Tuesday Morning Thoughts: Rethinking the Need for More Parking

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This summer and fall, the Vanguard had a long debate over one of the proposed apartment complexes that had fewer parking spots than beds.  However, the more we examined the issue, looking at mode shares to and from campus, we realized that fewer and fewer students drive to campus – particularly when they are already in town and close by the campus.

Indeed, we have seen an increase in students who do not appear to have access to any car.  Instead they walk, bike or take the bus to school and utilize car sharing like Zipcars when they do need a vehicle to make a run to the store.

It suddenly occurred to me as we were discussing downtown parking that we are planning our downtown on the planning of yesterday rather than the planning of tomorrow.

One of our readers sent me a copy of a Mother Jones article from the beginning of 2016.

The numbers are astonishing.  The article notes that Disney’s Epcot center in Orlando is home to one of the biggest parking lots in America – 12,000 cars, 7 million square feet, the size of 122 football fields.  “If you look at the lot on Google Maps, you realize that it’s nearly the size of Epcot center itself. Disney built one Epcot to hold the visitors. Then it built another to hold the cars,” the article notes.

Disney isn’t alone.  “Parking is, after all, what cars do most of the time: The average automobile spends 95 percent of its time sitting in place. People buy cars because they need to move around, but the amount of time they actually do move around is tiny. So the cars are parked, and in multiple spaces: A car owner needs a spot near home, but also spots near other places he or she might go—the office, a shopping mall, Epcot.”

A 2011 student by UC Berkeley found that the US has about a billion parking spots to house only 243 million cars.  “If you totaled up all the area devoted to parking, it’d be roughly 6,500 square miles, bigger than Connecticut,” they quip.

Not only has the interstate highway system encouraged sprawl, but parking needs have equally profound effects, including the need for space, expense, and factors like this: “A study by the Sightline Institute found that at least 15 percent of the price of rent in Seattle stemmed from developers’ cost of building parking.”

But the world is changing.  There is an “end in sight.”  They write, “We are, they say, on the cusp of a new era, when cities can begin dramatically reducing the amount of parking spaces they offer. This shift is being driven by a one-two punch of social and technological change.”

On the social side, “people are increasingly opting to live in urban centers, where they don’t need—or want—to own a car. They’re ride-sharing or using public transit instead.”

And technologically, “we’re seeing the rapid emergence of self-driving cars.”

Color me as one of the skeptics on the latter.  But it seems like Uber and Lyft, if they can maintain their business models, along with Zipcars, could reduce the need for car ownership.  The key here is that people have an economical and reliable way to have the conveniences of cars without the hassle and expense of owning those cars.

On that front, if we can get past our distrust of technology, self-driving cars on the level of “urban design and the environment” could have huge benefits.

Writes Mother Jones, “After all, if cars can drive themselves, fleets of them could scurry around picking people up and dropping them off, working with sleek, robotic efficiency. With perfect computerized knowledge of where potential riders were, they could pick up several people heading the same way, optimizing ride-sharing on the fly. One study suggests a single self-driving car could replace up to 12 regular vehicles. Indeed, many urbanists predict that fleets of robocars could become so reliable that many, many people would choose not to own automobiles, causing the amount of parking needed to drop through the floor.”

“Parking has been this sacred cow that we couldn’t touch—and now we can touch it,” says Gabe Klein, who has headed the transportation departments in Chicago and Washington, DC.

“All that parking could go away, and then what happens?” he asks. “You unlock a tremendous amount of value.”

Do you buy it?

Way back in the 1960s, UCLA’s Donald Shoup became alarmed by the massive growth of parking. “Parking is wildly mismanaged—it’s probably our most inefficient use of resources in many ways,” Professor Shoup told Mother Jones.

“The deep irony is that cities rarely require developers to construct enough affordable housing, but they pass strict laws making sure vehicles can be adequately housed,” the article notes.

“We don’t force [developers] to build the right number of bedrooms for people! We just force them to build the right number of bedrooms for cars,” says Jeffrey Tumlin, the principal and director of strategy for Nelson Nygaard, a parking consultancy.

The belief is that the dominance of the car “is on the wane in many places.”

Some of this is the cost of fuel, but Jeff Kenworthy, a professor of sustainability at Curtin University in Australia believes it is more than that.  He says it is related to a concept known as the “Marchetti Wall.”  This concept is that “the majority of people disliked commuting more than one hour to work.”

