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Light Rail in Central Ohio

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Transportation Light Rail in Central Ohio

Viewing 15 posts - 601 through 615 (of 634 total)
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  • #1112919
    Coremodels
    Coremodels
    Participant

    I haven’t seen any figures on transit oriented development created by driverless cars, but I can’t imagine its higher than zero.

    #1112922

    jbcmh81
    Participant

    Clearly the biggest hurdle is cost and no amount of studies are going to make that go away. As a city we’ve invested so very heavily in our road infrastructure and it’s so good that’s it’s hard to make the argument for another sizeable investment in mass transit. When you can basically a can get anywhere in the gigantic geographic area that is Columbus in 20 min it’s hard to sell mass transit. “so you’re telling me you want me to pay higher taxes to go walk to a station to pay for a ticket to get to a place in twice the amount of time and then have to walk from that station to where I actually want to go?”

    I think the idea of driverless cars helps to make that argument even tougher. If I can sleep/read emails/do whatever on my way to work in a personal space and get picked up and dropped off exactly where I want to be without higher taxes that whole train thing seems even worse.

    Driverless cars would be great except for any of the following:
    1. You can’t afford one.
    2. You value an urban, walkable environment. Driverless cars would still need every bit as much parking as regular cars do, if not more because it is basically advocating for zero alternative transit. How do buses fit in?
    3. You see TOD as a positive- it is. Driverless cars would still have no fixed routes that encourage development.
    4. It’s still a bit unclear how traffic would be tangibly reduced when more cars are being added to the mix. Just because someone isn’t driving doesn’t mean that they’re not taking up space on a road.
    5. The subsidization of roads will only get worse.
    6. The conversion of roads into public spaces- think Times Square- would probably end up being a thing of the past.
    7. How would this impact something like a non-protected bike lane?

    #1112927
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    I think the idea of driverless cars helps to make that argument even tougher. If I can sleep/read emails/do whatever on my way to work in a personal space and get picked up and dropped off exactly where I want to be without higher taxes that whole train thing seems even worse.

    That sounds like a good replacement for the single-person commuter to switch from driving to self-driving for a specific route (as long as you can afford it — it won’t be cheap technology for a loooong time).

    But what if you have 500 people who all want to go from point A to point B at the same time? Do you put them on one train? Or do you put them into 500 individual self-driving cars? If the latter, you just created a traffic jam that negates the benefits of self-driving vehicles.

    Mass transit is still going to be the best option for moving mass numbers of people in high-density corridors to high capacity destinations. It’s not like NYC is planning to shut down their subways now that driverless cars are on the way. And while NYC and Columbus are apples and oranges, I think it’s safe to say that Columbus is moving in the direction of needing increased capacity for mass transit along specific corridors.

    #1112989

    Lu
    Participant

    But what if you have 500 people who all want to go from point A to point B at the same time? Do you put them on one train? Or do you put them into 500 individual self-driving cars?

    How about putting them on a handful of driverless buses?

    #1112990
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    How about putting them on a handful of driverless buses?

    Or driverless trains.

    It’s still mass transit.

    #1112995
    spfld_expat
    spfld_expat
    Participant

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>King Gambrinus wrote:</div>
    But what if you have 500 people who all want to go from point A to point B at the same time? Do you put them on one train? Or do you put them into 500 individual self-driving cars? If the latter, you just created a traffic jam that negates the benefits of self-driving vehicles.

    I think its more likely that, even if new autonomous cars add to the total net number of cars on the road, it will make traffic flow better.

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a17718/just-a-handful-of-self-driving-cars-on-the-highway-could-cut-traffic-jams-by-half/

    Also, autonomous cars in the future will be able to operate in a similar manner to trains, so more and more people will be able to use the roads without increased traffic jams:

    http://motherboard.vice.com/read/autonomous-road-trains-are-the-dorkier-driverless-future

    Autonomous cars are coming and will be here (and relatively affordable) before you know it. Tesla’s now have a limited auto-pilot feature. Autonomous features are slowly creeping into mass market cars. Subarus have had features like automatic braking and lane departure warnings for years now. Its not a stretch to believe a fully or semi autonomous and affordable “Model T” will be here in 5-10 years.

    #1112999

    jbcmh81
    Participant

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>King Gambrinus wrote:</div><br>
    But what if you have 500 people who all want to go from point A to point B at the same time? Do you put them on one train? Or do you put them into 500 individual self-driving cars? If the latter, you just created a traffic jam that negates the benefits of self-driving vehicles.

    I think its more likely that, even if new autonomous cars add to the total net number of cars on the road, it will make traffic flow better.

