Conceptual rendering of a streetcar and bike lanes adding capacity to an existing roadway without negatively impacting automobile traffic. Rendering courtesy of VIA Metropolitan Transit.

Commentary: Automated Cars Will Not Cure Traffic Woes

Critics such as Randal O’Toole (see his commentary, “Cars Are the Future of Urban Transportation,” previously published on the Rivard Report) are continually predicting that mobility options such as public transportation will one day vanish into obscurity.  He makes the claim that automated cars will make roadway congestion “go away.”
On the contrary, congestion is not going away. Congestion of all sorts continues to increase every year, especially as a function of the ongoing population growth of our state. The good news is that, working together, we now have an opportunity to manage the rate at which roadway congestion increases relative to population. Roadway congestion is as much if not more of a function of land use, as it is other capacity challenges. The location of homes, jobs, and services, and how they are arranged relative to one another, create our need and indeed, our desire, to drive to wherever we have to go.