Faced with a longer commute, “you hit the Wall and rearrange your life, finding a new, more local job or moving closer to the office.”

This has led in the last 20 years to denser cities and fewer people living in the suburbs.

But, Mother Jones warns, “this trend isn’t necessarily set in stone. While the number of vehicle miles traveled per capita in the United States began declining in 2005, it began rising again in 2014.”

They attribute that dip to the Great Recession and $4-per-gallon gas.  Constantine Samaras, a civil and environmental engineer at Carnegie Mellon University, believes that the rise is because the price of gas in the United States has since gone down, and “when the price is cheap, people are going to drive more.”

Despite this, many experts believe the urbanizing trend will accelerate due to the millennials who are “increasingly turning against the car.”

There is a huge trend towards on-demand services like Uber and Lyft.  Uber in 2015 reported making a million trips per day and, by the summer of 2015, it was growing about 300 percent per year.  Moreover, 70 percent of Uber customers are under 34 and 56 percent of them live in cities.

The article notes, “What’s more, Uber is seeing especially rapid growth in its ride-sharing offering, Uber Pool, which matches travelers heading to roughly the same destination. In exchange for sharing a ride, the fare is at least 25 percent cheaper than a regular Uber fare. The company introduced the service in San Francisco a year ago, and already nearly 50 percent of all Uber rides in the city are pooled.”

These facts stun Uber itself.

“The adoption of ride-sharing is larger than anybody anticipated. The market is massive,” says David Plouffe, the former Obama campaign manager who is now Uber’s chief adviser and a board member, during an interview at the company’s shiny headquarters in downtown San Francisco. “I don’t think anyone who was around in the beginning suggested that the market would be this big. I mean, we have a good service, but clearly this is married up with how people want to live.”

The article goes on to discuss the self-driving car.  It notes the Google self-driving car: “These cars have already driven a total of 1.2 million miles and have only been in a tiny number of accidents. The computer guidance system, said the engineer sitting in the driver’s seat—his hands folded in his lap—is a very cautious driver.”

“Ten years ago, self-driving car prototypes could barely drive 10 miles across a relatively uncluttered desert. Now they’re expertly weaving through traffic in Silicon Valley, Austin, and Pittsburgh.”

“The rate of progress,” marveled the engineer, “is mind-blowing.”

I am guessing much of the Vanguard readership views the self-driving car with the same trepidation as I do.  But this may well be another wave of the future that ends up saving us from ourselves.

After all, while there are multiple possible models for self-driving cars including private ownership, in a public model – they’d never need to park.  “The robocars could drive all day long, stopping only to refuel or for maintenance; at night, when there was less demand, they could drive out to a remote parking spot on the outskirts of town.”

Texas Professor Kara Kockelman believes, says Mother Jones, “that if you shifted the entire city to autonomous cars, it would need a staggering 90 percent less parking than it needs today. It’d be speedy travel: In Kockelman’s model, when people called for a car, one typically came along in about 20 seconds. It’d be profitable: When she spec’d out the cost of running an Uber-like fleet of robot cars, she calculated it would cost $70,000 to buy and deploy each vehicle, but that each would earn a 19 percent profit on investment every year. And rides would only be about $1 per mile, even if just a single passenger rode at a time—half as cheap as today’s typical Austin cab far.”

The problem with public transportation was always about time and convenience and cost – at these times and rates, maybe we would be able to overcome that.

The bottom line for today is that vision seems a bit off in the future though.  Still with models like Zipcars, Lyft and Uber, perhaps we should re-think parking in our own town and focus on making it more accessible to use alternative mode shares.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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29 thoughts on “Tuesday Morning Thoughts: Rethinking the Need for More Parking”

  1. Tia Will

    David

    Thanks for the article.

    I am guessing much of the Vanguard readership views the self-driving car with the same trepidation as I do.”

    You can count me as one who does not share the trepidation about self-driving vehicles. I have been anticipating and looking forward to them for a long time. However, what does not seem to be changing as rapidly as the technologic innovations that have brought us Uber, Lyft and self driving vehicles is the social adaptability that will be needed. As we rid ourselves of the need for parking spaces and automobile repair shops distributed so as to accommodate the need for individual cars and their owners, we will also need to adapt to the need for fewer drivers, mechanics and their support personnel. There will be need to support these individuals and their families until such time as the transition spreads.

