Will Driverless Cars Impact Parking?

If you think driverless cars would never hit the market, think again. The future is now because they’re here. Brands are even competing to release self-driving vehicles to the general public. Ford has partnered with Uber by utilizing semi-autonomous Fusion’s to assist with user pick-up and drop-off in the City of Pittsburgh.


SpaceX’s Elon Musk predicts that self-driving cars will be making there way on the roads by 2023. That’s not as far away as we might have imagined. With redesigned self-driving vehicles, parking will be completely redesigned as well. But how exactly will parking be influenced?

Will parking lots change due to driverless cars?

Driverless cars will make a significant impact on transportation, specifically on parking. In 15 years from now, 90% of our current parking spaces will decrease due to autonomous cars.


Take Audi, for example. The brand launched an automated parking garage in Boston, specifically designed for self-driving cars. The garage “space for vehicles would be reduced by two square meters per car, with driving lanes becoming narrower, and staircases and elevators no longer needed.” If drivers are no longer needed to operate self-driving cars, robots can completely navigate the vehicle and simultaneously reduce the negative affects parking garages and lots have on the urban landscape. Since drivers are not needed, parking garages can be developed without elevators, stairs, and wide alleyways to get in and out of vehicles.

So what’s next for parking?

As autonomous cars become closer to being the standard norm on our roadways, one of the key priorities for developers is to create efficient parking lots, garages, on and off-street parking that can eventually be converted into retail spaces, apartments, and office spaces. For London, many of the lots are already offering electric charging stations where vehicles can refuel. With the increase in self-driving and electric vehicles, there is an abundant need for more charging stations to power vehicles.




As more and more driverless cars make their debut, they will completely transform the urban landscape and the way we move. Everything from how we navigate our city streets, commute, the real estate market, to how we fuel our cars will reshape our roads. With the implementation of autonomous cars, “smarter cars mean smaller spaces and therefore less development costs associated with parking,” said Brian Wright, founding Principal of Town Planning & Urban Design Collaborative. “As technology advances and more cities begin to adapt, the shift may lead more municipalities to figure out how to repurpose empty floors of parking garages, or start moving garages to the edge of town (since cars will eventually be able to valet themselves).”

This shift towards autonomous cars has the ability to change how developments are zoned and even how pedestrian-friendly streets are designed for cyclists and walkers.



With the shift toward autonomous cars, we’ll see a more efficient parking scene, a decrease in carbon footprints, as well as urban landscape alterations. The future is now, for autonomous cars. They’re ready, but are cities?


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