City of Chamblee

Date: 
June 8, 2018

Shared Autonomous Vehicle Study

The City of Chamblee, in partnership with the City of Doraville, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), the Assembly Community Improvement District (CID), Stantec Consulting Services Incorporated, and Dr. Ellen Dunham-Jones (Director of the Urban Design program at Georgia Tech), will study the issues, technology, and best practices related to the use of Shared Autonomous Vehicles (SAV) for helping to address the first-/last-mile problem in relation to the Chamblee MARTA station. Using grant funding from Georgia Smart, the Chamblee team will ultimately prepare the community for an SAV pilot program, develop leadership in the implementation of such technology, and develop and share best-practices with other local governments.

Chamblee’s project is a follow-on from their previous work on SAV’s, which laid the foundation for the city’s Shared Autonomous Vehicle Feasibility and Concept Plan, as adopted by the City Council in April 2018. Among the plan’s goals are economic development through infrastructure investment, mobility equity through convenient multi-modal transit options, environmental stewardship through the reduction of vehicle emissions, and improvements to parking infrastructure and city densification. Using Georgia Smart’s grant, the city will expand on the work of their Phase I SAV study to include an exploration of the project’s impacts on sprawl, equity, safety, and public health, while also investigating funding models, regulatory impacts, and the “unknown unknowns” of SAV’s. The city will also develop an operations plan, conduct preliminary engineering, and best-practices, all while continuing to engage with the community through public meetings, city strolls, and other events.

Chamblee is also partnering with Georgia Tech professor Dr. Ellen Dunham-Jones to conduct research on the potential impacts of autonomous vehicle technology on land uses, on attracting next generation residents and employees, on expanding access to MARTA, on prioritizing of pedestrian and bicycle mobility to maintain the human scale in City streets, and on improving public health. Dr. Dunham-Jones’ research will focus on how Chamblee can leverage SAVs and the redevelopment opportunities they may provide to achieve its broader goals of livability and sustainable urban design.

The team has received support from Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman, who said “We believe the autonomous shuttle will cement [Chamblee and Doraville] as leaders in technology, while advancing our economic development goals for the Assembly development.” Ben Limmer, MARTA Assistant General Manager of Planning, also voiced his support, saying “This project pioneers solutions for transit connectivity and sets Chamblee out as a leader in autonomous shuttle technology not only in Georgia, but also the United States.”

Read Chamblee's Georgia Smart Proposal HERE