Massachusetts looking into the future of driving, self-driving cars a possibility


Imagine infrastructure for driverless cars in Massachusetts. Self-driving cars, pollution, and technology are all being considered as we head into the future of driving. 

The Governor’s Commission on the future of transportation held a listening session Tuesday at UMass Amherst, to talk about self-driving cars and the future impacts of transportation. 

“We want to hear from the public on what they think we should be looking at and what information they want to bring to our attention,” Stephanie Pollack from The Massachusetts Department of Transportation said. 

Governor Charlie Baker created the “transportation commission” in January to look into the state’s needs and challenges. The 18-member commission will explore changes in technology, climate, land use, and the economy. 

“We need to be embracing new technology moving forward but considering some of the challenges we face today like traffic safety,” Mike Knodler from the UMass Transportation Center said. “Forty thousand people are still dying in traffic crashes, so how do we mitigate that while we continue to provide the daily needs of transportation.”

Tuesday’s meeting was one of five listening sessions that will address concepts and policy. Each session will feature presentations to evaluate how technology and other forces in society will affect transportation in the decades to come.  

“This is an area where cars are moving very fast and it’s very helpful to have the expertise of people who really are full time engaged in thinking about that future,” Pollack said.

The next listening session will be held at Clark University in Worcester on June 11.

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