The Effects Of Driving Cars On Transportation And Travel Essay

1577 Words Dec 2nd, 2015 7 Pages
Another potential benefit of self-driving cars involves improvements in traffic and travel times. Every driver knows the frustration of traffic: many have arrived late to important meetings as a result of standstills and slow speeds. In fact, congestion wastes about $100 billion a year of time and fuel in the United States (Hosansky). Traffic in major cities is particularly worse, as Manhattan drivers have an average speed of 9.5 miles per hour on weekdays (Grynbaum). Many believe that self-driving cars could follow each other safely at high speeds because they will know what the cars around them plan to do. Thus, the self-driving cars would decrease congestion and shorten travel times, making automobile travel significantly more efficient. According to a study conducted by Columbia University, the ability of cars to safely travel more closely together could increase highway capacity by 273% (Ackerman). Currently, vehicles occupy only 5% of highway capacity because human drivers need sizable space to drive safely. If cars drove themselves, the space between vehicles on highways would decrease from 150 feet to about 20 feet (Ackerman). Also, since the number of accidents should decrease as a result of anti-collision systems and vehicle-to-vehicle communication, backups caused by collision assistance, one of the most common causes of traffic, would diminish (Hosansky).
Nevertheless, there are still doubts that self-driving vehicles will actually reduce congestion. Richard…

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