Executives like Google prime supporter Sergey Brin have touted traffic reduction as one of the many advantages of having self-driving cars on the road. The thought is that self driving cars will take out mishaps brought on by human mistake, a noteworthy contributor of traffic.
Be that as it may, specialists say the vehicles’ effect on movement will either be negligible or negative.
Lew Fulton, a co-chief at UC Davis’ Institute of Transportation Studies (ITP), said that self-sufficient vehicles won’t settle blockage hardships unless an estimating framework is set up that disheartens zero-occupancy vehicles.
“We are especially concerned about zero-occupant vehicles that can happen with automated vehicles,” Fulton said.
“That scenario is especially plausible with private ownership of those vehicles and no limits to what we can do with them.”
For instance, many organizations are occupied with programming self-sufficient cars to run errands or get bundles, however these endeavors could build activity by duplicating the quantity of zero-occupant cars, or “zombie cars,” out and about, Fulton said.
Massachusetts officials have as of now proposed an expense on driverless vehicles to forestall zombie autos. The bill requires a for each mile charge of at any rate $0.025.
Clog could likewise exacerbate as organizations like Lucid Motors investigate planning self-driving vehicles around solace, such as introducing leaning back seats.
Buyers may pick to live more remote outside of urban areas in the event that they can drive in vehicles that enable them to rest and unwind. Yet, that sprawl expands the quantity of individuals going all through urban communities amid surge hour, Fulton said.
Self-driving cars can still contribute to congestion even if they operate as part of a ride-hailing network, like Uber.
With the cost of driver being eliminated, Fulton said he is afraid that self-driving Ubers or Lyfts will become so cheap that there will be no financial incentive to opt for car-sharing services like UberPOOL.
“I think it’s going to take some kind of pricing system that discourages zero-occupant vehicles and also makes penalties for single-occupancy vehicles,” he said.
Fulton isn’t alone in this line of thinking.
Matthew Turner, an economist at Brown University, has studied road congestion and co-authored a 2011 paper titled “The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion.” Turner found that vehicle pricing structures have had the biggest effect on reducing travel time, more so than increasing public transit access.
“Maybe autonomous cars will be different from other capacity expansions, but of the things we have observed so far, the only thing that really drives down travel times is pricing,” Turner told the New York Times.
Some cities have already mobilized to discourage people from taking cars alone. States like California and Colorado have installed high-occupancy toll lanes that single-occupancy must pay a fee to use. That fee increases during rush hour.
“We have to figure out systems that promote pairing,” Fulton said. “It really is a silver bullet if we can do it.”