Self-driving cars might be “a coming congestion disaster”

Today’s post was shared by TreeHugger.com and comes from www.treehugger.com

Old image self driving car

In most of TreeHugger’s discussions about the future of our cities in the era of the self-driving car, I have taken the position that "The autonomous car will likely be shared, smaller, lighter, slower, and there will likely be about a tenth as many of them." That’s because our current cars are parked 90 percent of the time, which is unnecessary with a self-driving car, it can just to serve someone else. However transit expert Jarrett Walker sees the opposite happening in his post Self-Driving Cars: A Coming Congestion Disaster?

He doesn’t think they will necessarily be shared, because "The ownership model is closer to the status quo, and the status quo always has enormous power." He also thinks that these cars will be very busy indeed, and will not just be sitting around parked 90 percent of the time like our current cars are. He describes a nightmare scenario posited by the University of Washington’s Mark Hollenbeck:

A suburban father rides his driverless car to work, maybe dropping his daughter off a at school. But rather than park the car downtown, he simply tells it to drive back home to his house in the suburbs. During the day, it runs some other errands for his family. At 3 pm, it goes to the school to bring his daughter home or chauffeur her to after-school activities. Then it’s time for it to drive back into the city to pick up Dad from work. But then, on a lark, Dad decides to go shopping at a downtown department store after work, so he tells…

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