Driverless Cars Going Nowhere in America

TRaffic jam10 years ago they introduced incentives for people to purchase driverless cars. They also encouraged shared ownership designed to reduce the number of cars on the road. They have in fact reduced the level of car ownership, but instead of spending an average of 3% of their time on the road, just privately owned cars are doing 10 times the number of trips that the average car did and this is causing gridlock with major traffic jams throughout the country.

Take the example of the Jones family in Sherman Oaks, CA. Dad goes to work at 6 in the morning while Mum gets the kids ready for school. While they finish their breakfast the car is coming back from central Los Angeles to pick up the kids, take them to school and then back home to Mum who has a part time job in San Fernando. She doesn’t have a car park, so the car goes back home and then the reverse happens in the evening. All in all the one car does around 11 trips during peak hours. Previously they had 2 cars, but they only did 4 trips including taking the kids to school.

So we halved the number of cars but the number of car trips has increased dramatically. DOT’s around the country are investigating platooning, peak hour tolls and other technologies to try and reduce the impact of this new phenomenon which is grinding urban centers around the country to a halt.

TomTom Live Gets Real Time Car Park Availability

I’ve been a fan of TomTom Live products ever since they launched HD Traffic which was put set up for New Zealand and Australia by GeoSmart has saved me so much time over recent years, whether its getting to a business meeting on time (or letting them know exactly what time I would get there) or to my childrens’ concerts and sport competitions.

I love the new TomTom Live Carpark feature! It doesn’t just find a car park it finds an available car park closest to the destination you enter!

The signs on city streets that tell you how many car parks are available are ok, but you have to drive to where the signs are to find out which car park to head to and it could be quite a way from your destination. The new TomTom feature now hooks up to curbside car parks that have sensors monitoring them which connect to the network. It even tells you how long the car parks are available for and how much they cost.

It’s been really good for local residents in Ponsonby who had a real problem in the past with commuters parking outside their homes, many of which don’t have off road parking, they get exclusive resident access to those parks after 6PM and they don’t show on the TomTom again until 7 the following morning. It’s also really good when I go to visit business partners like Tech Day in Ponsonby, notorious for having to circle like a seagull a couple of times before finding a park.

The other day I went to my Second Friday Networking Lunch meetup in Ponsonby. I often get there a little late and scramble for a car park and hoping they haven’t started without me.  This time I  just set my destination on the  TomTom and it found me a car park on a side street about half a kilometer from the restaurant I was heading to.

That was OK, it wasn’t raining for once, but then just before I got there, it chimed and said, “There is now a car park closer to your destination, would you like to re-route?”  Nek minnit (OK I know that’s a bit old school now) I’m getting out of my car right at the front door of Safron.

They say there are two kinds of people in the world, those that find car parks and other people. With my new TomTom feature I am definitely one of the former.