Multitudes of Smoke

The thoughtful ramblings of a space goat and his alts.

Public Transportation and Driverless Cars – Personal/Public Transportation

Posted by Smokimus on December 9, 2013

I apologize for another non-WOW post, but I was thinking about this and wanted a place to expound, and this seemed the best place for it.

As a person living in a large(ish) city that is without  reasonable public transportation options and where the solutions being offered for our public transportation needs are continued rehashes of options designed in the 1960’s and  70’s that didn’t work then and most certainly don’t work now.  It seems to me that if a “personal/public transportation” option existed there are many, many people like me, who live in the suburbs but commute into the city that would happily use the system and keep their cars parked in the garage. 

Unless a city is New York, London, Paris, or Chicago, the public transportation options for the middle class are very limited.  A typical worker, in these “other” cities, has to make a herculean effort to utilize the meager public transportation options available.  More often than not this involves driving to a bus terminal or train station, taking a train/bus to another terminal/station, transferring to different buses/trains, and then finally walking some distance to you ultimate destination.  No matter how much you might believe that this is the best thing to do for your community, it takes a heroic effort to keep up such a regimen for any length of time.  This is even more so the case when you don’t work in a job where you clock in at 9 and clock out at 5 everyday, but have a “flexible” schedule, dream of consistent only 8 hour days, and hope every so often to actually be able to go home and have dinner with your family.

I envision that a “personal/public transportation” system would consist of a fleet of autonomous vehicles (passenger cars / not buses) where a rider would schedule a pick-up similar to how we arrange for a taxi.  The primary difference being that the vehicle wouldn’t have a driver and could use bus lanes.  This is, I think, the more immediate future of “driverless” vehicles IMHO.

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