Self-Driving Cars Are on a Path to Change Suburbs

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【Summary】While the introduction of autonomous vehicles is set to change how cities operate, driverless cars will also have a large impact on suburbs.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Mar 03, 2018 10:30 AM PT
Self-Driving Cars Are on a Path to Change Suburbs
author: Vineeth Joel Patel   

Autonomous vehicles are set to change the way cities operate. The move to self-driving vehicles is believed to be so dramatic, that companies have even come out with pacts to outline just how things will progress in cities.  

Transportation methods will change, the way vehicles operate on roads will be altered, and the way homes are built in cities will be revamped, as well. While a lot of the focus for autonomous vehicles is on how they will affect cities, driverless vehicles are also set to change suburbs. In a lengthy piece, Forbes took a look at how autonomous cars will reshape residential areas. 

Cars Will Always Have A Place In Suburbs

While the majority of suburbs around the world utilize efficient transportation systems to ferry individuals from highly-populated areas to cities, the United States lacks effective methods of mass transportation. This means that private modes of transportation – automobiles – will always be the dominant means of transport for individuals that live in suburban locations. 

With the introduction of ride-hailing and –sharing services like Uber and Lyft, road travel with the assistance from cars increased last year. And that figure, as the outlet claims, has been increasing for the past five years. The introduction of these services has also allowed individuals in cities to get around without having to have a vehicle of their own. 

But when it comes to suburban locations, Forbes claims that things will need to be a little different to help keep greenhouse gases down. While planting trees and the adoption of renewable technologies are great ways to keep harmful gases out of the air, the outlet states that the move towards having more people work from home is the greatest factor in keeping vehicles off of the road. 

Ride-Sharing Will Reign Supreme

Individuals, though, that still need to get around will find ride-sharing technology, especially with autonomous vehicles, to be more cost effective and less time consuming, claims the outlet. Forbes points towards a transit operator in the suburbs of San Francisco that started a one-year pilot program to subsidize local ride-sharing services. The new program has canceled a lightly-used bus route, which has reduced costs and emissions. 

Global consulting firm Bain & Co. claims that autonomous vehicles could help create a "post-urban economy" that will be more home-based and localized, as more individuals move away from "beyond the traditional commuting belt." 

The majority of companies also believe that operating an autonomous vehicle will be more cost-effective than traditional vehicles. That will make the machines better for door-to-door mobility for individuals of all ages and for consumers that weren't able to own a vehicle because of the high costs. The low cost of ownership wouldn't just cut traditional car ownership, but it would also reduce the amount of individuals using mass transit systems. 

The rise of autonomous vehicles could allow individuals to live further away from cities and not have to rely on mass transit should they chose to visit urban locations. 

Roy Amara, the late president of the Institute for the Future said, "We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run. Self-driving cars are as much of a paradigm shift as the invention of the telephone, and we all need to get prepared for the ride of our lives." 

via: Forbes

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