Autonomous cars are almost here and so is high traffic

June 24th, 2019  |  Auto

There’s no question that autonomous transportation is on its way. However, researchers are learning that these cars may make traffic worse before it gets better.

In an interview with Global News, Todd Litman, executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute in British Columbia, said that Canada may see increases in total vehicle traffic reaching up to 30%.

“Cities need to start looking into regulations,” he said, stressing that this issue is quickly approaching.

The average Toronto commuter spends 34 minutes in their vehicle, and if Litman’s prediction is correct, that number could increase to up to 45 minutes.

Researcher Michal Antkiewicz from the University of Waterloo says that the problem is “at least 5 years away,” but the U.S. is already starting to feel the stress. He explains that the issue with these autonomous cars is that they’re not able to bend or break the rules and mankind can.

“[AVs] will never break any traffic rules,” he said. “If there is a speed of 50km/h, [AVs] will do 50km/h. [AVs] will wait for an efficient gap to merge into traffic, where a human would bend the rules to make progress. Autonomous vehicles will be more cautious.”

The idea of having an AV that can drive around the block while you’re in the grocery store might be convenient, being stuck on an on-ramp behind an AV that won’t merge into highway traffic is anything but convenient.