How people will move from one place to another, particularly in an urban environment, will change rapidly over the next decade. The first salvo in the revolution was the explosion in the popularity of
|Driverless Bus Used in Greece|
We are quickly moving toward a future in which private car ownership, especially in cities, will be a thing of the past. A BBC report from a few days ago describes:
Your current car (unless you’re a Domino’s delivery guy) is only in motion about 5 per cent of the time, on average. It is, however, depreciating in value 100 per cent of the time, which makes it a pretty bad investment. Personal ownership (with its insurance, maintenance and other hassles) will cease to make sense as autonomous vehicles reach saturation. You’ll be either paying by the mile (a la future-Uber) or subscribing on a monthly basis. You’ll pay based on the trim package of your robot ride, but also based on demand and congestion, and as soon as your car drops you off, it will disappear into the fleet....That change will dramatically reduce if not eliminate completely the need for on-street parking. On that score the BBC article points that out:
Autonomous cars don’t need to park near their drivers — who, incidentally, will be dropped off right at the door of their destination — so parking garages can be under a new city park, or an infill housing complex, or way out in the ‘burbs. And even if they remain where they are, garages will be much smaller, or hold a lot more cars, since autonomous vehicles can pack themselves more tightly....A little more than five years ago, the City of Indianapolis entered into a 50 year contract with Dallas-based ACS for the privatization of its parking meters. Of course, the contract obligates the City to pay ACS even if the meters are no longer needed. That contract was an abysmal deal before the era of the driverless car. Twenty years from now it will be looked upon as colossal mistake.
That transportation is about to experience dramatic changes is why Indianapolis should not repeat the ACS parking contract mistake. Engaging in a large-scale built out of a system costing up to a billion dollars, and entering into the inevitable long-term contracts with vendors, removes the flexibility a city needs to respond to the rapidly changing transportation environment. It could well be that public transportation will remain important, though inevitably that will involve driverless, and most likely much smaller, vehicles. Indianapolis' plan to build out its mass transit system by buying large, heavy buses that carry 40-50 passengers may well not be the future. Instead it might be better to go with airport shuttle-sized, driverless buses such as the one seen above.
The fact is nobody knows what the future might bring. Why not wait a few more years until we know where the new technology is going to lead us?