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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

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The Google car and the future of driving


The dream of the robot-driven car had been around as long as personal jet-pack travel.  Google, of course, has a whole secret division devoted to crazy ideas and their self-driving car looks like it's quickly going from sci-fi to reality TV.

Watch out for this guy driving

you around soon.


Granted, this story isn't new.  Last week, just about every major media outlet covered Nevada's decision to grant Google permission for their autonomous car to drive itself around the state.  But what are the implication for our transportation infrastructure and our health?

What happens to those parking lots at places like the airport? That's a lot of pavement that could be obsolete in just 10 years (if you're inclined to believe PC Magazine writer John Dvorak's opinion).

And what about our personal health? The motoring public doesn't walk all that much right now, but what happens when we stop walking from the parking lot to the store? What are the cumulative impacts of even less physical activity in our daily lives?

The flip side is a potentially dramatic reduction in automobile crashes and increased transportation system efficiency.  Plus, we'll be allowed to text while we drive again.  Hooray!

Weigh in.  Is this for real?  Or will we still live in a future of honking horns and gridlocked traffic?  Will the Google car provide net benefits for society or cause more problems than it solves?


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