What do you think our roads look like in 20 years?

With the research and development that companies are putting into driverless cars, the future of our roads are likely to look vastly different from what you see today. Think about what’s typically involved in driving your car. Parking is a big hassle if you have to do so in a city centre where parking is often difficult to find. It’s not unheard of for a person to spend 10 – 20 minutes looking for parking.

There are areas around the world where parking is so hard to find that parking spots have been put up for sale. One such case involves a parking spot advertised on yourparkingspace.co.uk near Hyde Park in London that’s on sale for £350,000 (roughly R6,125,000), which could buy you a fairly luxurious home.
This isn’t the most expensive parking spot put on sale though, in 2015 there was a spot in South Kensington, London that was listed for £480,000. However, this spot had space for 3 cars and was in a secure underground parking area. There was a parking space in central Manhattan, USA which was selling for $1,000,000 as well as another going for $640,000 in Hong Kong.

If driverless cars become common place, parking spaces will become a thing of the past. Individuals won’t own cars. Instead, companies will own fleets of driverless cars and operate them in a similar fashion to the way someone calls for an Uber. And once someone reaches their destination the driverless vehicle will either move on to the next person or return to the centralised parking station where the cars are stored to recharge or have maintenance work done.

Traffic lights will also become a thing of the past according to a group of MIT researchers. The group published a study showing that a transportation system without traffic lights could allow twice as much traffic on the roads. The study is based on mathematical modeling and the scenario they examined involves vehicles keeping a safe distance from each other by use of sensors when moving through a four-way intersection.

These types of intersections have been labelled as Slot-based Intersections and could speed up traffic flow two fold. Paolo Sant, a researcher from SENSEable City Lab says the greater capacity this type of intersection allows doesn’t stem from cars moving quicker, but rather from creating a more consistent flow through the intersection at an optimal “middle” speed where vehicles can keep moving. Researchers call this the “slower is faster” effect.

There’s potentially good news for those working on a budget. Insurance will be a thing of the past when it comes to cars because the accident rate will be almost non-existant and as mentioned earlier, individuals probably won’t own a car in the first place.
Driverless cars are going to change our daily lives drastically. Are you excited about it?

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