Self-driving cars could revolutionize the way we commute, but city planners and governments will first need to consider how roads need to be altered to accommodate them. Seattle-based venture capital organization Madrona Venture Group created a report on incorporating driverless cars into the I-5 interstate between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. Their report includes details for a lane entirely dedicated to self-driving cars.
As companies from Uber to Ford to Google work away on self-driving cars, Madrona Venture Group says driverless cars could be “feasible and safe within the next five to ten years.” They recommend starting the transition to accommodate these vehicles by allowing them to utilize the HOV, or carpool, lane. As more self-driving cars enter roadways, the carpool lane could be dedicated solely to autonomous vehicles.
Madrona Venture Group went one step further, writing as self-driving cars mostly replace the cars of today, manually operated cars could even be barred from I-5 except at certain hours when less vehicles are on the road. The entire process could take place over “ten to fifteen years.”
It takes about two and a half hours to drive from Seattle to Vancouver. Madrona Venture Group envisions a future, along with other driverless car innovators, where that time is spent relaxing or working instead of driving. “Imagine being able to watch a video or sporting event, prepare for a business meeting, work on your novel, or plan a game with your children. It is difficult to place a dollar value on this but one source has estimated this at more than $1 trillion a year in the U.S.,” they said in their report. They add self-driving cars could reduce traffic, save lives, and cause less accidents.
As some cities consider high speed trains, Madrona Venture Group notes self-driving cars could be a cheaper option for improved transportation that could benefit commuters sooner than a high speed train. The organization said their plan will probably be controversial at first, but as people realize the benefits of the new technology, more will embrace self-driving cars.