Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Proposal Calls For Limiting I-5 to Self-Driving Cars

I've been stuck on I-5 in Western Washington several times lately, but I'm not sure this is how to fix Kuow.com reports that a proposal to ban human drivers from the freeway is being discussed at a technology conference in Vancouver, B.C., that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, B.C. Premier Christy Clark, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are all expected to attend today.

the congestion problem.
Seattle's Madrona Venture Group suggests that a 150-mile stretch of the freeway between Seattle and Vancouver be occupied only by driverless cars — except for quiet times at nights and weekends.

Under the idea, robot-cars would just get to share the HOV lanes on I-5 to start. Over time, the driverless cars would get their own lanes, then eventually all the lanes 10 to 15 years from now, allowing human drivers on I-5 only during non-congested times such as weekends and 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. on weekdays.

The brains behind this suggestion say a driverless I-5 would boost business and tourism between the two cities. Some critics disagree though. University of Washington civil engineering professor Don MacKenzie said social equity must be considered and that a huge number of families with older vehicles would be out of luck. MacKenzie says that, with 60 percent of cars in the U.S. lasting 15 years or more, about 1.5 million cars will still be on the road in Washington in 15 years that were manufactured this year or earlier.

2 comments:

Rachel said...

Ridiculous. I would stop visiting Seattle and the other I5 cities if this were to happen. I don't live in the area, I don't need a driverless car. I'm not getting one just so I can go there. I'm not going there if I have to drive on the city streets because I can't drive on I5.

I mean, use other freeways when possible (because I5 sucks), but sometimes there's nothing but I5 available. And, I try to avoid rush hour, but sometimes that's just when I end up rolling into town (especially if I'm heading over on a Friday for a weekend conference).

SRTC Staff said...

I have found that it's hard to avoid rush hour on I5 anymore, especially on Friday. I leave Spokane at the crack of dawn on my way to Olympia but if I don't hit I5 by noon, I end up stuck for two hours. Last time I used Waze to avoid the backup but ended up driving back roads for the same two hours I would have sat on the freeway. Limiting the freeway to self-driving cars isn't the answer though. I think it would prove to be a hardship for many people. Like you, I have no need for a self-driving car anytime soon. Nor could I afford it if I wanted one. Luckily, it doesn't sound like there's a lot of likelihood this will happen.

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SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.