    Now we could do this by simply laying them off in a version of the “constructive destruction” that one of our previous posters liked to reference and maybe consider some limited form of retraining which always seems to come in  the form of too little too late, or maybe we could recognize that our increasing reliance on automation is going to require a dramatic rethinking of what contribution to our society really means and how we could provide some form of support, such as a UBI so that displaced individuals could follow their own dreams and passions to contribute in ways that previously would not have provided them with a sustainable income in the form of a “job” as opposed to a societal contribution.

    1. Roberta Millstein

      I agree with Tia.  Obviously, autonomous cars are not there yet, but I am confident that they can be brought to the point where they are as good or better than human drivers.  I love the idea of being able to zone out while being driven.  But like Tia, I also worry about all of the people who will be put out of work.  I think a Universal Basic Income would be a good solution, but of course, not one that we are likely to see in the next four years or more.

      1. Howard P

        Well, am guessing that autonomous cars will require a higher level of maintenance than other cars, in order to keep them functioning safely… might be different maintenance skills, but am not convinced about saturation into the market, nor loss of jobs.

        Tangentially, what would UBI look like?  Say someone whose passion is art (regardless of skill) and/or video games… and they volunteer 15 hours a week for “societal benefit”?  Would they get 30k/yr to cover housing, food, utilities, and some creature comforts?  And if someone worked 40+ hours a week, making $45k/ year in today’s economy, I assume they’d get nada, as their income exceeds the UBI.  Or, would even an NFL “starter” get the UBI?

        I’ve tried to google UBI and find little, except the Swiss rejected it overwhelmingly, as liberal as they are (except, perhaps for the past requirement of mandatory military training/service).

        or… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yjy-fnsmWR4

         

        1. Roberta Millstein

          My understanding is that everyone gets the UBI, period, and anything they earn above that is theirs.  But of course, there are many ways that this could be implemented – that’s just one.

        2. Dave Hart

          I found quite a lot on Universal Basic Income when I type in the long term as opposed to UBI.  Yes, virtually every job is subject to automation including auto transport.  The self-driving long haul truck technology is well-developed and may become more pervasive than the automobile.  The biggest wrinkle for trucks is who is responsible for unloading at the delivery point?  So, the UBI is more than ever a pressing question.  Or would we rather see roving bands of unemployed taking what they need to survive and quadruple our tax dollars for paid police?

  2. Don Shor

    It’s difficult to see how any of these changes would make a significant reduction in the need for downtown parking related to shopping and other visits. The ad hoc committee that met for many months to make recommendations on downtown parking put together a lot of data here:

    http://gettingarounddavis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Draft-DPMP-Final-Report-v3.pdf

    Lots of data about actual usage there, as well as some key principles:

     

    Visitors expect parking to be free. While free parking is a convenience for customers and a competitive advantage for suburban shopping options, parking is never really free. Upfront costs, maintenance, and operations are simply integrated into the cost of all purchases, whether one drives or not. But clearly, parking costs are not directly internalized by shoppers.

    People want to park as close to their destination as possible. Searching for a prime parking space is a natural human behavior. In suburban settings, few direct externalities are imposed on others as shoppers circle the lot searching for a closer space. However, when occupancy rates in a downtown setting are high, circling degrades the downtown experience through increased traffic congestion, noise, and potential conflicts between bicycles and pedestrians.

    Drivers like to see their destination from their parked cars. Suburban shopping centers, particularly “big box” centers, distort perceptions of walking distance versus downtowns due to building height and mass. Customers frequently walk farther than realized. Nonetheless, an element of comfort and safety exists for customersability to see the destination from their car and vice versa. Perceptions of distance in a downtown are often exaggerated when customers cannot see their destination. 

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Short term, other than the fact that Millenials drive less and perhaps Lyft and Uber can deliver people downtown more, there is not a short term reduction in need for parking. But I think long term, it will change that need and then the question is do we want to invest in expensive parking projects or focus on other things.

      1. Don Shor

        But I think long term, it will change that need and then the question is do we want to invest in expensive parking projects or focus on other things.

