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Self-Driving Cars Are Great, But Self-Driving Buses Solve The Traffic

The self-driving car has had a very long history before it reached its usability today. Introduced to the American public by General Motors at the 1939 New York’s Fair, the Depression-era dream of automated highways has perpetually lagged behind the present in drivers’ rear-view mirrors. 75 years later, Google’s self-driving car celebrated its 1,000,000th mile with no at-fault accidents. Also, Nevada State and California State have recently passed laws allowing for self-driving cars to become commonplace.

Self-driving cars are coming, and they could change the world by reducing car crashes. But there is still a snarl-up issue: heavy traffic.

According to recent research from the Centre for Economics and Enterprise Analysis and the corporate Inrix Inc., America wastes about $2.8 trillion being stuck in traffic by 2030. Also, another study claims that trends in urban motorization could reduce the number of motor vehicles in use globally in 2035 by 250 million and trim new sales by 30 million units annually. That is, too many cars in too little space! Yes, Americans, we have too many cars.

Self-Driving Cars Are Great, But Self-Driving Buses Solve The Traffic

We are experiencing a renaissance in public transportation in cities around the world, from Bogota to Guangzhou to Jakarta, as they have shown how bus rapid transit can be a faster, cheaper, more flexible and energy efficient way to move large numbers of commuters than either cars or trains. Now with autonomous buses, can we also travel safely only feet apart at top speeds?

Remember this earlier year, a France-based company showed off a self-driving shuttle bus at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It’s the first commercial driverless vehicle  available in the U.S. With a top speed of 12 miles an hour, the shuttle is intended for college campuses and airport parking lots. Seriously, we need to think harder about how self-driving vehicles will actually perform in the real world, and more importantly, how they can be used not just to repair but to reinvent our transportation systems.

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