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a17718/just-a-handful-of-self-driving-cars-on-the-highway-could-cut-traffic-jams-by-half/

    Also, autonomous cars in the future will be able to operate in a similar manner to trains, so more and more people will be able to use the roads without increased traffic jams:

    http://motherboard.vice.com/read/autonomous-road-trains-are-the-dorkier-driverless-future

    Autonomous cars are coming and will be here (and relatively affordable) before you know it. Tesla’s now have a limited auto-pilot feature. Autonomous features are slowly creeping into mass market cars. Subarus have had features like automatic braking and lane departure warnings for years now. Its not a stretch to believe a fully or semi autonomous and affordable “Model T” will be here in 5-10 years.

    It seems to me that driverless cars only make sense if every car is driverless. A mix wouldn’t seem to work because any car under human control would still be subject to human error. So until all cars are driverless, and even after because of all the potential addition, traffic will continue to be an issue.

    And they still don’t really account for any of the issues above… or those people who simply don’t want to own a car. I don’t place much value on a technology that seemingly only removes choices than adds to them.

    #1113016

    NEOBuckeye
    Participant

    At the risk of sounding like Kunstler, I’m unconvinced that driverless cars are anything more than the hype and hope of people who place an undue amount of faith in technology and technofixes solving all of our problems.

    After a few thousand blue screens of death and the literal deaths that will result from driverless cars crashing into semis and ditches, the resulting lawsuits will make Google, Tesla, etc. back away from them as if they were the plague.

    Ironically, rail is one of the most energy-efficient and dependable forms of transportation we can invest in, but American culture is such that so many people seem to have an almost visceral reaction to it, as if bringing back trains represents taking a massive step backward (with suburban sprawl being the default “forward”). Yet we’ll wish at some point that we had made investing in it a priority instead of dragging our feet to even build a single streetcar line.

    #1113018
    King Gambrinus
    King Gambrinus
    Participant

    After a few thousand blue screens of death and the literal deaths that will result from driverless cars crashing into semis and ditches, the resulting lawsuits will make Google, Tesla, etc. back away from them as if they were the plague.

    You do realize that even if a few thousand of the things crashed and all of those let’s call it 10,000 crashes ended in death (a worse case scenario to be sure) that’s still 1/3 of the 30,057 people who died in car crashes in 2013. The point is that driverless cars don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be better. And until every car is autonomous you’ll probably see more types of certain crashes like the human car rear-ending the driverless. But humans aren’t great drivers and we’re all getting worse as technology gives us more to be distracted by. So no I don’t think driverless cars will be perfect, but I think they’ll be better than us, eventually.

    To counter JCMBH81’s points
    1. Based on Uber’s investment in driverless cars and GM’s $500M investment in Lyft you probably won’t have to own one.
    2. See number 1. On demand cars won’t require parking. Also, it’s estimated that 30% of traffic in central business districts is caused by people cruising for parking. So if the driverless on demand car eliminates the need to cruise for parking it would help reduce traffic and reduce demands on parking infrastructure so an area could become more walkable
    3. It’s true there would not be fixed routes to encourage development, but I think it could help people live/travel to where they want to without worrying about the need to easily park a car.
    4. See the comment above above about CBD traffic, they can also safely travel much closer together better utilizing the existing infrastructure
    5. This one is probably true. But at least Ohio is realizing they can’t build indefinitely and need to focus on maintaining what they have.
    6. Potentially, but not necessarily, in areas where it makes sense to go pedestrian only currently it would still continue to make sense.
    7. I’d say that driverless cars would be even better at sharing the road, they’re always on the look out for what’s in the road, they’ll be programmed to understand the rules of the road and won’t be complete assholes about sharing it like most drivers seem to be.

    Look I don’t mean to come across as this crazy evangelist for driverless cars. It’s just that it doesn’t make sense to ignore the technology. GM invested half a billion in Lyft and purchased Sidecar’s assets, Ford’s CEO is now on the board of IBM and they’re tripling their driverless car test vehicle fleet. Uber is now valued at $62.5B (more than Ford or GM) and they’ve basically bought Carnegie Mellon’s robotics department as they’ve poached over 40 researchers. This stuff isn’t just a side project at Google anymore. It won’t be solution for every problem, New York isn’t going to just fill in their subways, but it’s equally as stupid to ignore it.

    #1113020
    Coremodels
    Coremodels
    Participant

    I think driverless cars are an exciting and probable part of our immediate future.

    I don’t think driverless cars are a substitute for rail or transit.

    Transit is more than people moving, its city building. Look at every single rail line in this country and the development and dollars that its driven, hell…look at the BRT in Cleveland and how much its driven. To me, that has always been the talking point that needs to be front and center when talking about rail. Opponents want to make it about dollars, supporters should be 100% happy to do just that.

    #1113024
    MichaelC
    MichaelC
    Participant

    Driverless cars are not a substitute for mass transit options. They’ll be a new cog in the wheel of our competing transit options. The technology will compete better in some cities than in others.

    Regarding parking: They will decrease the need for a parking space around the corner, but the need to park a driverless car elsewhere will of course persist. But not needing to concentrate so many in a few square miles will be valuable indeed.