        That’s what I was afraid of. So I went ahead and read the Mother Jones article. It’s not exactly a balanced presentation on traffic and circulation issues. The first hint comes when you get to phrases like “the metastasizing of parking….”
        There are interesting technological changes occurring, and people are using ride-share services more. But I don’t think this forms the basis for a wholesale change to our traffic and parking planning process.
        That process included a committee that met for many hours over many weeks. It included stakeholders from across the spectrum in Davis*. Though there was not unanimity and there was some last-minute dissent, they came to a broad set of principles and recommendations based on what appear to be shared assumptions about parking needs.
        So do you have evidence that parking demand is decreasing in downtown Davis? Looking at the charts in that committee’s reports, is it likely that these changes would have a significant impact on the peak demand issues that they were addressing in their recommendations?

        * committee members:
        Jennifer Anderson
        Michael Bisch
        Cliff Contreras, ex-officio (UC Davis TAPS)
        Robb Davis
        Sara Granda
        Amanda Kimball, Vice-Chair
        Alzada Knickerbocker
        Matt Kowta, Chair
        Rosalie Paine
        Steve Tracy
        Johannes Troost
        Lynne Yackzan
        Council members at that time:
        Brett Lee, Lucas Frerichs

  3. Marina Kalugin

    yes to all the sharing..the issues are

    1) people do not know what is good for them and they will adapt…  I mean in places like Europe and upscale areas   folks walk more and relax more and they do not buy as much trash aka the dollar stores and fast food garbage and even target and forever 21.. but they support the real craftsmen and buy unique items for gifts and souvenirs and sit and enjoy sidewalk cafes… .ala Tucos…. or Monticello.. and the other places which are gone due to poor planning and too many developers run amuck

    2) employees would never consider ignoring the signs of no reparking and no employee parking near their downtown workplace if they were told to comply or find another job  ( of course exceptions for ADA and seniors but they already have an exception  unless one really works off hours there are plenty of ways to get to work in Davis ……

    3) because many employees hog the spaces there are not spaces for customers….  one solution is to get rid of ALL the spaces then there won’t be traffic jams while people hog and repark  and so  on.

    4) open up the streets in the core to pedestrians and bicyclists… the bike cabs will also be back and booming for those cannot walk that far or have too much to lug…

    5) put more park and ride lots..  and shuttle folks around..   the reason folks don’t like the shuttles is there are never enough of them and one has to wait a long time.. no one should wait more than ten minutes.. 5 is better.

    I have  posted these and many other ideas for many a week/month now.. .and yet.. some think PAID PARKING makes any sense?   not in the core if ya want people to go to the core..

    People meaning everyone …  not just students..

    that will be only more reason for folks to head to Woodland and Dixon.. and if they have more time to enjoy elsewhere, then to Sac and Winters…

     

     
    and btw the paratransit will pick up and deliver anyone with needs for a song and come pick ya up also..

  4. Howard P

     the US has about a billion parking spots to house only 243 cars.

    Assume you mean 243 million

    I also assume that is exclusive of SF driveways and garages.  Does it include only marked spaces on the street, commercial lots, or does it include MF parking,inc. carports, workplaces, and/or any possibly available on-street parking including remote residential areas?

    A cite to the study would be illuminating… so… for a single car, would appear that at least two spaces are needed… one for home, one for work… assuming one has to drive to work.  And yes I’ve had family members who were car-less their entire lives, but still needed a space for out-of-town visitors…

    Our house has six… 3 in DW, 3 (technically) in garage.  The most cars the household has had is 3 cars. [not counting any curbside availability]

     

  5. Alan Miller

    This all caves right into developer wishes to build less parking.  But let’s get ahead of ourselves over a possible future.

    Business owners know better than anyone what the market will bear.  When downtown is ready to make the streets on-demand-vehicles only, that will show the market has changed.

    Remember the new apartment complexes where the oft complaint is not enough parking spaces were built, and there are too few spaces for visitors to park.  A developers dream:  more land for buildings.

    This is not urban SF.  This is Davis.  I don’t believe the change will be that grand, though it certainly is happening.  At any given time we have gone 0-1 Ubers in town to about 3-7 over a year at any given moment.

