Would driverless cars be good for cities?
Over the next two decades, driverless cars are poised to revolutionize the automobile. Carlo Ratti, director of MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, writes that this groundbreaking leap will have an equally dramatic impact on cities. In a Project Syndicate essay, Ratti argues that the coming wave of autonomous vehicles will unleash new possibilities for urban transit.
He foresees a future in which the line between public and private transportation blurs. For instance, a self-driving car could take someone to work and then shuttle family members and neighbors. Such efficiency could help cities reduce the volume of cars on roads, lowering infrastructure costs and improving air quality. “Imagine a world without traffic lights, where vehicular flows ‘magically’ pass through one another and avoid collision,” he writes.
Singapore shares this vision. MIT and Singapore are developing driverless golf carts designed to transport commuters home from metro stations. IHS Automotive projects that nearly 54 million driverless cars will be in use worldwide by 2035.