There is an interesting article in Forbes this week entitled “2029 Mobility and the Urban Family.” You can read it over at Parknews.biz.
You will find it has little to do with parking and more to do with urban lifestyle. That’s urban with a capital “U”. This is about living in central cities and getting from here to there. My guess is that in most cases, urban dwellers have figured out how to do this already, but this solution, using TaaS – Transport as a Service – features autonomous vehicles.
It assumes that in 10 years full blown level 5 autonomous vehicles will be available and running rampant in our cities. I’m dubious but let’s give the devil his due.
In this scenario you are picked up at your door, whisked to work, stopping along the way for a preordered latte, and dropped off in a convenient curb side spot in front of your building. All charges being handled on line. Its an electric vehicle so there is no pollution (I guess the power is generated by wind or solar).
Basically, what we have is an automated taxi or car service. Completely available today, but cheaper since there is no driver. It seems to me that all the other issues, congestion, traffic, and the like, remain the same. And since you aren’t parking, the vehicle continues on street, adding to the congestion.
At least when you drive in to the city, once you reach your destination, your car is parked and off the street and then back on the street when you head for home. That’s why they call it “rush hour.”
The author, who writes about mobility economy and business, seems to gloss over these minor issues.
He also discusses first mile/last mile issues and solves them with electric scooters. You get a text as the train arrives that there is a scooter reserved for you at the station. You pick it up and are “merrily on your way.” You could be contacted, he says, to pick up a package along the route and deliver it to another spot on your route, thus getting a discount from your charges. Are you kidding me? A delivery company is going to ask a stranger on a scooter to deliver a package for them? I really don’t think so.
He also posits that folks will be using rapid transit to get to the urban core. Fair enough. Assuming 85% of all commuters are in private vehicles where is the capacity coming from to carry all those folks. Who is going to build it and who is going to pay for it? Another minor issue that this fellow doesn’t address, but no one else does either.
A self-serving article, quoting an online blog, and asking no hard questions. Where are you Edward R. Murrow and Huntley/Brinkley when we need you. If you are under 50 Google them.