Here are some other likely effects on land use and commuting patterns:
- Greater density around suburban subway stations. Right now, suburban subway stations tend to be surrounded by a sea of parking lots in order to accomodate riders who live too far from the station to walk to it. And that’s unfortunate because massive parking lots deter developers from building high-density housing within walking distance of the station. Self-driving cars solve this problem by making taxi rental cheaper than car ownership. In a world of ubiquitous self-driving taxis, there’s no reason to provide any parking spaces on the valuable real estate near a subway stop. So subway ridership is likely to go up even as more land is opened up within walking distance of suburban subway stations for apartments and businesses.
- Virtually no parking spaces. Matt’s right about this, but I think he’s understating the phenomenon. It’s likely that once all cars are self-driving, we’ll barely need any off-street parking spaces at all. During peak periods, virtually all cars will be on the roads driving people around. During off-peak periods, cars will still be on the roads, they’ll just pull over to the side of the road and stop. As Brad Templeton points out in the middle of the night cars could double- or triple-park on 6- or 8-lane boulevards, park in front of driveways, and so forth. This won’t be a problem because they’ll be able to instantly get out of the way if they’re blocking the path of another car. So the only people who need off-street parking will be rich people who insist on spending extra for a private car rather than going the more affordable taxi route.
- Higher road density. One of the benefits of self-driving cars will be that people can take exactly the right vehicle for each trip. Once likely consequence is that small, light vehicles will become viable for use in urban areas. And given that most cars at rush hour have a single commuter in them, that will create a market for half-width, single-occupant cars. These cars, combined with the superior driving skills of computers, will make it possible for two cars to drive side-by-side in a single lane.
Also, the superior reaction times of self-driving cars, and their ability to warn each wirelessly about impending stops, means that self-driving cars will be able to safely maintain smaller following distances than human drivers can. Both of these effects will increase the throughput of each traffic lane, reducing congestion and making driving more attractive relative to mass transit.
- More nimble “buses.” Current bus systems are designed to economize on one of their most expensive components: the human driver. Contemporary buses are enormous and run infrequently. At off-peak times, they’re almost empty. Buses that drive themselves will be dramatically cheaper to operate, which means that we’ll be able to afford many more of them. Instead of a full-size bus stopping every 15 minutes, it’ll be feasible to have a van stop every 3 minutes. And because each mini-bus will pick up fewer passengers, travel time will be lower.
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- thecurvature said: WANT
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- my123456789 said: In relation to this post. Have you ever read the popular book Robopocaplypse? Read it! It makes me sceptical about the evolution of technology.
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