Comment of the Day: The Coming Auto-Auto Utopia Will Save the Galleria for Woodlandsers

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE COMING AUTO-AUTO UTOPIA WILL SAVE THE GALLERIA FOR WOODLANDSERS “. . . I think you have a good point. Except that ‘travel is good for the soul’ bit. It is, but commuting isn’t travel, and I defy you to find more than a dozen people who think commuting from the Woodlands to the Galleria is good for their souls. (I work with a couple, their descriptions are more along the lines of ‘the soul-crushing hell of my day.’) But this actually becomes a driver for density. If you have really fast trains and you pair that with dense destinations, commuting by the maglev from Columbus to Houston becomes practical — you have to be able to get somewhere when you hop off that train. And technology changes will figure into this, which is why ‘freeways vs transit’ is a busted argument. Take a look at the self-driving car technology that’s developing really fast. When that hits usability, and you turn the roads into smart networks, you have a situation where they can handle a lot more capacity (because networked smart cars can use it far more efficiently than distracted primates). You also have the possibility of breaking the one-car-per-person paradigm, when you can order up a self-driving car to show up at work and take you home — cars no longer need to sit unused 95% of the time, and can be parked farther from destinations (‘Car — leave the parking structure to be at my door at 5PM, please’) which also makes density more practical — you don’t have to account for all those cars and junk up the streets with parking.” [John (another one), commenting on Comment of the Day: First We Crowd]

4 Comment

  • I will ride in a self-driving car when I can get through one day on the internet without having something crash or get stuck.

  • Old School, the computer systems tasked with piloting a 2-ton motorized steel cage filled with squishy human beings must necessarily be more robust and reliable than the ones used to make the web browsing experience look pretty. Has your car’s cruise control ever crashed to blue screen? The first waves of self-driving cars will feature little more than a glorified version that will allow the car to slog along 30 miles of highway without supervision, taking much of the pain out of the commute. Some of the big luxury land yachts are nearly there, they can hold a distance behind the car ahead, follow lane markers, and come to a complete stop on their own.

  • There is no way a self-driving car is as scary as the average Houston driver.

  • Regarding long commutes, my employer has a large and growing workforce downtown and a large fraction live in South Dallas and East San Antonio (and each of them claims it takes them “20, 25 minutes to get home.” Ha.)
    As a result my employer subsidizes bus passes, carpool parking and van pools. One result of this is that at 4pm you can hear crickets in the hallways. People literally stand up at 3:50 in the middle of important meetings and say “carpool” and leave.
    I’m not sure of the positive and negative effects of this on productivity, but it certainly annoys those of us who live within the bounds of civilization and have to stay to finish our work.