Reply to post: Re: Missing the obvious

UK transport's 'ludicrous' robocar code may 'put lives at risk'

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Missing the obvious

This is stuff that a number of other countries (USA, Japan - I don't have details for Europe) are already doing to work towards better traffic management.

In the most obvious use case of congested motorways or urban roads, AVs won't deliver much over what could be done with existing technology such as ramp metering, variable speed limits, phased traffic lights linked to volumetric sensors. And even then, the marginal benefits of traffic management are quickly exhausted.

Look at the UK's Managed Motorways programme. What it does, it does very well, reducing accidents, congestion and improving capacity. Unfortunately what any regular user of these motorways knows (and any idiot capable of operating Google Maps can see on a computer) is that the improvement buy a few short years - and sometimes not even that - before the demand outstrips that raised capacity. The M42 is a classic example, but it is also evident on the M25, M60, certain sections of the M4 and M5. Having AVs won't make much material difference to this any time soon, if ever..

Politicians and technologists are clutching at straws. Technology can improve utilisation around the margin, but it won't resolve the problem of transport systems whose physical capacity is saturated, whether that's road lane capacity, road interchange capacity, car parking capacity, bus system speed and capacity, underground and rapid transit capacity - including interchanges, payment and access control, escalator, platform and stair capacity. The best solution is not AVs or smart cities, it is simply relocating business districts closer to where people live rather than in city centres dedicated to commerce and business, and a dramatic increase in the use and effectiveness of remote working solutions.

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