Transportation: How AI could transform a North American city by 2030

Most of the buzz around self-driving cars focuses on the decrease or elimination of road accidents and fatalities. But autonomous vehicles will offer multiple urban lifestyle improvements by 2030, when they are likely to be commonplace.

That’s the conclusion of the first report out from the Stanford One Hundred Study on Artificial Intelligence, a century-long effort to understand “near-term AI developments, long-term possibilities, and legal and ethical concerns.” The initial report considers the implications of AI in a typical North American city by the year 2030. Later this week, ImpactAlpha will round up the report’s forecasts for public safety, low-resource communities, employment, entertainment and other areas.

The researchers predict self-driving cars will change the way cities are designed. People will own fewer cars as on-demand ride-hailing services become more efficient and affordable. Fewer cars means less congestion and easier commutes. Not having to drive will free up commuters’ time and attention. “Traffic jams and parking challenges [will] become obsolete,” the study predicts. Fewer cars on the road will free urban space; in Los Angeles, parking currently takes up 14 percent of the city.

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