In a recent manifesto, John Zimmer, co-founder of the car sharing service Lyft, wrote that the car industry will be decimated by 2025. Self-driving cars will already dominate the roads in five years. Based on recent news about Lyft’s search for a buyer, one has to wonder if it will be in business to participate in the revolution.
Most of us have grown up in cities built around the automobile, but imagine for a minute, what our world could look like if we found a way to take most of these cars off the road. It would be a world with less traffic and less pollution. A world where we need less parking — where streets can be narrowed and sidewalks widened. It’s a world where we can construct new housing and small businesses on parking lots across the country — or turn them into green spaces and parks. That’s a world built around people, not cars.
Having most cars off the road assumes people will willingly give up personal transportation.
His theories about the future:
1. Autonomous vehicle fleets will quickly become widespread and will account for the majority of Lyft rides within 5 years.
2. By 2025, private car ownership will all-but end in major U.S. cities.
3. As a result, cities’ physical environment will change more than we’ve ever experienced in our lifetimes.
A full shift to “Transportation as a Service” is finally possible, because for the first time in human history, we have the tools to create a perfectly efficient transportation network. We saw this potential in 2012 when Lyft became the first company to establish peer-to-peer, on-demand ridesharing, which is now what the world knows simply as ridesharing. What began as a way to unlock unused cars, create economic opportunities and reduce the cost of transportation, has today become the way millions of Americans get around.
Ride sharing is in its infancy, and autonomous cars still need to show they are more than toys, and dangerous ones at that. Rebuilding the infrastructure of metropolitan areas is well beyond the budget scope of almost every big city in the world.