Self driving cars as horizontal elevators to spread downtown living accessibility

Brad Templeton discusses how low speed self driving cars like the recent Google self driving pods could bring ten minute access to downtown areas by an additional 1 to 2 miles.

When you have skyscraper density, as in downtowns and most of Manhattan, there is much greater density of retail streets, and everybody is close to neighborhood activity and shopping. You just step out of your unit and take the elevator down to be right in the thick of things — a very walkable space. But most cities consist of lots of land with packed single family homes and townhomes, or apartment blocks 2-3 stories high.

The robocar might create something akin to a “neighborhood elevator.

This ride probably is free to you, or certainly very cheap. The vehicles are simple and not expensive, and either the businesses along that street or your own neighborhood association are probably quite glad to pay for them to get your custom. (It also means they need less parking and pays for itself quickly that way.) Most importantly, it’s as seamless and easy as riding an elevator in a condo tower or a high density area.

This seamless experience could make a very large area — 2 or more square miles — feel just as close to the walkable space as the houses that are “steps” from it. This in turn will both raise the value of the more remote houses and possibly slightly drop the value of the really close ones who lose a bit of their advantage. (In fact they are noisier so they may lose more of it.) The merchants get a big win with a lot more people who find it trivial to shop this way.

Moving in downtown areas is getting faster and easier with the popularity of Bike Sharing

Bay Area bike sharing is becoming popular and make it easy to grab a bike ride it and then park it within a block of so where you want to go

New York has Citibike.

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