Driverless cars could free up enough space in London to build an extraordinary 180,000 new homes, according to a major new report.
Arcadis, a consultancy that looks at the built environment, says 15,500 acres of land in the capital would be released for other uses once more connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) – driverless cars – are on the streets of the capital.
In its report, Citizens in Motion, Arcadis forecasts what’s ahead for 14 world cities, including London, when driverless vehicles become commonplace. In London, where there is both a growing population (predicted to grow by a 0.7 every year) and a diminishing housing supply, Arcadis says more than half of all households (54 percent) have at least one vehicle.
With a vast amount of space dedicated to providing parking for those vehicles and the many that commute into London daily, Arcadis suggests driverless vehicles could instead reduce or replace private cars and reduce congestion.
At the moment, there are 27.1 million passenger trips by vehicle every day in London, and more than 4 million people regularly use ride-sharing apps to get around. Removing private vehicles and the car parking areas needed to service them would theoretically create more places for residential development.
Meanwhile, CAV is being tested in Greenwich as part of a trial led by the Transport Research Laboratory and the Government.
Peter Hogg, UK Cities director at Arcadis, said: “As London moves towards mega city status by 2040, mobility challenges will be ever present. How the city embraces CAV will be a key fork in the road, that will either enhance or frustrate city performance.”
Arcadis concludes that London’s mobility objectives should be: Transform London’s streets; improve public transport; create opportunities for new homes and jobs through encouraging more people to walk, cycle and use public transport by 2041.
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