To understand the potential for self-driving cars it helps to understand the evolving spatial structure of urban areas as well as the inadequate responsiveness of traditional transportation modes in the face of this change. The typical megacity (> 10MM residents) now covers more than 5000 square kilometers. As urban labor markets continue to increase in size, urban trip patterns are evolving quasi-universally: involving increasingly dispersed origins and destinations over longer distances.
*This paper was written for the Marron Institute Conference on Self-Driving Vehicles, which took place on May 28 & 29, 2015 and was convened with support from Google.
Photo courtesy of Melody Joy Kramer.