Reducing congestion, is this the panacea UK roads need?

  • Google has been operating a driverless car for 190,000 miles around California without fault. The automated transport could make traffic flows more efficient, improve congestion, and reduce accidents and air pollution.
  • Crucially, congestion has a direct impact on health and economic efficiency at an estimated cost of £20 billion per year in the UK. More efficient use of transport and in turn roads would serve to reduce these impacts, providing wider social and economic benefits.
  • It is thought that driverless cars would reduce ownership due to shared dependence with cars working harder throughout the day due to programmable operations. Although unproven, the new technology leap is thought to reduce mental health issues and extend mobility of the elderly.

However, as discussed in the “Economy & Industry” section, the transition to driverless vehicles will mean a significant loss of jobs for taxi drivers, couriers and bus drivers. The change in the structure of transportation services would see both benefits and costs that would need to be managed through policy and support from both private and public sector initiatives.

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