Autonomous vehicles, a living example of driverless technology, will play a crucial role in shaping the future of public transport. These vehicles are expected to be completely available on the road by the beginning of 2020. Autonomous vehicles, with their arrival, will certainly impact the fundamental functioning of urban transportation systems along with public transport.
Basically, public transport agencies have two major goals:
- Improve mobility across their respective areas
- Provide all their respective constituents with credible access to transportation.
Over the past couple of years, public transport agencies have focused on these goals by running bus or train transport systems that are sufficiently subsidized by the federal and state government. While the public transport system is dealing with the traditional transportation services, the private sector has come up with new technology-based transportation options like Uber and Lyft that have completely redefined public transport. In the near future, there are many such private companies who are going to introduce autonomous vehicles to deal with on-demand and fixed route services.
Impact of autonomous vehicles on public transport
The rising popularity and use of autonomous vehicles will give rise to several intimidating questions such as:
1. Will autonomous vehicles make public transport systems obsolete?
2. What will happen to other mobility options when this driverless technology is broadly adopted?
3. Should public transport agencies reduce or stop their investments as autonomous vehicles subsume their demand?