    I have huge concerns about self-driving cars.  A logarithm deciding whether to crash into a tree, another car, or a child?  Heaven help us!  And what of flashes of a strobe, strong radio signals, or animals?  Humans are hell of fallible, but I don’t want a computer deciding whether to run over my cat or hit a huge pile of leaves.

    And imagine a ‘super-careful’ driverless Uber passing through a ‘bad’ neighborhood that has learned that you can put a cardboard fridge box in the street and the Uber will stop, and then you smash in the windows and rob the passenger. No thanks.

    1. Tia Will

      But let’s get ahead of ourselves over a possible future.

      Business owners know better than anyone what the market will bear.  When downtown is ready to make the streets on-demand-vehicles only, that will show the market has changed.”

      Two thoughts.

      1. I believe that we are the authors of our future. It is not as though the future is just something that happens to us. Especially when we are looking at massive construction such as parking structures, I believe that we need to be looking not only at what our demand has been over the past years, and what the demand is currently, but more importantly what it is likely to be in 5, 10, 15 years. This would be my criticism of the otherwise fine and thoughtful work of the committee members. I think that the end product relied too heavily on the present and recent past and too lightly on the trends amongst today’s millennials and what their impact will be on our shared future.

      2. If business owners really did know “better than anyone” what the market will bear, we would not see boom and bust cycles. We would not see malls putting downtowns out of business and then themselves failing 20 years later. Business owners are subject to all the shortsightedness, comfort with the past and present and fear of change as are all other human beings. Over the past 30 years, we have seen stunning changes in technology, how news is disseminated, in both the practice and delivery of medical care, in how goods are ordered and delivered with my children rarely setting foot in a store other than for groceries since they order almost everything else on line. For me, even the bulk of my food is purchased on line through a delivery service operating out of New York. And yet, we continue to believe that we need a model of 60 years ago because that is the model our downtown merchants prefer…..even though many other communities of similar size and type thrive using a different model ?

      I think that it is time that we started designing the future that we want. Not defending the past complete with its obvious inadequacies for current and future need.

    2. darelldd

      Even by saying that “Humans are hell of fallible,” you give humans far too much credit.

      “A logarithm deciding whether to crash into a tree, another car, or a child?”

      You’ll take your chances with the drunks, the sleepy, the inexperienced, the unskilled and the distracted? What’s 35,000 deaths per year, right? When was the last time that your driving skills were tested?

      When people talk about this scary decision being left up to a computer, they seem to assume that a person in this same panic situation could and would somehow first make a rational decision, and then execute it. Neglected is the compelling idea that while a human may well be faced with this surprise situation, an autonomous car would have assessed the situation well before a human could have anticipated the emergency. And the tree, the car and the child would all be spared because no emergency maneuver at the last moment would be required. This sort of “saving people from the things they can’t even see” is already happening in real-time in the real world.

       

  6. Dave Hart

    When she spec’d out the cost of running an Uber-like fleet of robot cars, she calculated it would cost $70,000 to buy and deploy each vehicle, but that each would earn a 19 percent profit on investment every year. And rides would only be about $1 per mile, even if just a single passenger rode at a time—half as cheap as today’s typical Austin cab far.

    The IRS says it costs about $0.55/mile to operate a car.  The fact that Uber is cheaper than a commercial cab doesn’t make it economical compared to owning and parking one’s own car.  Reducing auto trips has to be sold as an attractive social alternative with an immediate benefit.  One has to believe that by not driving somewhere with their own car that they will live longer, have more friends, better sex, or something equally enticing and that the reward will be immediate, not way down the road somewhere.

    1. Alan Miller

      One has to believe that by not driving somewhere with their own car that they will live longer, have more friends, better sex, or something equally enticing

      Sounds like an old-timey beer commercial.

      One probably can have better sex in an Uber as they don’t have to steer.  And even more so if there isn’t a driver watching (unless you’re into that sort of thing).  Cleanup is another matter . . . and we won’t go there, as this is a family blog (or is it?).

    2. Tia Will

      DaveHart

      OK….I cannot vouch for the “better sex”, but people who routinely walk as opposed to drive do live longer ( increased exercise and better weight management in the short to mid range, and in areas prone to heavy smog, everyone does better in the long run in terms of respiratory issues. People who walk also do have more social interactions, if not “more friends” as they tend to interact more than if they are solo in their car.

      Do I get credit for two of three ?

