Autonomous vehicles aren’t part of the future anymore– they are slowly being introduced in the market now and would be available a few years from now. Driverless cars are being advertised as one of the biggest technological breakthroughs, and there’s a lot to expect from them.
Experts suggest that with autonomous vehicles, we can finally put an end to the “not-so-safe” urban design and infrastructure planning. Likewise, for the following years, self-driving cars would be a common thing roaming through cities, freeing a lot of road space, as well millions of parking areas.
Aside from those, allow us to discuss the impacts of autonomous vehicles on urban planning.
1. Safer Construction Sites
Although you wouldn’t be driving on rough roads or wet roads on a regular basis, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be encountering any issues at all– our roads have significantly changed in the past few years. What does this imply? You can expect anything from road construction, with lane diversions, alternate traffic routes, detours, temporary stop sign, and much more.
A few of these changes can be recognized by an autonomous car sensor, as they are made to pick up stop signs. For instance, if you’re traveling in an unfamiliar place, you’ll still be rightly guided.
With continuous improvement, the driverless car would be able to identify almost all unmapped stop signs out there easily. This would give the assurance that motorists would stay safe during travel because in case they miss a sign, the vehicle wouldn’t– it will always be on the look for pedestrians, traffic, and other obstacles.
As for blowing a traffic cone or stop sign, you don’t need to worry about this either. With IoT technology, these devices will have the ability to share information and can notify your vehicle when to stop exactly.
Less Driving and Urban Spaced Would be Used More
The rise of autonomous vehicles would have a positive impact on the environment. There would be less driving, and the urban space would be used for the better. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s applicable for all kinds of setting. For instance, if you’re residing in a low-density suburban community, the use of autonomous vehicles, instead of other existing travel modes, won’t be as practical as you imagined. What we’re trying to say is that, although driverless cars may seem promising, there’s still uncertainty surrounding it.
Parking Will Require Less Space
Perhaps, the biggest impact autonomous vehicles would have toward urbanized planning would be in the parking structure. Basically, with driverless cars, there’s a huge possibility that parking would be moved indoors and outside of city centers.
This would free up a lot of outdoor space which can be used for development, and there would be more public space for the locale. Most of these would be able to accommodate around 60% more cars, and because the driving lanes would be smaller, expect greater maneuverability, and there won’t be much need for elevators and stairs after.
Our roadway infrastructure was specially made to meet the demands of human drivers, and accommodate human error– with guardrails, wider streets, medians, signage, lane markings, and so on.
The usual cause of road accidents is due to human error. With driverless vehicles, you don’t have to worry about drivers jumping over curbs, over-correcting, and colliding with trees, pedestrians, or infrastructure. This would also mean that narrower lanes, as well as the removal of “obstructions” such as guardrails, traffic lights, and medians, would make way for a pedestrian-centric infill, such as bike lanes, public spaces, and trees.
Likewise, autonomous vehicles are known to be quieter and cleaner than the traditional ones. The moment they hit the roads, rumble strips, vast stretches of sound walls, and buffer strips may not be necessary anymore. What the cities look like back in the days may be reimagined– filled with trees and abundant in vegetation. Thus, better air quality and highway system may be enjoyed.
We can say that tech companies and automakers are doing everything to bring self-driving vehicles to the masses. It will have an impact on urbanized planning which can be both good and bad. Likewise, with a lot of companies firming up deployment plans within the following years, most cities are still trying to figure out how to embrace driverless cars.
Reference: Many thanks to Chris for helping in drafting this informative post. He is a Digital Media Strategist in Orlando, FL and is an experience freelance writer, PPC management, and SEO strategy. Chris is also passionate about startup marketing, environmental issues, and emerging technologies.