I attended an interesting forum recently, hosted by the UDIA, which talked about the fact that there is often disruption, before there is evolution.
Perth itself is undergoing a period of disruption and Elizabeth Quay is a prime example of this! But we can take comfort that the pain is worth the gain!
The panel of speakers talked about a new world – that is not too far away, where automated vehicles (AV) would be the norm.
These vehicles would need a nominal driver for times of emergency, but their distinct appeal was their ability to pick up and set down at nominated destinations, hence diminishing the need for carparks etc.
This would certainly have the added advantage of freeing up large tracts of land and would also increase the appeal of public transport and TOD’s.
In addition these automated vehicles would remove any need for traffic lights, stop signs etc as they operate via fibre optics, which are already programmed into WA’s traffic system.
There are already examples of these AV’s in the United States and Google in fact, is working very hard to develop one of the first prototypes.
But as with all massive leaps of faith – there is need for change and Main Roads is already planning for their transition to this new age of transport. And while there may be some impact on employment for taxi drivers and the like, the benefits far outweigh any of the downsides.
The good news is, that as I reach retirement, I will be able to witness this remarkable transition and this concept for me is totally awe-inspiring!
If this is in our near future – I can’t wait to see what also transpires over the next 2-3 decades.