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Look How Much Nicer Our Streets Will Be When They're Used By Self-Driving Cars

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Autonomous cars are coming, and with them comes the promise of a future that’s safer and healthier for all. These are the most compelling visual arguments for that future that I’ve seen yet.

A new study, “Making Better Places: Autonomous vehicles and future opportunities,” explores how self-driving vehicles will help transform where we live, from the physical improvements on the street to larger societal and economic impacts. While there have been plenty of predictions about the many benefits of autonomy, namely from the reduction in car ownership, it’s been difficult to envision what those changes might actually look like. The authors of this study—from two British architecture, planning, and engineering firms Farrells and WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff—are able to break down the infrastructural changes block-by-block.

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Most of the discussion around self-driving cars is about the changes that will happen in urban, densely populated areas. It’s true that cities will have the opportunity for the greatest impact from self-driving cars. But I am most impressed with these images because they also incorporate the changes that will happen in suburban neighborhoods and even rural areas. As you can see from these images, the benefits to society will be nearly universal. You can watch as self-driving cars eliminate the need for street signs, and parking lots magically make way for parks. The “after” images just look like better places to live.

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[Making Better Places: Autonomous vehicles and future opportunities]