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Cityscape: Volume 18 Number 3 | Choice and Speculation



Volume 18, Number 3

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Choice and Speculation

Lisa Schweitzer
University of Southern California

Speculation about how driverless vehicle technology will transform cities appears just about everywhere. As a transportation scholar, I often am asked to join in, but I have a problem with doing so. According to most speculation, driverless technologies will “transform” things. Technology is always the actor, like some unalterable force that sets the terms by which cities and human life will unfold. Individuals, governments, and businesses have choices about how they create, sell, and use technology, however, even if that technology promises to be important. We have choices about how we distribute the benefits and burdens wrought by driverless vehicle technology. Those social, economic, and political choices can influence human life in cities just as much as, if not more than, the technology changes, and those choices will shape the technology as much as the technology will inform and influence choice.

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