INRIX Names 10 Cities that Would Benefit the Most From Driverless Cars

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【Summary】New study of travel patterns reveals the 10 best cities for driverless cars, with some surprising entries like Albuquerque, N.M., New Orleans, and Tucson, Ariz.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    May 27, 2017 12:30 PM PT
INRIX Names 10 Cities that Would Benefit the Most From Driverless Cars

Automakers and companies are currently testing driverless vehicles in major cities. Uber, for instance, is testing its autonomous cars in Arizona, despite a recent incident, Pittsburgh, and, of course, Silicon Valley, Calif. The majority of other companies have also chosen Silicon Valley as the prime location for setting up a testing ground for autonomous cars and for good reason, as the majority of tech companies are located in the area. 

The traffic, heavily-populated streets, and constant construction pose a challenge for self-driving vehicles. If automated cars can succeed in busy cities, then they can succeed anywhere. Or that's the logic behind choosing major locations. And companies also believe that crowded, congested, and large cities will be the first to benefit from driverless vehicles. But according to a new report by Barron's Next, smaller cities may actual be better locations of companies looking to test self-driving vehicles.

Forget Large Cities, Smaller Ones Are Ready Now

The outlet, citing an INRIX study, revealed its 10 best cities for autonomous cars and there are some surprised on the list. INRIX, a Kirland, Wash.-based firm that specializes in navigation and traffic analysis, claims that smaller cities like Albuquerque, N.M., Tucson, Ariz., and New Orleans are in a better position than larger cities to benefit from shared autonomous fleets, reports Barron's Next

To conduct its study, INRIX studied an entire year's worth of car rides in the U.S.'s 50 most populated cities. The firm looked at the frequency of vehicle trips within a 25-mile radius of city centers and the number of automotive trips of 10 miles or less, claims Barron's Next. These criteria were chosen because it focused on both self-driving cars and also on the societal benefits from a shared fleet of driverless vehicles, the outlet reports. 

Move Over Silicon Valley

The top 10 cities ranking from best to worst is as follows: New Orleans, Albuquerque, N.M., Tucson, Ariz., Portland, Ore., Omaha, Neb., El Paso, Texas, Fresno, Calif., Wichita, Kan., Las Vegas, and Tulsa, Okla. 

According to INRIX, having a shared fleet of driverless vehicles has numerous benefits. The firm claims these benefits include: environmental, safety, and accessibility. Are far as the environmental benefits go, a self-driving fleet would reduce traffic and pollution, as individuals heading the same direction would be able to share a car. 

As other reports have indicated, the majority of accidents are caused by human error. INRIX claims that 90 percent of crashes can be tied to human error, which makes autonomous vehicles safer than human-operated ones. Lastly, an autonomous fleet would also improve a city's accessibility. Individuals that don't have access to a car can still get around. 

Prominent cities, like Detroit, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, and Silicon Valley, Calif., are, surprisingly, missing from the list. Phoenix, though, did manage to make the list, but ranked in at number 27. And New York ranked in at number 32, while Los Angeles came in at number 15. 

Avery Ash, autonomous vehicle market strategist at INRIX stated that future studies would account for traffic congestion, something the current study didn't do. With traffic congestion coming into play, larger cities could move upwards in the rankings. But for now, it looks like companies and automakers have made a vital mistake.

via: Barron's Next, INRIX

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