles-2019, found that among those familiar with autonomous vehicles, 58 percent believe they will be commonplace on America’s streets and highways within 10 years. In addition, 57 percent of this group are willing to ride in them, and slightly more than half (51 percent) believe they are safer than people-driven vehicles.

“As we become more knowledgeable about, and comfortable with, autonomous vehicles, people will begin to recognize and value the economic and social benefits offered by these technologies,” said Jim Barbaresso, HNTB’s intelligent transportation systems national practice leader and senior vice president.

While it’s hard to know exactly how they will fit into cities’ mobility, transportation experts in Austin are hoping autonomous vehicles can become part of a city that’s not dependent on drive-alone vehicle trips.

By replacing drive-alone car trips with mobility options, from carpooling to transit, the burden on roads is reduced and traffic flows more smoothly. Some transportation network companies are already experimenting with autonomous vehicles. Movability’s Membership and Professional Services Director, Alix Scarborough, recently tried out a self-driving Lyft on a trip to Las Vegas! Some transit agencies are also experimenting with self-driving vehicles.

The City of Austin’s Smart Mobility Program is also actively fostering partnerships to carry out real-world testing of smart mobility technology, such as shared, autonomous, connected and electric vehicles. Recent efforts include cooperation with Capital Metro and RATP Dev USA to pilot autonomous transit in Austin and participation in the Texas Innovation Alliance’s statewide automated vehicle procurement.

About the survey

HNTB’s America THINKS survey, Sharing the Road with Autonomous Vehicles-2019, polled a random nationwide sample of 1,018 Americans, ages 18 and older, between April 5 and April 8, 2019. It was conducted by Russell Research, which used an email invitation and online survey. Quotas were set to ensure reliable representation of the entire U.S. population ages 18 and over. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.

About HNTB

HNTB Corporation is an employee-owned infrastructure firm serving public and private owners and contractors. Celebrating 105 years of service in the United States, HNTB understands the life cycle of infrastructure and addresses clients’ most complex technical, financial and operational challenges. Professionals nationwide deliver a full range of infrastructure-related services, including award-winning planning, design, and program and construction management. For more information, visit, or follow HNTB on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.