Compared to what?
Our environment - air, water, land, weather, and wildlife - transcends our lives, the lives of our ancestors, and the lives of our descendants. As we seek to improve the quality of our transportation systems, Davius cautions us to consider the environmental impact of our decisions. The CAV-Systems approach is faithful to Davius' guidance as explained below.
One part of a transition plan, progressing from where we are today (no CAVWAYs) to implemented, operational CAV-Systems, will be to reuse right-of-way currently allocated to freeways. Laying mass-transit over well-traveled routes will reduce 1) the acquisition and destruction of open space and wildlife-habitat, 2) the need to pour concrete to create additional traffic lanes, and 3) the use of eminent domain and new construction in urban areas.
Congestion pricing, in vogue in New York City and Los Angeles to encourage reductions in peak-time travel, will lessen the pressure to widen freeways.
Improved ConOps, including platooning, constant speeds and spacing, and continual traffic flow, are energy-efficient as are ride-sharing and reduced vehicle weight. The latter will result from a reduction in the perceived need to build heavy vehicles to survive collisions. Service providers will be able to size buses to traveler demands of time/place.
Electric or Gasoline powered?
Question: Aren't all Autonomous Vehicles electric (EVs)?
Answer: There is no reason to assume that. The power source for CAVs in CAV Systems should be the most advantageous under the circumstances. The power source that is most readily available and economical would be the source of choice. Future CAVs may be hybrids which would make them readily adaptable.
Dramatic improvements in safety will reduce collisions and thereby conserve resources.
Automated transport requires energy. So before predicting that CAV Systems will use too much energy, we need to ask what we are comparing with. Inevitably, since we cannot reliably predict our energy budget and how much of that budget we can allocate to fossil fuels, we are reduced to comparing CAV-System fuel economy to that of other systems. Davius suggest that this is an open question (yes, I know - he is reluctant to jump to the future to provide us a definite answer).
Yes, we know, you really like riding your bike to work, but it's pretty far. In some cases, CAV Systems should be able to help. Entrepreneurs can assure that some CAVs will be available which can carry you and your bike, allowing you to shorten at least part of your bike trip.