Atlantic Cities

Prediction of the Day: Cities Will Soon Compete to Build Driverless Car Infrastructure

Prediction of the Day: Cities Will Soon Compete to Build Driverless Car Infrastructure
Steve Jurvetson

The Transportation Research Board Conference is going on in Washington this week, which means Washington's nerd-per-capita ratio is higher than usual.

How high? Panel discussions included "Pavement Marking Management: Best Practices and Safety Benefits" and "State of the Practice in Ground Tire Rubber–Modified Asphalt."

No wonder, then, our correspondent found herself yesterday at a panel on driverless cars, which was so crowded that people were sitting on the floor. There, she heard an interesting prediction for the future of cities from Thomas J. Bamonte, the general counsel for the North Texas Tollway Authority. Bamonte thinks cities will start competing to create infrastructure and policy that are friendly to driverless cars:

"Metropolitan areas will start using this technology to distinguish themselves. If you want to be a forward-looking metropolitan region, you want to support this kind of technology because it puts you in the forefront of public consciousness as a forward-looking metropolitan area, as opposed to being stuck in the 20th century."

For example, making them legal. Or, more technically, creating stoplights that can communicate with oncoming drivers. Will cities battle for driverless cars like they fight for corporate headquarters? Let's hope so -- sounds like a productive competition.

Top image: Steve Jurvetson via Wikimedia Commons

Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at The Atlantic Cities. He lives in New York. All posts »

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