Planning for the Death of Parking in American Cities

parking lot
Photo via autohistorian

In the latest issue of Mother Jones, Clive Thompson investigated how the rise of autonomous cars, and Americans’ desire to live in more walkable cities, will mean no longer having to set aside vast amounts of land for parking lots. Many articles have offered a utopian vision of our autonomous driving future, but what I particularly like about Thompson’s piece is that he offers another vision of the smaller changes that are likely to come first—like cities eliminating requirements about how much space developers must set aside for cars, or a collective move to autonomous parking:

“You don’t need fully autonomous cars to get big reductions in parking. Already some cars can parallel park themselves. Carmakers could soon produce vehicles that you drive yourself but that, once you’re at a parking lot, you send off to find a space by themselves. Since nobody would need to get in or out of them after they parked, they could position themselves as snugly together as Tetris bricks, fitting far more cars into our existing parking lots and garages. Achieve even this small feat of self-driving, and it could be possible to never build another piece of parking, says Samaras, the Carnegie Mellon engineer.”

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