Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Autonomous cars will change the ways we move around in our cities, and a new MIT study shows that it would suffice to have 2000 shared autonomous vehicles to do the same job as the current 13k cab fleet.
This isn't the first or only study about how autonomous cars will reshape our society. A couple years ago a study showed that autonomous cars could reduce reduce traffic by 90% in Lisbon. Now, MIT has created a simulator that shows that 3 thousand carpool cars (for 4 passengers) could replace 98% of the service currently provided by 13k cabs, with an average waiting time of just 2.7 minutes.
Should you optimize it even further, 10-passenger vehicles could do 95% of the job with just 2000 units roaming around, meaning there would be 11,000 less cars on the street.
Unlike traditional transport services, keep in mind this transport network has the ability to adjust in real time to the needs of individuals. Meaning, it could adapt to periodic or one-time event in a much better way than "fixed" transport lines.
Maybe the time when we can look back at long traffic lines where people waste hours of their lives as a distant memory can arrive sooner than we think.
P.S. Which reminds me, being a SimCity fan, I would love to have a "Sim Traffic" of sorts that would let us play with traffic scenarios and simulate how different driving styles (and autonomous cars) would influence traffic patterns.
P.S.2 - I found this Traffic Simulator (which is too basic), and this open-source SUMO traffic simulator (too complex). Anyone knows of something in between? :)