While reading an article considering what daily life may be like with autonomous vehicles, a thought hit me: suburbs – compared to cities and rural areas – will benefit the most from self-driving cars. Sure, cities could remove a lot of cars off the streets and enhance pedestrian life. Rural areas could benefit from easier driving and trucking. Yet, as far as daily life is concerned, not having to pay attention to driving could help suburbanites the most as so much of their life involves driving from one place to another.
Here are the primary advantages of self-driving vehicles for the suburbs:
1. The commute to work changes as passengers can now work or relax or sleep on the way.
2. The other various trips in the suburbs now can be more enjoyable (like commuting in #1).
3. Suburbanites do not need to own as many vehicles.
4. Two groups disadvantaged by auto-dependent suburbs – teenagers and the elderly – now have access to transportation.
5. Suburbanites can live even further away from work and urban centers, possibly providing cheaper housing as well as more options regarding what communities they can live in.
6. The cheap goods suburbanites expect from big box stores and online retailers may be even cheaper as retailers and businesses also utilize autonomous vehicles.
7. Suburban congestion and traffic will be decreased due to both the new vehicles handling roads better and a reduction in vehicles (#3 above).
Granted, these reasons might not account for the ongoing costs of driving. For example, suburbanites may not need to own as many cars or may enjoy their regular drives more but roads still need to be built and maintained.