Zombie Tax and A Joyful Mess


Zombie Tax and A Joyful Mess

I don’t for one minute consider that the city described in a “Wired” article will come to pass, certainly not in our lifetimes, nor that of our children. It might in China, where they build cities from scratch, with nothing there to begin with except an empty field. Adjusting existing cities will be much more problematic. Check out the article on parknews.biz.

However there are some tidbits in this piece that are fun to contemplate. The first is the tremendous loss of city revenue considering that self driving vehicles will cease to exist and only autonomous cars will patrol our highways and byways. The city of Los Angeles generates nearly $150,000,000 in parking revenue. LAX nearly $100,000,000.  When that money goes away, the revenue must come from somewhere.

This article proposes that we have a “Zombie Tax.” That is, driverless cars will be charged so much a minute that they are on the road and unoccupied. Fortunately, they won’t be taxing the undead… yet.

Also seen in the future are “nests” and “hives” for driverless cars. The nests are short term parking where AVs can be stored between trips and hives are larger facilities where they can be maintained and charged/fueled.

The problem is that a wise AV owner would ensure that his vehicle was in a nest and virtually never cruising without a passenger to get around the Zombie tax. How long do you think it will take the city to tax the nests and the hives.

My comment about the Chinese above was inspired by “Wired’s” comments that cities, excepting for major avenues, will consist of a jumble of curved lanes which will cater to virtually all types of transportation except cars, busses, and trains. They called this area a “joyful mess.” Actually it sounds great. Rather like London with its curvy streets and alleys that is still based on the roads left over from a time with the British Capital was a group of small towns that eventually grew together.

Consider ‘adjusting a city like Houston, or LA, or Chicago. Decide you want to create a neighborhood that is a “joyful mess.”  If you start from scratch like the Chinese, easy peasy. However how many buildings are you going to condemn, how many individual properties are you going to buy, how many streets will you rip up, to create your mess.

One last comment on this:

Zoning Free-for-All

Building height restrictions meant to reduce traffic and parking space requirements lose their justification in the self-driving city, so zoning laws can chill out.

Zoning rules aren’t just to ensure that cars don’t squeeze out people. They might be there to keep garbage recycling away from cafes and clubs, to create neighborhoods with small shops near residences…etc

The mess created with all the ideas in this article might just not be joyful.

Hat Tip to the Queen of Parking in Las Vegas, Brandy Stanley.


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John Van Horn

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