    #1113028
    spfld_expat
    spfld_expat
    Participant

    After a few thousand blue screens of death and the literal deaths that will result from driverless cars crashing into semis and ditches, the resulting lawsuits will make Google, Tesla, etc. back away from them as if they were the plague.

    This sounds like something out of a chain email my Macintosh-fanatic uncle forwarded ca. 1998. Autonomous cars are already here and they’re getting better all the time. The Google driverless test cars are out there today and have logged over a million miles on public roads.

    #1113035

    Lu
    Participant

    The Detroit Auto Show last month was dominated by driverless news. The White House pledged $4b in driverless R&D. Toyota pledged $1b. Michigan is building a fake downtown to test driverless in urban environments. Ford is testing their autonomous cars in the snow. Alphabet made its driverless division a primary subsidiary (on par with Google). GM invested in Lyft. Elon Musk announced that new Teslas will be fully driverless as soon as 2018.

    This is moving faster than anyone predicted and is hardly a far-off utopian fantasy.

    #1113037
    spfld_expat
    spfld_expat
    Participant

    Speaking of on-demand driverless cars, there’s this from Tesla CEO Elon Musk:

    A couple months back Uber exec Steve Jurvetson made the offhand comment that if Tesla made 500,000 autonomous cars by 2020, the ride-hailing service would buy every single one. The internet had a laugh and the world moved on.

    During the call, a financial analyst asked if that was something Tesla would consider or “does Tesla just cut out the middle man and sell on-demand electric mobility services directly from the company on its own platform.”

    After an achingly long six seconds, Musk responded, “that’s an insightful question.” Followed by “I don’t think I should answer it.”

    http://jalopnik.com/musk-s-deafening-silence-during-tesla-earnings-call-spe-1722577227

    #1113045

    jbcmh81
    Participant

    To counter JCMBH81′s points<br>
    1. Based on Uber’s investment in driverless cars and GM’s $500M investment in Lyft you probably won’t have to own one.<br>

    Will the cost to use car-share services be comparable to someone taking the bus or a bike or walking? You’re still basically advocating a zero alternative scenario.

    2. See number 1. On demand cars won’t require parking. Also, it’s estimated that 30% of traffic in central business districts is caused by people cruising for parking. So if the driverless on demand car eliminates the need to cruise for parking it would help reduce traffic and reduce demands on parking infrastructure so an area could become more walkable.

    How do you have a bunch of cars that don’t require parking? And how in the world would it make things more walkable when the entire system would still be based on a car?

    3. It’s true there would not be fixed routes to encourage development, but I think it could help people live/travel to where they want to without worrying about the need to easily park a car.

    Your point here contradicts that driverless cars would make areas more walkable, because it has no inherent ability to promote walkable development. You’re also promoting a system that may make it easier for more people to drive everywhere.

    4. See the comment above above about CBD traffic, they can also safely travel much closer together better utilizing the existing infrastructure.

    Traffic that is packed closer together but is still moving is still traffic. The scenario here is that there will be even more cars on the road than before, not less. Even using existing infrastructure, more cars equals more maintenance dollars needed.

    5. This one is probably true. But at least Ohio is realizing they can’t build indefinitely and need to focus on maintaining what they have.

    Given how much money it will take to even get the existing infrastructure up to par, I can’t imagine a scenario in which turning the entire transportation system back over to the car will end up being cheaper financially. The fact that ODOT, champion of the highway, admitted they don’t have the money to keep going the way things are is telling.

    6. Potentially, but not necessarily, in areas where it makes sense to go pedestrian only currently it would still continue to make sense.

    Eh, but in a future in which alternative transit is basically dead and everyone has to use cars whether they like it or not, will this help or hurt the cause for pedestrian-friendly infrastructure? I’m not sure how it strengthens it.

    7. I’d say that driverless cars would be even better at sharing the road, they’re always on the look out for what’s in the road, they’ll be programmed to understand the rules of the road and won’t be complete assholes about sharing it like most drivers seem to be.

    I guess my point there was that such lanes might also be up for sacrifice to the car, not so much that driverless cars will constantly be smashing into pedestrians and bikers.

    Look I don’t mean to come across as this crazy evangelist for driverless cars. It’s just that it doesn’t make sense to ignore the technology. GM invested half a billion in Lyft and purchased Sidecar’s assets, Ford’s CEO is now on the board of IBM and they’re tripling their driverless car test vehicle fleet. Uber is now valued at $62.5B (more than Ford or GM) and they’ve basically bought Carnegie Mellon’s robotics department as they’ve poached over 40 researchers. This stuff isn’t just a side project at Google anymore. It won’t be solution for every problem, New York isn’t going to just fill in their subways, but it’s equally as stupid to ignore it.

    I’m not saying to ignore it, but I think that it will actively work against urban walkability and creating cities for people rather than cars. Whatever progress has been made on this front in recent years would be in danger once they hit the market. Just because a technology exists doesn’t automatically mean that everything about it is positive or that it will have no long lasting consequences.

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