As driverless cars slowly make their way to the spotlight of our future, a question of practicality arises. Are we road ready for driverless cars? Do we have parking space for driverless cars? Do driverless cars even require parking spaces? These are some of the queries that have been circulating on the up and coming topic.
Surprisingly, in a report from the National League of Cities, only 6 percent of cities out of the 68 largest in America are considering driverless technology in their long-term transportation plans. In fact, half of the cities are even planning for new highway constructions.
Whilst American cities don’t appear to be clearing the way for driverless technology, Arrowstreet Architects can be seen diving head first into the future of driverless parking. The Boston firm specialise in parking structures and thus are envisioning a parking lot of the future. There’s a chance that the unmanned vehicles will not park, but instead just move on to the next customer.
However even if they are parked, the parking lots will be much smaller and more spatially efficient.
The cars will not need separate aisles as people won’t need to get in and out. Rather, they will be tucked in next to each other where they will shuffle around as one comes into service. The garages could potentially harvest energy from traffic and use it to charge the parked cars.
Whilst putting the ‘pedal to the metal’ and the joys of manual steering might be missed, there’s a lot to be said for the potential benefits of driverless cars. An average car in the US is parked for 90 percent of the time. So it spends most of its life as an obstacle on the side of the road somewhere. With the expected reduction in parked cars, the city space will be transformed. Parking facilities will no longer be linked to popular activities like stadiums and shopping centers for instance.
Already with the trend of car-sharing we can see a decrease in parking congestion. If it continues to do so, the streets will become more pedestrian orientated and people can claim back the space in front of their buildings and put them to use. Although the preparations for the driverless cars are few, we are excited to see how it evolves and transforms our cities in the future.
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