Planners are anxious about automated vehicles and their potential to reshape development patterns and the urban landscape
The futuristic vision offered by automated vehicles—the freedom to be active during your commute instead of wasting away behind the wheel while stuck in traffic—isn’t quite as utopian a scenario when you run it past cautious and concerned city planners.
Ask Don Elliott, a zoning consultant and director at Clarion Associates in Denver, and he’ll tell you the idea of empty cars congesting city streets and mobile offices zipping around main roads can become downright dystopian.
“I’ve seen the blood run out of people’s faces,” he says when talking about the impact of automated vehicles on transportation, land use, and real estate. “For years, planners have been fighting for a 1 or 2 percent change in transportation mode [getting more people to use transit or bike instead of drive]. With this technology, everything goes out the window. It’s a nightmare.”
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