Cars Don't Cause Traffic, Drivers Do

Some planners hope that driverless car technology can finally put an end to traffic jams.

"Economists, Nobel Prize-winning physicists and traffic psychologists have all sought solutions to the nation's congestion problem, as have urban planners and civil engineers. But current plans to expand roads and introduce specialized tolls do not address the ultimate cause of traffic ---- people.

The best way to eliminate congestion, some experts say, is to take the driver out of the driver's seat. "We wouldn't have to deal with people behind the wheel," said Dr. Jerry Schneider, a University of Washington professor emeritus of urban planning and civil engineering. "It would be a totally hands-off, brain-off experience."

Driverless design concepts include Personal Rapid Transit, which involves passenger taxi-pods on rails; automatic highway systems that direct driverless cars using magnetic guidelines; and dual-mode systems with cars that can be driven normally on smaller roads and for shorter distances, but could go driverless on specialized electric rails, or "guideways," for high-speed controlled travel."

Full Story: Best solution for traffic woes? Eliminating the drivers

Comments

Comments

Many applications of 21st Century technology possible

MECapron - You can vote on applying computer technology to transportation as a California budget solution (even if you aren't a Californian). Vote at www.summerofchange08.com between May 20-27 and 28-31. There is only video in the contest that suggests super-convenient transit, zero-congestion and zero-accident cars as a creative budget solution. Its title: "Hot wheels budget."

it's not the driver

It does not matter whether a car is driving itself or under the control of a human being. drivers don't cause traffic (except those backups behind collisions). Anyone who has taken 1st semester traffic engineering should know that traffic is the result not of cars or drivers, but of TRIPS. When the number of trips exceeds the capacity of your corridor, then you have traffic. Capacity can vary based on occupancy rates etc. but there is still that point where trips overtake capacity and we call it congestion. It can be cars, horses, bicycles, or segways, but any way you look at it there will always be congestion in places that generate and attract a high volume of trips. The key to a more pleasant future is for us to invest in higher capacity systems that don't have the negative externalities (pollution, land consumption, barriers to walking...) of 24 lane highways...

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