Downtown Houston, the agency that oversees growth in the area, just unveiled its 20-year vision.
The road map includes driverless vehicles.
“I don’t think they’re right for me, personally,” said Hasmukh Patel of Houston. “But they’re right for the society.”
Gensler, the world’s largest architecture and design firm, has an office in Pennzoil Place. It’s also thinking about the impact of autonomous vehicles.
“I mean, I’ve talked to experts on both sides of the equation,” said Gensler architect Peter Merwin. “They say it’s coming and sooner than we think, and I’ve talked to other people that are very skeptical.”
Experts say the more driverless cars on the road, the less need for permanent parking spaces. So adapting parking garages is part of the plan.
Architects use the phrase “future proof.” That means the floors of a garage, for instance, could become occupied space for offices or other uses.
“So if we can claw back some of that square footage and create better streets and urban environments, then, you know, we’re building better cities," Merwin said.
Driverless cars may end up steering downtown Houston in a new direction. Curbside pick-up and drop-off zones are something else a driverless car plan would include.
Basically, the thought is many cars would be in constant rotation making rounds across the city.