Roadways and streets were never designed, laid out or engineered for multiple drop-off zones and loading areas. They have always been designed with flow in mind, with static parking hosted away from traffic.
Self-driving cars, though, means much of this is poised to change. Curbed recently took a look at the topic of self-driving cars and how it will change the way streets, parking lots and other real estate develops in the future. One thing is nearly certain: there are way too many parking lots.
Repurposement of parking lots will likely become key in the future, as personal vehicle ownership declines in the coming decades, replaced by on-demand services, most likely. Streets will be rethought, too, as ride-sharing services become more popular. Imagine 50 Uber or Lyft vehicles trying to drop off riders at the same location. Bottlenecks will ensue.
Redeveloping locations for better flow will be incredibly important.
“This will completely change us as a society,” said Shannon McDonald, an architect, assistant professor at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and an expert in future mobility planning. “I think it’ll have the same transformational change as the introduction of the automobile.”
As for real estate, it will change the way dwellings are built. Without the potential need for dedicated parking spaces—personal vehicles are only used about five percent of the time—developers can save money and decrease costs in dense urban areas.
“Developers will start using the promise of AV and driverless cars to realize net savings,” said Don Elliott, a zoning consultant and director at Clarion Associates. “It’s not necessarily cheaper, but more space can be used for commercial or residential purposes.”
In all, many analysts don’t see these effects taking place for a couple of decades, but as autonomous technology matures, these questions will need answers.