Self-driving cars are coming, but developers aren’t reducing parking yet, survey finds


Self-driving cars are coming, but developers aren’t reducing parking yet, survey finds

Wow, so many things wrong with that headline, and I haven’t even gotten to the story in the LA Times. You can read the entire thing on

Let’s see – Self driving cars are coming – sure, but when. Tomorrow, next year, in a few years, a decade, a few decades. That’s the problems, isn’t it. And the reason for the next part of the headline.

Developers aren’t reducing parking yet. Of course not. No sane person would invest a substantial amount of money in a project using guesses as to when a technology as fluid as autonomous vehicles is coming on line to base how the property was to be developed. Go with the tried and true. Nobody every got fired buying IBM. Nobody ever got fired building parking.

From the article:

Most office developers are still reluctant to foot the extra cost of building garages that can be converted to other uses or even build smaller garages, said Andrea Cross, head of office property research in the Americas for real estate brokerage CBRE, which conducted the survey.

“Tenant demand for office parking is going to continue to stay strong for the next five years, despite all the talk of worker mobility from ride sharing, autonomous vehicles and other on-demand transit options,” she said.

From a caption under a prototype AV:

A Lincoln MKZ outfitted with self-driving sensors. Despite the inevitability of autonomous cars, developers are still not reducing parking spots in the projects they build, a recent survey has found.

Are AVs inevitable. Sure. What will they look like? My prediction:

First: They will be shuttles that will slowly roam predetermined routes in high foot traffic areas.

Second: They will be delivery vehicles, Amazon, pizza, and Fedex/UPS if, that is, one can figure out how to get the delivery from the van to your front door.

Third: they will be buses running on separate roadways.

Fourth: They will be long haul truckers.

Fifth: They will be Uber/Lyft style services.

Sixth, and very last: Everyone will be riding in Jetson style full blown AV’s.

Now I just made this up, however, I think most people would find it reasonable. Which one of the six above would affect how a developer plans for parking? See how far away number six is from number one.

Developers aren’t crazy. The article in the Times infers that they simply don’t understand how the world is going to be in just a few short months or years. In fact they are the most sane of all. They know when not to bet the farm, or in this case the new business center.

Just sayin


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John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Totally agree with your sentiments, and the idea that the headline of this article is misleading. Autonomous cars ARE coming, and we are seeing some of the tests as we speak. But when will they be ready for the general market? There are only guesses. And how will we use them? Again, only guesses, but I tend to think that people like the ability to move when they want, how they want, where they want. In my opinion, I believe that we will eventually all own our own ADV. We will have evolved from 1 self-driven car to one autonomous car, and that car will need to park. If it doesn’t, it will cause twice the traffic, use twice the fuel, and cause twice as much pollution. Developers are cautious for the reasons we would expect – the demand of the “future-proofed” design to invest more money for an unknown future technology, for an unknown future use of the building (if not parking, what? residential? office?), and for unknown code requirements (remember that 30 years ago we didn’t require ADA – what will change in the next 30 years?).

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