The disruption in mobility being created by the arrival of internet-based ride-sharing services [Uber, Lyft et. al.] combined with the advent of self-driving vehicles has huge implications for everything from parking space to how people move about and, consequently, for urban planning in Detroit and our economic lifeblood auto industry.
This excellent article by Crain's Chad Livengood lays out the issue
- planning for a future where we are less dependent on the single-occupant, single-destination vehicle. Consider the following.
Duggan suggested last week at the North American International Auto Show that Detroit may not need thousands of new parking spaces in multistory parking garages to accommodate the influx of workers and residents to the city's central core.
"If self-driving vehicles are really close, it may not be that people are going to drive a car and store it for eight hours in a structure," Duggan said at a forum of U.S. mayors at Cobo Center. "It may be that the self-driving car drives you to work, goes back home and does errands with your spouse."
"The difficult question is, do you build today to meet near-term demand knowing that 10, 15, 20 years from now that demand isn't going to be there?"
City Planning Director Maurice Cox said his department's change in thinking on the future of use of cars for commuting is being driven by its own employees. Of the 25 new employees hired by the planning department in the past year, only five of them drive a personal vehicle to work every day, Cox said. The other 20 are using ride-sharing services, taking a bus, riding a bike or walking, he said.
"If they are any way a reflection of the next generation of people moving to Detroit, it suggests we don't have to build parking for everyone to have a car," Cox said.
My take? I love my "single-occupant, single-destination" car. I love being able to hop in it on whim and pretty much drive door-to-door and back whenever I wish. But I am aging and should the future hold the difference between, say, not seeing a exhibition at the DIA, or going there via a self-driver? Hmmm...
Time to discuss what may be the most important economic factor facing Metro Detroit-Windsor - the future of mobility.