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."