Steve Jurvetson

You heard it here first.

The Transportation Research Board Conference is going on in Washington this week, which means Washington's nerd-per-capita ratio is higher than usual.

How high? Panel discussions included "Pavement Marking Management: Best Practices and Safety Benefits" and "State of the Practice in Ground Tire Rubber–Modified Asphalt."

No wonder, then, our correspondent found herself yesterday at a panel on driverless cars, which was so crowded that people were sitting on the floor. There, she heard an interesting prediction for the future of cities from Thomas J. Bamonte, the general counsel for the North Texas Tollway Authority. Bamonte thinks cities will start competing to create infrastructure and policy that are friendly to driverless cars:

"Metropolitan areas will start using this technology to distinguish themselves. If you want to be a forward-looking metropolitan region, you want to support this kind of technology because it puts you in the forefront of public consciousness as a forward-looking metropolitan area, as opposed to being stuck in the 20th century."

For example, making them legal. Or, more technically, creating stoplights that can communicate with oncoming drivers. Will cities battle for driverless cars like they fight for corporate headquarters? Let's hope so -- sounds like a productive competition.

Top image: Steve Jurvetson via Wikimedia Commons

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    Why Are Little Kids in Japan So Independent?

    In Japan, small children take the subway and run errands alone, no parent in sight. The reason why has more to do with social trust than self-reliance.

  2. Downtown Roanoke is pictured.
    Life

    The Small Appalachian City That’s Thriving

    Roanoke, Virginia, has become what many cities of its size, geography, and history want to be. It started by bringing housing to a deserted downtown.

  3. Climate Change

    Built-Out Barcelona Makes Space for an Urban Forest

    The city is planning a major green makeover to combat the heat island and create a more welcoming place for humans and animals alike.

  4. Equity

    The Working Class That Wasn't

    The most common jobs for workers without college degrees have never been industrial.

  5. Transportation

    The Diverging Diamond Interchange Is Coming to a Road Near You

    Drivers may be baffled by these newfangled intersections, but they’re safer than traditional four-way stops.