Editor’s Note: This is the second post in a four-part series about the impact of driverless cars on design and planning. On Monday, Alan Mountjoy reported how BMW is planning for a disruptive future; on Wednesday, architects and planners from NBBJ shared some surprising impacts on a wide variety of topics. On Thursday, Alex Krieger looked at the potential downside of increased congestion.
I can picture the future already… I love my driverless car. Since I bought it and joined the growing ranks of commuters on the driverless-car-only lanes my stress levels have reduced and my commuting time has decreased, giving me more time with my family. They have noticed the change in me, and my work productivity has increased.
As a group driverless cars are more efficient and travel at higher speeds with no accidents. That’s not the only change: The corridor along the highway, once a dead space filled with noise and pollution, has become a cleaner, quieter place because these cars are electric. Local residents are beginning to use this linear space more for outdoor activities, and they’re getting healthier — the continuous air and noise monitoring has proven it. The city is now looking at recovering major portions of this space for local parks and recreational activities.
Now that I have some free time in my car, I scheduled my annual check-up for this morning’s commute — in my car. My wearable health monitor connects automatically to my car’s system, and my seat measures my weight and several other things. Right on time, my large screen monitor activates and my nurse practitioner is on the line. He has already downloaded all the information that is being monitored, and it is there on the screen for both of us to discuss. The car’s high-resolution camera is also doing a facial scan and comparing it to previous scans to determine if there are any other physiological indicators that have changed. Because of my reduced stress levels, my blood pressure medication is being reduced; the new prescription will be waiting for me at my office, delivered via secure drone.
I have not been in a doctor’s office in years and neither have many of my friends. The availability of telemedicine everywhere, even in your car, has turned the entire notion of routine and urgent care on its head. Many of the medical office buildings that were built during the ambulatory construction boom of 2015–2025 are now being renovated for residential use — and those apartments incorporate less parking too.
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