Driverless Cars Are Coming, But They'll Bring Congestion and More Fuel Consumption

Although driverless vehicles are being touted for their potential to reduce congestion and fuel consumption, among other benefits, Casey B. Mulligan argues they'll actually induce the reverse.

"Driverless vehicles are expected to help children, the blind, the elderly and others who currently cannot safely drive themselves. Helped by their huge amounts of data and computing power, driverless cars are also purported to reduce traffic congestion and nationwide fuel consumption by driving smarter."

"But smarter driving will lead to more driving, because smarter driving reduces the cost per mile of vehicle usage," argues Mulligan, an economics professor at the University of Chicago. "The end result of additional driving could be more traffic and more aggregate fuel consumption."

For Mulligan, this might not necessarily be bad news though. "Even if driverless vehicles led to more congestion and more aggregate fuel consumption, driverless vehicles would be a welcome technological advance, because the billions of hours that people already devote to driving could be put to alternative uses."

Full Story: The Future of Driving

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
City Plate table setting

New Arrival! City Plates

City downtown cores printed on gorgeous decorative collectible porcelain plates.
$50.00
Red necktie with map of Boston

Tie one on to celebrate your city

Choose from over 20 styles of neckties imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
$44.95