Making LA: Traffic

-la-trafficLos Angeles has the worst traffic in the nation, but the solution may be more complicated than building more rail lines. In fact, we might have to wait for driverless cars.

Everyone has been stuck in brutal freeway traffic and Angelenos know the familiar feeling of not crossing the city for fear of never getting there. And it’s getting worse. Traffic dipped during the recession, but now it’s picking up. “It tends to follow rises and falls with the economic conditions” UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies. Brian Taylor told Madeleine on Press Play.

So with the improving economy, and a busier Los Angeles, what’s the solution for a city accustomed to the car? “In Los Angeles we have a wide range of living and commuting patterns,” said Michael Baum co-chair of the e4 Mobility Alliance at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. His organization is “looking at ways to bring driverless vehicle projects to Los Angeles in a way that matches the needs of our communities.”

Will driverless cars change traffic? If you start to consume auto access in a more marginal way — thinking of using a car per trip, you might be more judicious in how you use it, said Baum. And cars won’t need to be stored. “A huge amount of expense is all of the space we provide for parking,” he said.

This could even make the freeways easier to use, since autonomous vehicles could be able to judge when adding just one more car to the freeway system might upset the flow. The promise of autonomous vehicles might actually lead to a more efficient flow of traffic.

Listen to Press Play for more on how to reduce traffic, and improve life for Angelenos all over the city.