In a new article that appears in the April issue of Washingtonian, author Michael Gaynor asks several experts what the D.C. region would look like with autonomous vehicles. Mobility Lab managing director Howard Jennings is quoted saying they could “increase the reach of Metro stations by helping solve that last mile or two of travel to get to mass transit.”
Other interesting assessments include:
“I can only see an automated vehicle, especially in a private-ownership-model world, incentivizing people to live even further from downtown,” says Adie Tomer, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “Even if their trip takes longer, the ability to sit in your car and watch a video, spend time with your kids playing games—that’s a very real counterforce.”
“Those office parks and residential areas in the suburbs that are disconnected from mass transit have very quickly gone to B-class status,” says Jeff Barber, design leader at the architecture firm Gensler. “But now there’s discussion about ‘[Will] the suburbs start to look interesting again?’”
Curbs outside buildings would have to change as well to accommodate constant passenger loading and unloading. “We’re looking into designing different queuing systems and more entrances to avoid backup,” says Kari Parekh of the developer JBG.
What intriguing changes do you think autonomous vehicles would bring to D.C.?