Tomorrow, the Cato Institue will release a new paper on the policy implications of self-driving cars. Antiplanner readers can download a preview of the paper today.
In a nutshell, the paper argues that self-driving cars combined with car sharing will put public transit agencies out of business. The average cost of transit, including subsidies is $1 a passenger mile. Self-driving cars should cost far less than half of that. This means there will be no reason to continue to subsidize transit except in a few very dense areas such as New York City.
The paper also points out that most of the effects of self-driving cars can’t be predicted today, so Congress should give up on the idea of having states and metropolitan planning agencies write long-range transportation plans that we know will be wrong. Transportation agencies should solve today’s problems today and prepare for autonomous vehicles by keeping roads in good repair and following consistent sign standards.
The Cato Institute will hold one or two policy forums on this subject in October. More about those forums will appear here in a few weeks.