       

  7. Dianne Tobias

    I find it interesting how often there is not enough parking for new building. Davis Diamonds for instance daily takes all the frontage parking plus their lot. How did that get passed? If the hotel on the frontage road goes through CC that will need to change. That road Cowell is probably not safe for young kids to bike to so that’s not an option unless they came through the green belt off Albany.

      1. Howard P

        Slightly separate irony… the folk who drive 1-3 miles to the ‘health club’ where they pay to “work out”… instead of using a bicycle to warm-up/cool-down… I’ve done it (drove) in really bad weather, but…

        1. Alan Miller

          the folk who drive 1-3 miles to the ‘health club’ where they pay to “work out”… instead of using a bicycle to warm-up/cool-down…

          Yeah, amen to that being ironic and odd.

  8. Mark West

    “Davis Diamonds for instance daily takes all the frontage parking plus their lot.”

    I’m curious why you think this is bad? What other businesses are being impacted by Davis Diamonds patrons parking on the street?

    “If the hotel on the frontage road goes through CC that will need to change.”

    The hotel will supply sufficient off-street parking for its patrons and likely have extra for the Davis Diamonds patrons to utilize as well. Seems to be sufficient parking for the two businesses when you combine the on-street and off-street parking.

    “That road Cowell is probably not safe for young kids to bike to so that’s not an option unless they came through the green belt off Albany.”

    Why would anyone bike on the roadway when the bike path through the greenbelt is so convenient in that neighborhood. That said, Cowell is quite wide in that area with a large paved shoulder between the sidewalk and the roadway, making it relatively safe for bikes despite the speed limit. The only ones likely to come through from Albany will be Rose Creek residents.

    1. Howard P

      A couple of points…

      Absent aberrant behavior, there is  little/no correlation between bike/car crashes and speed of traffic, when the bicycle user is in a bike lane… driveways/other turning movements are the problem (yes, if the rare crash occurs elsewhere, it is usually very bad for the bike driver… very low incidence/very high consequences).

      Most in So Davis can ride a bicycle between San Marino, all of Oakshade, Rosecreek, Tanglewood, etc. and Davis Diamonds, without crossing a  major street at grade.  Same is true of Mace Ranch Park, Davis Manor, etc.  All within 2.5 miles of riding distance…

    2. darelldd

      Why would anyone bike on the roadway when the bike path through the greenbelt is so convenient in that neighborhood. 

      By riding from Davis Diamonds to the tunnel under Lilard to Walnut Park, you can easily answer your own question. Our “convenient” bike paths are in horrible condition with root heaves that would not be tolerated on roads that are travelled by multi-thousand-pound 4-wheeled vehicles with suspension.

      And convenient… I suppose the meandering green-belt paths are convenient to the people who live along the path in the same neighborhood. But Davis Diamonds attracts customers from all over Davis (and outside of Davis) – many of whom will have routes that are far more convenient on the road.

      I speak from experience, having ridden to Davis Diamonds in both locations almost daily for the past 12 years.

  9. darelldd

    we are planning our downtown on the planning of yesterday rather than the planning of tomorrow.

    David, you do realize that I posted this very concept in one of the previous recent columns on parking? Regardless, you are right on track with this thinking. Which is comforting, coming after your comment about the “need” for a new parking garage – which is the equivalent to the “need” for planning for yesterday.

     

    I am guessing much of the Vanguard readership views the self-driving car with the same trepidation as I do.

    And now my comfort evaporates…  What inspires you to guess this? And what gives you such trepidation, to the point of projecting it onto “much of the readership?” Are you more comfortable with 35-40,000 deaths and millions of serious injuries every year (in the US alone) than with embracing a huge part of the solution? What followed this comment was a good indication of why trepidation is not warranted, so I’m curious what it is you fear?

    I can tell that some here think that autonomous cars are part of some sci-fi program well out on the horizon. Well, hang onto your hat. Autonomous automobiles are as far-fetched, or as much of a fad as e-commerce was 15 years ago, or smart phones were ten years ago, or electric cars were five years ago. Go buy your Tesla online, and summon it out of your garage with your iPhone, and we’ll talk about what’s coming… and what is already here.

    (and oh, how I wish there was some way for the system to alert me to replies. Coming back to find them a day later is like finding a needle in a haystack… unless somebody has some tips?)

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