Will self-driving cars kill traffic in cities? Although it could be so, the theory could tell us otherwise.
There seems to be a shared opinion and in which the bulk of the population agrees regarding autonomous cars. Yes, sooner or later it seems that they will be consolidated as an option that will replace the conventional variant, that is, the vehicle that is driven by a user. In the future, autonomous driving systems will be positioned as more efficient alternatives and, of course, safer, since the human factor will not come into play.
In addition, the aggregation of artificial intelligence systems will allow better traffic management, right? Currently, tools such as Google Maps already incorporate the information provided by other users to report on the congestion present during the route. In fact, this type of program is already capable of draw different routes in order to save time. These are functions that have been added after the analysis of millions of drivers.
Can you imagine what could happen in the future, even more efficient due to automation? Although many people believe that higher efficiency will translate into the need for less of autonomous cars in cities, the truth is that there is a theorem that predicts, totally, the opposite. Yes, the use of this technology could cause a greater number of these vehicles to circulate on the streets. It seems utopian, but it would make sense.
Based on the Law of Supply and Demand, the phenomenon known as the Jevons Paradox could be fulfilled. This theory stands out for stating a possible scenario completely contrary to what might be expected. Much has been said about improving traffic management, but there is one variable that does not seem to be taken into account: the number of autonomous vehicles that will be needed. Here are the keys to an economic model that could ruin all forecasts.
Jevons paradox and its effect on the standardization of the autonomous car
There will come a time when the layout of the steering wheel and pedal set in cars stops making sense, this is obvious. In fact, it could be said that we are closer than ever to this being a reality. Now why would it make sense? known as the Jevons Paradox? According to this dilemma, an improvement in the efficiency of a product, despite its greater productivity, will lead to an increase in its use as the desire is to take more advantage of its advantages.
In application to the autonomous car industry, it would make even more sense. Currently, the car is usually the second most important source of spending, the first if housing is taken into account as an investment. This means that many families cannot access their purchase, and even more so with the current price escalation. Under this context, in the future this expense item will be eliminated as shared transport services become popular in cities.
So far so normal according to conventional predictions. However, it is necessary to go a little further. At first, traffic management will go as planned. However, the growth in demand will cause more companies to be interested in this future mobility market, which will cause the provision of a larger fleet. This, in the long run, will turn into more traffic. The role of the private vehicle will be eliminated, but there will be more supply of transport companies.
Greater travel management would not prevent traffic reduction
Under the current context, the improvement in efficiency, translated into greater productivity, will reduce conflict situations due to congestion. Therefore, the first part of the situation that could occur in a few years has been raised. Hiding, therefore, in a better management of resources, does not seem to be the best of the proposals when it comes to analyze the future of urban mobilityaccording to The Next Web portal.
In this particular industry, there will be fewer people willing to spend money in a car. This phenomenon is being observed today. The rise in the prices of automobiles and the corresponding fuels, the best infrastructure to move around the city or, simply, the presence of other markets with more interest such as mobile technology, is causing a slowdown in the sector.
The presence of transport companies such as FREE NOW or Uber, among others, makes it easier to access a personal transportation service. If this is already the case, imagine in a few years in which the cost of transport could be reduced due to the absence of the human cost. The increase in potential demand could cause, due to what was previously foreseen, that the improvement in productivity may not be enough to put an end to retentions and traffic.
Related topics: Urban mobility