An autonomous electric vehicle could transport you from New York to Los Angeles (4,444 km) in a little more than a day. Read a book, engage in conversation, binge on Netflix or sleep the entire time. Stop signs, traffic signals, billboards and traditional fueling stations are no longer needed in a Level 4 transportation system. Dreams of a high-speed rail system shift to high-speed cars and buses.
- 256 million registered vehicles: 187 million passenger cars, 51.5 million light duty vehicles, 8.4 million motorcycles. Source
- 265,000 traffic signals with $1 billion in annual maintenance costs. Source
- 125 million to 2 billion parking spaces in the U.S. paving over 3,590 square miles of land (larger than the combined land mass of Rhode Island and Delaware). Source
- 143,000 people employed as parking lot, valet and garage attendants in 2012 generating $2.7 billion of compensation. Source
- 71,760 people employed as couriers and messengers in 2014 generating $1.9 billion of compensation. Source
- Estimated 2 million billboards near roadways. Source
LEVEL 4 IMPACT
- States and municipalities will save money as traffic signals, traffic calming measures, street and roadway signage become unnecessary.
- Fleet-sharing will significantly reduce the number of vehicles (4-10 fold). Most parking spaces will be eliminated and turned into pedestrian walkways, bike lanes and green space.
- Eyeballs likely to drift toward the screen of their personal mobile devices instead of road signs and advertising. Billboards, thankfully, disappear.
- 215,000 valet, courier and garage attendant jobs eliminated.
- Resurgence of the suburbs. A person could live 100 miles from their work location, but arrive in 1 hour using a high-speed autonomous vehicle.
- The rest of it slowly fades away: Mile markers. Stop signs. Speed humps. Parking meters. Bob’s Barricades.
- The Wall Street Journal: Taking the Driver Out of the Car – Why robocars, and not high-speed rail, could revolutionize transportation in the next decade (March 2010)
- Puget Sound Business Journal: Seattle’s hot real estate trend: Designs with bicycle commuters, driverless cars in mind (October 2015)