Articles & Essays

The Relationship Between Social Innovation and Active Mobility Public Services

This article aims to discuss the relationship between social innovation and public services on active mobility. Two active mobility initiatives are considered in the city of São Paulo, and analyzed based on 11 variables that characterize social innovation. Through the mapping of recent Brazilian regulatory frameworks for active mobility and a low-carbon economy, we can propose the following relationship: the more local (municipal) the public policy, the greater its social influence and participation. However, despite the advances indicated by both experiences of active mobility analyzed (highlighting the role of organized civil society), and by the progress in the regulatory framework, until now innovative practices in the local context have been restricted to the treatment of pedestrian spaces. Therefore, there exists a great potential for the continued introduction of innovations in the improvement and scale of public services for pedestrian mobility, following the paradigm of sustainable urban mobility, and based on social participation.

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Who Gets to Operate on Herbie? Right to Repair Legislation in the Context of Automated Vehicles

By Jennifer J. Huseby
You bought it, you own it, but do you have the right to repair it? As right-to-repair remains a hot topic in the context of consumer electronics such as smartphones, one must consider the ramifications it may have for the automated vehicle (“AV”) industry. As the backdrop for one of the first legislative victories for right-to-repair, the automobile industry has continued to push for the expansion of right-to-repair to cover increased access to telematics and exceptions to proprietary software controls. However, as we revisit the issue for more highly connected and automated vehicles, it is important to assess the unique considerations of the AV sector before we can transpose previously learned lessons into a new, nearly unpredictable context.

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Innovation in a Legal Vacuum: The Uncertain Legal Landscape for Shared Micro-mobility

By David Pimentel, Michael B. Lowry, Timothy W. Koglin, and Ronald W. Pimentel

The last few years have seen an explosion in the number and size shared micro-mobility systems (“SMMS”) across the United States. Some of these systems have seen extraordinary success and the potential benefit of these systems to communities is considerable. However, SMMS have repeatedly ran into legal barriers that either prevent their implementation entirely, confuse and dissuade potential users, or otherwise limit SMMS’s potential positive impact.

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How Reporters Can Evaluate Automated Driving Announcements

This article identifies a series of specific questions that reporters can ask about claims made by developers of automated motor vehicles (“AVs”). Its immediate intent is to facilitate more critical, credible, and ultimately constructive reporting on progress toward automated driving. In turn, reporting of this kind advances three additional goals. First, it encourages AV developers to qualify and support their public claims. Second, it appropriately manages public expectations about these vehicles. Third, it fosters more technical accuracy and technological circumspection in legal and policy scholarship.

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(Re)Writing the Rules of The Road: Reflections from the Journal of Law and Mobility’s 2019 Conference

On March 15th, 2019, the Journal of Law and Mobility, part of the University of Michigan’s Law and Mobility Program, presented its inaugural conference, entitled “(Re)Writing the Rules of The Road.” The conference was focused on issues surrounding the relationship between automated vehicles (“AVs”) and the law. In the afternoon, two panels of experts from academia, government, industry, and civil society were brought together to discuss how traffic laws should apply to automated driving and the legal person (if any) who should be responsible for traffic law violations. The afternoon’s events occurred under a modified version of the Chatham House Rule, to allow the participants to speak more freely. In the interest of allowing those who did not attend to still benefit from the day’s discussion, the following document was prepared. This document is a summary of the two panels, and an effort has been made to de-identify the speaker while retaining the information conveyed.

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Vehicle Rental Laws: Road Blocks to Evolving Mobility Models?

By Wesley D. Hurst and Leslie J. Pujo
The laws and regulations governing mobility are inconsistent and antiquated and should be modernized to encourage innovation as we prepare for an autonomous car future. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has concluded that Autonomous Vehicles, or Highly Automated Vehicles (“HAVs”) may “prove to be the greatest personal transportation revolution since the popularization of the personal automobile nearly a century ago”. Preparation for a HAV world is underway as the mobility industry evolves and transforms itself at a remarkable pace. New mobility platforms are becoming more convenient, more automated and more data driven—all of which will facilitate the evolution to HAVs. However, that mobility revolution is hindered by an environment of older laws and regulations that are often incompatible with new models and platforms.

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Let’s Be Reasonable: The Consumer Expectations Test Is Simply Not Viable to Determine Design Defect for Complex Autonomous Vehicle Technology

Although highly automated vehicles (“HAVs”) have potential to reduce deaths and injuries from traffic crashes, product liability litigation for design defects in vehicles incorporating autonomous technology is inevitable. During the early stages of implementation, courts and juries will be forced to grapple with the application of traditional product liability principles to a never before experienced category of highly technical products. Recent decisions limiting the use of the consumer expectations test in cases involving complex products prompted the authors to examine more closely the history behind and the future viability of the consumer expectations test in HAV litigation.

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Title 2.0: Discrimination Law in a Data-Driven Society

By Bryan Casey
More than a quarter century after civil rights activists pioneered America’s first ridesharing network, the connections between transportation, innovation, and discrimination are again on full display. Industry leaders such as Uber, Amazon, and Waze have garnered widespread acclaim for successfully combating stubbornly persistent barriers to transportation. But alongside this well-deserved praise has come a new set of concerns. Indeed, a growing number of studies have uncovered troubling racial disparities in wait times, ride cancellation rates, and service availability in companies including Uber, Lyft, Task Rabbit, Grubhub, and Amazon Delivery.

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The Airwaves Meet The Highways

By David Redl
I applaud and congratulate the University of Michigan for launching the Journal of Law and Mobility. The timing is perfect. The information superhighway is no longer just a clever metaphor. We are living in an era where internet connectivity is a critical part of making transportation safer and more convenient.

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The Deterrence Case for Comprehensive Automaker Enterprise Liability

Automobiles are much safer today than they used to be. Perhaps the best illustration of this fact is the decades’ long decline in the number of auto-related deaths per-mile-driven. And yet motor vehicles—including cars, trucks, and SUVs— continue to be among the most dangerous products sold anywhere. Automobiles pose a larger risk of accidental death than any other product, except perhaps for opioids.

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