The idea of driverless cars has captured Americans’ imaginations-and no wonder. Just consider the joy of reading a book while your car skillfully steers itself through the madhouse of morning traffic!
But the changes such cars will bring go far beyond giving commuters peace of mind during rush hour. They are likely to also affect real estate trends. From new suburban development to fresh use of city space, interesting scenarios are beginning to take shape.
Driverless cars are likely to affect where people live and do business. For example, the majority of consumers who participated in a recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) poll (63%) said that if they owned a driverless car, they would “definitely” or “maybe” feel more encouraged to move further away from their work, reports RealtorMag.
This could bring a boom to formerly overlooked areas outside of the city. For example, “[u]nloved areas without mass transit might soon become more attractive,” notes Bloomberg Technology. And “out-of-the-way greenfield sites [might] become valuable locations for warehouses.”
On the flip side, parking spaces might lose their cachet in the city. Investors are “just starting to think about what to do with all the space that could be freed up in a world where cars no longer sit idle for an estimated 95 percent of the time,” notes Bloomberg. Parking lots could give way to other investments, such as apartments and housing developments.
Finally, “the fundamental design and experience of the urban street can be transformed,” one development expert told Bloomberg. “All of a sudden your streets become very safe, you don’t need physical barriers to protect pedestrians, you don’t necessarily need a curb the way we understand it today. Think of the wonderful places in some of the historic cities in Europe and elsewhere around the world where really the pedestrian is king.”
Put another way, the possibilities are almost as enticing as taking a catnap in your driverless car on the way home from work…
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