Driverless cars could worsen Perth’s urban sprawl because people will be happier to take longer trips if they do not have to be behind the wheel.
They also risk making Perth’s neighbourhoods less walkable if people were discouraged from walking, cycling or catching public transport instead.
The warnings came from experts speaking at the Planing Institute of Australia’s national congress in Perth this week.
Author of Autropolis: The Diverse Mobility Revolution and strategic adviser Brian Haratsis said widespread use of driverless cars was inevitable in part because the Government could never afford the public transport required to connect communities to city centres.
“Congestion will drive change,” he said. “(As planners) if we’re looking to connect our communities we’re going to need different ways to do it.”
Mr Haratsis said he expected driverless cars in Perth would be affordable and desirable by 2023 and widespread by 2030.
But he said they should not become the only mode of transport. What was needed was “diverse mobility”, which would mean a blend of cars, public transport, walking and cycling.
For that reason planners, not engineers, should take a leading role in how cities were reshaped.
“We need to set the agenda,” he said. “We don’t need the marketplace to set the agenda.”
Steve Cooke, of Lease Equity, and Planning Solutions’ Reece Hendy spoke about the potential for driverless cars to increase Perth’s urban sprawl because people may be more amenable to a longer commute if they could multi-task during the drive.
Brian Haratsis is MacroPlan’s Founder and Executive Chairman. Brian is an economist and future strategist with over 30 years experience as an advisor to governments and major corporate clients throughout Australia and New Zealand. For more information or to discuss your property research requirements, please contact Amy Williams on 02 9221 5211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.