Each year, expectations for autonomous vehicles increase, and as technology continues to advance, science fiction becomes closer to becoming a reality.
The public began to envision, as a result of the Jetsons and other cartoons, a future in which self-driving automobiles navigated cities while their passengers read the morning newspaper or watched television.
Autonomous cars promise that our vehicles will drop us off at our destination, return to our houses, or park themselves until we call them back.
San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Scottsdale, Arizona, among others, have conducted tests of autonomous vehicle technology.
As cities begin testing the concept of self-driving technology on public roads, engineers and legislators have had to contend with critical concerns relating to infrastructure, automotive technology, and the influence of self-driving cars on municipal revenue and tax money.
Although proponents of the technology tout more convenient, cleaner, safer, and quicker commutes, it is evident that the majority of communities are not prepared for this impending change.
Let’s examine how self-driving vehicles might affect the financial health of communities so that local leaders can prepare for the transition.
1. Impact Of Self-Driving Vehicles On Municipal Revenue Sources
Proponents of self-driving vehicles assert that engineers will be able to design systems for automobiles and trucks that will prevent unpredictable and unlawful driving.
This is because self-driving vehicles will not be subject to human mistakes, reducing the number of traffic offenses and making the roads safer for everyone.
While safer roads are the ultimate objective in order to aid pedestrians and other cars, a significant decrease in traffic offenses such as double parking, speeding, and other traffic offenses would result in fewer citations.
Recent reports indicate that several U.S. communities have been aggressively issuing traffic citations to increase City Hall income.
In Buffalo, New York, the police released 32,000 citations in 2015 and more than 52,000 citations in 2016. This trend has persisted in Buffalo, New York, and drivers around the United States are receiving more penalties for speeding and running stop signs.
If engineers discover a method to eradicate traffic offenses via the use of new technology, cities may lose a big source of money.
Similarly, autonomous vehicles will remove the need for short-term parking at urban sports venues, workplaces, and other activities. The city often operates parking garages, and local governments earn a portion of the admission costs.
If autonomous vehicles are widely accepted, drivers will be able to have the vehicle drop them off at their destination, return home or park in a less costly place, and then turn around to pick them up.
As autonomous vehicle technology continues to advance, local governments may see a major decline in income, leaving them vulnerable to financial risk.
2. Impact Of Self-Driving Vehicles On Tax Revenue
State and local legislators must revise tax policy to account for the impact of autonomous cars on tax collections.
In addition to the lost money from fewer traffic penalties and parking, self-driving vehicles might reduce vehicle ownership, eliminate registration costs, and possibly affect the number of cash governments get from the gas tax.
States and municipal governments have created tax-based income sources based on obsolete technology. As new technologies alter how automobiles are used and how they are commercialized, lawmakers will need to devise creative means of generating cash.
States and municipalities might increase their income by introducing enhanced tax collection strategies that reflect the future of the transportation sector, such as congestion pricing, vehicle miles driven tax, and luxury tax.
Legislators should initiate the necessary steps to earn revenue from autonomous car technology since laws often lag behind technological advances. If cities and governments are unable to make this transformation, it will have disastrous implications on their finances.
3. The Effect of Driverless Vehicles on Roadway Design and Land Use Planning
The introduction of autonomous cars is anticipated to have a substantial impact on land use planning, real estate, and even infrastructure design.
This necessitates that urban planners evaluate the potential impacts of autonomous driverless vehicles on cities and the future problems for land use planning, particularly urban growth.
Future city designers will have to anticipate autonomous vehicle technology in a number of ways, including the requirement for increased lighting on highways. This is due to the fact that these cars employ cameras to gather information about their surroundings.
Future infrastructure must also have sensors throughout a city so that vehicles can interact with signs and other objects often associated with lines and colored pavement paint.
Due to their precise driving, autonomous vehicles need less lane width and smaller headway space than traditional vehicles, which may increase the road infrastructure’s carrying capacity.
This implies that roadways will be used more effectively, and when vehicles are able to speak with one another, traffic will flow more smoothly.
Also, city planners would not be required to offer many parking spaces in commercial locations, since autonomous vehicles will not need side clearance for human entry and departure. Cities will be able to lower the width of public roadways by up to 60 percent as a result of autonomous cars, creating several prospects for new construction.
Clearly, autonomous vehicles will have a huge influence on the efficiency of roadways while also liberating a substantial amount of land near highways.
Cities may use this land for more public space, such as parks, or property developers can create residential and commercial areas that would increase the tax base of the city.
As driverless vehicles gain acceptance, local and state legislators will need to examine how to balance the effect on revenue, safety, and land use planning.
While a number of impediments lie in the way of municipal developers, new possibilities, such as new property development, exist for communities to make up for lost income.