The autonomous vehicle sector in the Mountain West is creating jobs, improving safety, increasing mobility, expanding accessibility, and fighting global warming by reducing emissions. This is the future our organization is working to deliver to more communities.
With the right federal support, the autonomous vehicle industry in the Mountain West will create even more jobs in areas like technology development, vehicle servicing, fleet management, and other professions.
In the region today, companies have already invested millions of dollars in new facilities. These investments have helped create hundreds of jobs with potentially tens-of-thousands more on the way.
In Arizona, for example, an analysis by the Arizona Chamber Foundation found that industry investments at current levels over the next six years could lead to 39,000 new direct jobs, 35,000 new downstream jobs, and $4.3 billion in economic output. This level of investment would also result in $350 million in new tax revenues for state and local governments. Other states could see similar levels of jobs created in their AV industries.
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With the right federal support, self-driving vehicles will make roads throughout the region safer by reducing crashes.
In 2019, 36,096 people lost their lives in traffic crashes on U.S. roads.
Self-driving cars do not get distracted or drive drunk. They also offer an alternative means of transportation for seniors whose driving skills may decline, or teens who lack experience and confidence on the road.
With the right federal support, self-driving vehicles will offer increased mobility to additional wheelchair users, the blind, people with other disabilities and seniors who are unable to drive themselves.
A Bureau of Transportation Statistics survey found that six million people with disabilities lack access to the transportation they need. For these Americans, transportation barriers create difficulty finding a job or accessing health care, and they lead to increased isolation.
Autonomous vehicles will close the accessibility gap and offer all Americans a pathway to fully participate in society. As just one of the many benefits, a white paper by the Ruderman Family Foundation and Securing America’s Future Energy found that “mitigating transportation related obstacles” for people with disabilities through technology like self-driving cars could open up 2 million employment opportunities to people with disabilities.
With the right federal support, self-driving cars will provide additional transportation opportunities for more communities that lack transit or ride-share connectivity. They will also help deliver groceries, food, medicine, and other products to families who do not have easy access to fresh, healthy food or pharmacies.
The Mountain West is home to many cities with “transit deserts,” or areas of a city where residents have difficulty getting to and from a job, doctor or other location using public transportation. Denver, Tucson, Phoenix, and Colorado Springs are just some of the cities in the region with these issues. Autonomous vehicles have the power to link citizens in these transit deserts with public transit networks.
Self-driving cars offer a similar promise when it comes to bringing groceries to food deserts, areas underserved by grocery stores and where fresh, healthy food is difficult to access. Nuro, for example, is developing a self-driving vehicle designed to deliver groceries and other products on demand. These vehicles will reduce delivery costs and make on-demand groceries accessible to everyone.
With the right federal support, self-driving vehicles will help more communities reduce carbon emissions and help combat climate change.
Researchers have concluded that a future that includes shared, electric, self-driving cars could see greenhouse gas emissions cut by 80 percent.
There are many reasons a self-driving future will be better for the environment. First, most autonomous vehicles produced today are electric and better for the environment than gas powered vehicles. Second, by eliminating human tendencies for late braking, high-speed travel, and overzealous acceleration, self-driving cars use significantly less energy than vehicles driven by humans. Finally, a future that includes self-driving cars will also mean fewer vehicles on the road and fewer overlapping trips traveled.