Lecture: Street Design in an Age of Autonomous and Connected Vehicles


There is a real need for planners, designers, and policy makers to think about and anticipate the potential impacts of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) within the cities in which we live and work. While it is unclear how fast they are becoming business as usual, it is almost impossible to ignore that CAVs will be a key mode of transport in the medium to long term. To explore the opportunities that CAVs bring, BuroHappold Engineering launched a series of Global Design Sprints to bring together a diverse group of people with different backgrounds and expertise to solve a problem by thinking collaboratively, innovatively and creatively; in this case, the specific question is: How can urban streets be reclaimed in an era of connected and autonomous vehicles?

Urban planner and sustainability strategist Chris Rhie of BuroHappold will provide an overview of this outcome-driven process that has engaged global audiences about the fundamental policy, social, design, and technology issues that lay ahead of us and need to be solved, taking into account different users and various types of CAVs that may exist. With insights from the process, he will discuss what CAVs mean for our cities and how we can design for a public realm that improves the quality of life in our cities by realizing the opportunities of CAVs and alleviating the risks they might pose.

Instructors: Chris Rhie, Senior Consultant, BuroHappold Engineering

Christopher Rhie is an urban planner and sustainability strategist at BuroHappold Engineering. With a background in public policy, urban design, and environmental management, Christopher has extensive experience with the development of sustainability and climate action plans for city and county governments, as well as colleges and universities across the United States. His recent projects include the comprehensive land use and climate action plans for the City of Cambridge (MA), New York City’s Roadmap to 80x50, the Los Angeles County Sustainability Plan, and Design Sprints on Connected and Autonomous Vehicles in Boston and Los Angeles. Prior to joining BuroHappold, Christopher worked on climate action initiatives as an energy analyst at the City of New York and the City of Oakland. Originally from Hartford, CT, Christopher holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University and master’s degrees in city planning and real estate development from MIT. Christopher is currently serving as an Urban Design Co-Chair at the APA New York Metro Chapter, a Mentor at the URBAN-X city solutions accelerator, and an On-Call Advisor to STAR Communities.