JUL 26, 2017
New York City traffic has never been a relaxing experience. But over the past few years, a hobbled subway system and a massive influx of Ubers and Lyfts has made the situation even worse. The same has happened in other cities, including San Francisco and Seattle, causing politicians and citizens to point fingers at the transportation network companies. Yet these very same companies promise to deliver cities from their traffic woes in just a few short years with fleets of shared autonomous vehicles.
A new proposal from the architecture and engineering firm Edg envisions how New York City’s infrastructure might change to accommodate that vision. It also sheds light on the temptations that might sway planners away from human-centered urban design and back toward more modernist, auto-centric practices in the age of autonomous vehicles.
Loop NYC, as the proposal is known, would create one lane in each direction dedicated to self-driving cars on the highways that outline Manhattan: the West Side Highway and F.D.R. Drive.It would also turn severalmajor cross streets into expressways for autonomous vehicles, adding pedestrian overpasses to keep people off the streets. These self-driving superblocks would form “loops” around Manhattan, efficiently circulating autonomous vehicles throughout the city, eventually including private, shared, and public vehicles, according to John J. Meyer, a designer at Edg. These changes could result in dramatically decreased travel times, the proposal claims. According to their calculations, the trip from Grand Central Station to Battery Park and back would take just 11 minutes, compared to 40 minutes today.
Loop NYC’s proposed self-driving expressways and linear park through the center of Manhattan (Edg)