How self-driving cars can transform parking

Studies have shown roughly 30% of traffic in central business districts is caused by drivers hunting for curbside spaces. Consider Santa Monica, where during the weekday peak, according to a city-employed parking consultancy, the six closest parking structures to the Santa Monica Promenade reach 90% capacity. The next two closest structures, meanwhile, remain under 40% capacity. Driverless cars have the potential to better distribute demand for existing parking spaces, reducing traffic in the process. Shifting parking from the curbside and strip mall lots to centralized structures will likely carry additional benefits for non-drivers too. Even with existing cars ā€” let alone the more futuristic stackable cars that some researchers propose ā€” driverless cars can be packed into structures more tightly than can human-operated vehicles. Parking lanes can then be converted into bike paths and wider sidewalks.