Driverless cars to dominate by 2038

The majority of vehicles on Queensland roads will be autonomous by 2038, according to one South East Queensland engineer.
TransPosition director Peter Davidson said strong growth in the next two decades was the output of a study conducted for the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads which looked at the transport landscape for South East Queensland in the future and how that will affect peoples’ behaviour.
Mr Davidson will address the state’s leading engineers and public works professionals at the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia, Queensland (IPWEAQ) state conference at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on November 8-10.
“We wanted to investigate the effect autonomous vehicles would make on our road network and the long-term policy impacts of that,” Mr Davidson said.
“What we found was that in 2046 we could have a completely autonomous network, with higher speeds and capacities and far fewer crashes.
“This study is unique as it was done based on a detailed model of the South East Queensland network, including public and active transport.”
Mr Davidson said autonomous vehicles would change the way people act whilst in the car, leading them to see driving in a new light.
“People will use their time differently in autonomous vehicles,” he said.
“They will be able to catch up on emails, watch TV and eventually, sleep, making public and active transport a less attractive way of getting from A to B.
“Taking trips in cars will be more economical and attractive over other modes of transport leading to people taking more trips, more often, for longer distances in their autonomous vehicles.”
But whether autonomous vehicles will have the desired effect on congestion remains to be seen.
“It’s true autonomous vehicles will allow speed limits and road capacity to be increased, however, with the attractiveness of autonomous vehicles there will be more cars on the road,” Mr Davidson said.
“This is why the study recommended society move away from private ownership of cars and move into a service model, which would create a more efficient system and make better use of public transport,” he said.

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