Lawrence Burns and the Future of Parking and Mobility

Talk about the future of mobility–specifically, shared, electric, autonomous vehicles–and it won’t be long before somebody brings Lawrence Burns into the conversation. That’s for good reason; before he wrote the bestseller “Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car–and How it will Reshape Our World,” he was the expert Waymo (formerly Google’s self-driving car project) and General Motors turned to for guidance. He’s also, among other things, behind much of the AV infrastructure of Babcock Ranch, the world’s first community built for autonomous transportation, and he’s one of the world’s foremost experts on the future of transportation.

So what does Burns think that AV future looks like? He recently talked with The Parking Professional about it:

  • “If Google hadn’t stepped up and said they were going to go for it, I don’t think the auto industry would have done this on its own. They’re just not inclined to disrupt themselves to the extent of taking the driver out of the car.”
  • “What will convince you is when you get your first chance to take a ride in a truly autonomous car. You ride in those cars and you’re blown away by what they can do. Are there things they can’t do still? Yeah. But the things they can do are phenomenal.”
  • “What we see now is a once-in-a-century chance to design a transportation service that gets rid of all those negatives and at lower cost than owning and operating a car, and it’s much safer. People loved horses when Henry Ford came along, and people still love horses. No one is going to say you can’t drive your car.”
  • “The traditional model of parking having to be adjacent to the destination is going to be disrupted considerably.”
  • “Parking is a really important part of this future story. A really important part. People who have a stake in the industry need to anticipate what’s coming. I think there will be some big winners, but I think there will be some big losers too.”

Read the whole interview, including Burns’ thoughts on how cities and organizations should be setting themselves up for AVs, how parking professionals should be rethinking things, and exactly when he thinks everything will change, in the January issue of The Parking Professional.  And then get ready for more–Burns will join parking and mobility professionals from around the world in Anaheim, Calif., next June as the 2019 IPMI Conference & Expo keynote speaker. We can’t wait!

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