Autonomous vehicles in the UK will have a significant impact on the shape of our cities, potentially freeing up over 15,500 acres of land in London alone – enough space to build 180,000 new homes across the capital.
These figures are according to design and consultancy firm Arcadis, whose latest ‘Citizens in Motion’ report explores the disruptive influence that connected and autonomous vehicles, or CAV, will have on cities and their inhabitants around the world.
Arcadis estimates that widespread CAV usage could allow for the reclamation of up to 80% of space currently allocated to car parking in every city, providing an opportunity for local authorities and major developers to consider how their cities can best adapt now to exploit the potential benefits of driverless technology in the future.
In London, 54% of households currently have at least one private motor vehicle. As ride-sharing services continue to proliferate and customer engagement sees year-on-year growth, there is significant potential for automated technology to play a greater role in helping to move people around the city, take more vehicles off the road and free-up space for alternative uses.
Peter Hogg, UK Cities director at Arcadis, said: “London is grappling with congestion, overcrowded transport, poor air quality, and the need to improve the citizen experience. As we move towards mega city status [a city with a population of 10m or more] by 2040, these mobility challenges are going to become increasingly prevalent. While the proliferation of driverless technology is inevitable, what isn’t yet clear is what shape it will take in London.
“We have the opportunity now to be on the front foot; how London embraces CAV will be a key fork in the road that will either enhance or frustrate how well London performs economically. From building CAV into the city planning process, to incentivisation, regulation and licensing, true success will only come if we can recognise and respond proactively to CAV disruption in a way that works specifically for London and – most importantly – its citizens.”