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Transportation Planners Brace for Driverless Vehicles

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Getty Images

ST. CLOUD — As transportation planners look toward the future, they’re tasked with trying to predict what our transportation system will look like. Industry experts are suggesting significant changes on how we get to our destinations over the next few decades with the advent of autonomous vehicles and car sharing.

St. Cloud Area Planning Organization Executive Director Brian Gibson says car sharing would create on-demand transportation and eliminate the need for car ownership. That would reduce the need for parking lots and parking ramps.

Gibson says autonomous vehicles would take the human element out of driving and change our road system…

Lanes can be narrower.  We might need fewer lanes because we can pack more vehicles into the existing lanes.  We don’t have to allow for reaction time.  Vehicles are all talking to one another and they’re reacting based upon what the other vehicles in their environment are experiencing.  So, the potential impact to infrastructure could be really, quite substantial.

Gibson admits we are in the beginning stages of this technology, but industry experts predict it could become reality in the next decade or two. That presents challenges to transportation planners who must predict what our road system will be years into the future.

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