By now we’ve all heard of self-driving (autonomous) vehicles and how they are changing the future of driving. But how will this affect the parking garages and studies that we do here at Rich & Associates? We looked at the pro’s and con’s of autonomous vehicles and how we think they will impact the future of parking!
Autonomous vehicles are typically defined as versions of modern-day vehicles that are capable of taking over for the driver under certain circumstances. The involvement of big auto makers in the development of these autonomous vehicles has peaked public interest in the self-driving vehicle trend. Autonomous vehicles operate by sensing their surroundings and using it to navigate the best route. These cars use a digital map which is constantly updated allowing the vehicle to adapt to changing situations, avoid obstacles, obey road signs, and travel successfully through unknown territories.
The Pros:
  • Over 80% of the car crashes in the U.S.A. are caused by driver error –  Autonomous technology could perceive the environment better resulting in less traffic accidents.
  • People who have difficulties with driving, such as the disabled and the elderly, would be able to experience the freedom of a car.
  • Commute times would be drastically reduced – autonomous vehicles would allow traffic to be coordinated more easily.
  • Speed limits could be increased ultimately shortening commute times.
  • A self-driving car could park itself after dropping off the passenger.
  • Self-driving cars mean fuel savings.
The Cons:
  • Driverless cars would likely be unaffordable for many people – likely costing over $100,000 per vehicle.
  • Truck drivers and taxi drivers would ultimately lose their jobs as self driving technology takes over.
  • A computer malfunction or glitch in the system could cause a worse crash then any human error.
  • Privacy concerns would arise – the cars would rely heavily on the collection of user information. Hackers could get into the vehicles software causing a big privacy and safety concern.
  • Certain weather elements such as heavy rain or snow could interfere with sensory technology.
  • Road infrastructure would need to undergo major upgrades to work in conjunction with autonomous vehicles.
  • How would police or other emergency vehicles interact with driver less vehicles in the case of an accident or crime – who would be at fault?

There are many other pros and cons, and certainly a lot of unanswered questions. Questions we get asked most frequently from our clients include:

  • Will the advancement of autonomous vehicles and the evolution of the car industry greatly reduce the need for parking in our downtowns, campuses and developments?
  • When will we will start to see reductions in parking demand?
  • What do we do if our downtown or campus needs parking today?
  • What would we do with our existing parking facilities?
  • What impacts will this have on revenues needed to pay off existing debt?
  • How do we design our parking garages to meet today’s needs and accommodate the future?

“There are no concrete predictions when the advancement in autonomous vehicles and the change in the mobility model will be wide spread. It is apparent from studying hundreds of articles and reports over the past several years, that the industry and industry observes have not reached a consensus on a definitive time frame when this technology will drastically change the way we get around.”

So, what, for example, is a city or town to do when parking is needed to sustain current and near term economic growth in their downtowns? What is a hospital campus to do when parking is needed to improve access to health services?

“We advise our clients that if there is no other means to mitigate the need for parking, move forward with building the needed parking lot or structure, and during the process, consider designing for adaptability.”

“Parking can be designed to be adaptable in a number of ways. Structured facilities can be engineered for future conversion to other uses such as office space or residential. We recently designed a hospital parking structure where a portion of the structure was eventually converted to medical office space.”

“However, as pointed our earlier, nobody knows when the global change in mobility will dramatically impact the need for parking. As you consider the various approaches to designing parking with the ability to adapt to this uncertain future, the initial cost premiums to do so should be weighed against project economics and the long-term benefits.” – David Rich

 

 

Sources: https://axleaddict.com/safety/Advantages-and-Disadvantages-of-Driverless-Cars

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