Dreaming of Networked Cars

Brad Templeton dreams about a world of mini robot cars and the infrastructure savings that would result.

Templeton writes, "Small, lightweight vehicles require far less expensive road. Various estimates I have seen for multi-use paths suitable for people, bikes and golf carts range around $100K to $200K per mile, though I have heard of projects which, thanks to the wonders of government contracting, soar up to $1M per mile. On the other hand, typical urban streets cost $2M to $3M per mile, an order of magnitude more."

Full Story: Mini roads for robocars
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Bad Ideas

Proximity in city design would make robocars unnecessary, and I'm concerned that robocars will be one more way to support low-density living, harass pedestrians and bicyclists, and give new breath to sprawl.

A future city that has carnival rides (robocars) as its transportation network would be a nightmare as real and searing as the current suburban areas are today--far too much infrastructure built upon the idea of moving one person in one direction for no reason other than lazy city designers and inept transit designers can't figure out how to design a city. Human beings can walk and bicycle to nearby destinations and use mass transit to reach others. No need for "robocars" or copters or green cars or smart cars or intelligent highways or whatever kind of infrastructure manufacturers want to sell.

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