Fast emerging of new technologies has introduced changes in many spheres of our lives. One of them is transportation. Lately, all speak about autonomous vehicles with reason. Very soon, they will totally redesign our cities. Everything will be different than now, while our mobility will be raised on the much higher level.
Considering that one of the largest issues around the world is increasing population and large traffic jams, it is no wonder that new technologies in transportation have started to emerge. Large automotive companies seek new advanced solutions and compete among themselves who would be the first and best. They have already presented prototypes and started testing of autonomous car models. Yet, it would not be enough to change cars. It is needed to change cities as well. Take a look how our cities will look like in the future.
New city infrastructure for autonomous vehicles
New autonomous cars need new city’s infrastructure. First needs to be changed roads. Signals at intersections will become obsolete with new car-to-car and car-to-city communication. Also, autonomous vehicles will be programmed to travel by speed that will not make traffic jams. They will also be capable of avoiding accidents too, while their electric power will, at the same time, save the air from pollution. In new cities, autonomous vehicles will have their own road lanes too. Initially, they will only get one road lane on the side, and over time, they will take over the main road lanes from other vehicles. Also, since autonomous vehicles will drive slowly to ensure safety, they can stop to let pedestrians or bicyclists to cross the street, instead of long waiting on stoplights as it is now.
More space for people and the new look of cities
As people will drive with autonomous vehicles or will use carsharing and ridesharing services, the number of owner cars will be greatly reduced. Thus, the streets will also be much narrower than now. There will be no need for 4 or 6 road lanes. Unnecessary road lanes will get new purposes, as well as parking spaces. Instead of them, streets will decorate sidewalk restaurants, boutiques, shops and other facilities. There will be bicycles lanes as well. Also, sidewalks will be expanded, and the entrances to the buildings will be embellished with greenery instead of wide entrances to the underground garages. Additionally, since people will drive their cars less, our planet will also be saved from pollution.
There will be more space for new buildings and houses as well. Since autonomous electric vehicles will be charged overnight at their parking spaces, there will be no need for gas stations on the streets. Instead of them, there would be built new buildings or houses, shopping malls or parks, for example. The same applies to the current large open parking spaces. From that change arise new changes related to city planning and further urban development.
Indeed, autonomous vehicles will redesign our cities almost totally. Everything will change. However, there are still many questions to answer. First, are we ready for such change? What would be the first step in conducting such large change? Who will be the first in building smart cities with autonomous vehicles? And so on.
Although autonomous vehicles are rapidly evolving and some models have already been tested, apparently, cities are still not ready to accept this change. Also, these changes are so large that need to be well planned in advance. Yet, changes and technological development are so rapid and radical that there is no time for waiting. We all need to prepare on time. New smart and better cities and autonomous vehicles are just a step from us.