Comments on: ■ In 40 years, will self-driving cars send us packing for the suburbs? https://persquaremile.com/2014/03/20/40-years-till-suburbs/ Tue, 02 Jun 2015 14:30:43 +0000 hourly 1 By: neil21 https://persquaremile.com/2014/03/20/40-years-till-suburbs/#comment-5830 Fri, 20 Jun 2014 22:07:34 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=6310#comment-5830 I wrote up an extended version of my comments here over on Strong Towns http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2014/6/9/marginal-cost-of-transportation-robotaxis-and-sprawl-repair.html

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By: Matthew Hall https://persquaremile.com/2014/03/20/40-years-till-suburbs/#comment-5829 Sun, 23 Mar 2014 01:08:45 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=6310#comment-5829 Will self-driving cars be faster, cheaper to buy or operate, or drive on cheaper roads? if not, they won’t make a significant change to American society.

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By: Fricken https://persquaremile.com/2014/03/20/40-years-till-suburbs/#comment-5828 Fri, 21 Mar 2014 17:57:37 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=6310#comment-5828 Smart cars make open up the possibility of taxing people proportionally to their road usage.

the utility of small, driverless electric vehicles promise to make dense urban spaces much quieter, cleaner, safer, and thus vastly more appealing than many of them are now where the sound of roaring engines carries on all day and all night.

Widespread adoption of autonomous taxis will also reduce the need for excessive amounts of parking space, which opens up a lot of room for infill development, which is beneficial when making the argument for growth limits.

Self-driving cars with all the other forms of automation trickling in will have many people underemployed. They won’t be able to afford the suburbs whether they want to or not.

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By: Tim De Chant https://persquaremile.com/2014/03/20/40-years-till-suburbs/#comment-5827 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 19:47:49 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=6310#comment-5827 I would argue that good planning (not in the sense you’re thinking of) is preparing for the future, even if that future doesn’t fit your hopes for it.

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By: neil21 https://persquaremile.com/2014/03/20/40-years-till-suburbs/#comment-5826 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 19:29:15 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=6310#comment-5826 Mode choice is a function of infrastructure and economics, not of technology and certainly not an endogenous preference.

The Dutch don’t rent bikes in Atlanta, just as Georgians don’t rent SUVs in Amsterdam.

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By: neil21 https://persquaremile.com/2014/03/20/40-years-till-suburbs/#comment-5825 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 19:27:49 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=6310#comment-5825 Good planning is planning for fewer cars. We all know you get the cars you plan for. Robotaxis change nothing about what constitutes good planning (and, as below, make it politically easier).

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By: neil21 https://persquaremile.com/2014/03/20/40-years-till-suburbs/#comment-5824 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 19:26:26 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=6310#comment-5824 In fact, robotaxis will be an urbanist-environmentalist boon by making sprawl repair politically easier. Cheap robotaxis (and solar-fueled EVs are already lifetime cheaper: robotaxis, with higher utilisation and no driver, will be cents per mile) and robobuses will take the wind out of loss of parking complaints, kick-starting the virtuous cycle of stroad-to-boulevarding and mid-rise-mixed-use liner buildings where once were parking lots.

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By: Tim De Chant https://persquaremile.com/2014/03/20/40-years-till-suburbs/#comment-5823 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 19:12:52 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=6310#comment-5823 I’m not saying it’s a good idea, just that it’s a threat to the urban renaissance. Acknowledging the potential for technology to change what we assume is the status quo (or current trend) isn’t “utter nonsense”, it’s good planning.

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By: neil21 https://persquaremile.com/2014/03/20/40-years-till-suburbs/#comment-5822 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 19:09:03 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=6310#comment-5822 “But self-driving cars could reverse that trend. As people’s commutes are freed up for other tasks, including work, they’ll stretch their daily trips, once again allowing them to live where they want.”

Utter nonsense. Travel time is still not-with-the-kids time. And robotaxis don’t change the geometry of congestion (on any meaningful timescale: don’t talk to me about close packing, because that’s a 22nd century thing).

America’s urban renaissance is not a flash in the pan, but a rediscovery of public space: that a nice street to walk down is actually an important part of a full life. And then all the economics that come with that: the nice street has active frontages, which need sustainable businesses, which need a surrounding customer based that is there both mid-week and evenings/weekends. Plus the infrastructure costs-to-taxpayers ratio: those miles of suburban road and piping and wires aren’t free.

America’s urban renaissance is not a flash in the pan. Rather, in the curve of history, the mid-20th century experiment of suburban sprawl was the temporary blip, that has been shown to fail to bring economic prosperity or quality of life improvement.

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