Influence of Autonomous Vehicles on Detroit Traffic

Nikhil Parvathala's picture

Hi everyone,

Building off of Glen's discussion "Detroit Traffic" from three weeks ago, I highly suggest the caucus to read the article below (published in November 2017):

It's about cities in metro Detroit planning for the implementation of autonomous vehicles. To add to the discussion of traffic in Detroit, I'd like to bring up a point about how autonomous vehicles may positively change the traffic situation.

CAVs (Connected & Automated Vehicles) are programmed to stay in lanes more precisely than vehicles with human drivers. How can this potentially reduce or eliminate traffic problems in Detroit?

Intelligently Utilizing Space - Perhaps, roads in the future could have lanes that are narrower, enabling opportunity for:

  • the creation of additional lanes (i.e. fitting 4 or 5 lanes in a space that was initially meant for 3 lanes)
  • larger drop-off lanes
  • safer pedestrian paths
  • more efficient parking spaces

However, with autonomous technologies implemented into the vehicles on the roads, it's also possible that in the future, less lanes will be necessary for Detroit passengers to begin with. It's still uncertain how autonomous vehicles will impact the landscape of traffic in major cities, as these vehicles have not yet been produced and utilized on the roads on a large scale. Some of the perceived advantages of autonomous vehicles in Detroit may also be destructive to the traffic regulations in place. 

What do you think? Please share your thoughts.