Autonomous vehicles promise to transform not only the experience of travel but the spatial structure of the city itself. Around 40% of a city’s physical footprint is consumed by transit infrastructure. How could smart vehicles change that equation?
One little-noticed but critical example: parking. A typical large city may have hundreds of millions of dollars of real estate value tied to parking. With autonomous vehicles, it could be possible to dramatically shrink that footprint, and in turn release that area for redevelopment. Moreover if the car itself is the valet, existing parking no longer needs to be on-site but can be relocated to release land for higher-value uses. The impacts could suggest a twenty-first century city which is dramatically more dense in terms of human use than those of the last century.
We worked with our partners Urban Standards, Stylepark and Mobility in Chain for the Audi Urban Future Initiative to understand exactly what this could mean spatially. We developed a parametric parking garage which adapts to various levels of automation, and projects developer return on such investments. In effect, we created a glimpse into the new real estate dynamic of the autonomous transit city.