Will autonomous vehicles be used to end private ownership of cars?

That’s by no means a remote possibility.  A campaign calling itself “Shared Mobility Principles” is promoting a set of policy proposals that, if implemented, will inevitably lead to private vehicles being effectively banned.  Italics are my emphasis.

2. We prioritize people over vehicles.

The mobility of people and not vehicles shall be in the center of transportation planning and decision-making. Cities shall prioritize walking, cycling, public transport and other efficient shared mobility, as well as their interconnectivity. Cities shall discourage the use of cars, single-passenger taxis, and other oversized vehicles transporting one person.

3. We support the shared and efficient use of vehicles, lanes, curbs, and land.

Transportation and land use planning and policies should minimize the street and parking space used per person and maximize the use of each vehicle. We discourage overbuilding and oversized vehicles and infrastructure, as well as the oversupply of parking.

. . .

7. We support fair user fees across all modes.

Every vehicle and mode should pay their fair share for road use, congestion, pollution, and use of curb space. The fair share shall take the operating, maintenance and social costs into account.
. . .

10. We support that autonomous vehicles (AVs) in dense urban areas should be operated only in shared fleets.

Due to the transformational potential of autonomous vehicle technology, it is critical that all AVs are part of shared fleets, well-regulated, and zero emission. Shared fleets can provide more affordable access to all, maximize public safety and emissions benefits, ensure that maintenance and software upgrades are managed by professionals, and actualize the promise of reductions in vehicles, parking, and congestion, in line with broader policy trends to reduce the use of personal cars in dense urban areas.

There’s more at the link.

Let’s take a closer look at those principles, shall we?

  • #2:  Cities shall “discourage” some types of vehicles – including those most likely to be owned and used by individuals.  How will they “discourage” them – by taxing their ownership so that it becomes too expensive?  Making it illegal to park private vehicles on public streets?  Blocking access from the street to private driveways and garages?
  • #3:  “Minimize the street and parking space used per person” – that fits in with what I just said in the previous point.  “Discourage overbuilding and oversized vehicles and infrastructure, as well as the oversupply of parking” – same same.  If the city makes it impossible for you to park or otherwise store your vehicle, you’re effectively prevented from owning or using it.  The bureaucrats and statists will go gaga over this.
  • #7:  Taking the “social costs” into account?  That means whatever the fertile imagination of those opposed to private vehicles can invent.  I’m sure they can come up with “social costs” that have damn-all to do with society, but everything to do with them controlling your private transportation.
  • #10:  “Broader policy trends to reduce the use of personal cars in dense urban areas” – that says it all.  Autonomous vehicles will be a means to this end.  If you have access to shared vehicles, why should you want your own?  You’re being mean, greedy and anti-social to take up so many city resources – space, traffic costs, etc. – just for yourself!

This is Big Brother‘s wet dream.  George Orwell would be horrified at his prescience.

What’s even worse is the list of signatories supporting these proposals.  I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that both Uber and Lyft are among them, as well as many similar companies.  Of course they are!  They, and companies like them, stand to benefit from them!  In fact, I get the impression that such companies might well have written these proposals for their own benefit, they’re so inimical to the interests of private vehicle owners.

Karl Denninger points out pungently:

In other words here’s a nice so-called “NGO” that is “partnering” with those nice folks like Rahm and his cadre of guns that all involved, including Uber, Lyft and others, intend to shove up your nose and force you to use their services in order to get around.  The personal ownership and use of such vehicles for those living in cities shall be prohibited under the law.

This is what you support if you allow Uber and Lyft to continue to operate either as a driver or a customer as this is what both they, and many other organizations, have directly signed onto and are advancing as public policy.

Your current car is likely to be the last one you’re legally able to own and operate.  The ability go to when you want, where you want, and how you want is about to disappear all because you enabled and cheered on these firms.

Again, more at the link.

I don’t think Mr. Denninger is exaggerating.  I think that’s exactly what the statists want, and what organizations such as Uber and Lyft see as being in their best interests.  Unfortunately, these proposals are not in our best interests – at least, in most of the country.  They might work in a megalopolis like New York City, where four out of five commuters already use public transport, but not in most other places.  Consider:

  • What happens if you need to get somewhere in a hurry – say, to reach the hospital where your spouse or child has just been taken – but there are no public vehicles available?
  • What happens in an evacuation situation, such as an approaching storm?  You’ll be utterly dependent on public transportation to “get out of Dodge” – and if the authorities decide that you don’t have any priority for transportation over other, “less fortunate” or “less privileged” residents, you’ll be S.O.L.
  • What if you just want the convenience of being able to go where you want, when you want, without being dependent on anyone else to get there and back?  Sorry.  You lose.

I, for one, will not live under such restrictions;  and anyone trying to impose them on me will be treated with the contempt – and all the resistance – they deserve.  I suspect there are many who feel likewise.  It’ll be up to us to watch out for any attempt to implement these or similar principles in our cities and states, and oppose them for all we’re worth.



  1. If you do a root cause analysis you will find that this idea is really an effort by a few people to leverage the government to make them more money. This was started by people with a vested interest in the ride sharing industry. Through this organization, they can lobby government to pass regulations that benefit the ride sharing industry. It;s just another way for the government to subsidize their industry. This is just like the government subsidizing the wind and solar energy industry. I like the ride sharing idea but it has to stand on the economics.

  2. Cities tend to be leftist enclaves even in deep red states. This sort of thing is par for the course for cities but never flies in the burbs and the rural areas.

    The biggest city near where I live, switched parking meter vendors and tripled their downtown rates. The Mayor, when asked by a reporter if he thought this would cause people to avoid the downtown area – with a straight face – said: "No, this will bring *more* people downtown because now there will be more available parking spaces." Needless to say, it didn't quite work out that way.

    (Yeah, he really said that. I saw it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears. It's kind of like saying: "Nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded.")

    I don't know if you noticed, but the biggest non-government boosters of the so-called "Affordable Care Act" were NGO's who had a moneyed interest in it – the medical insurance companies.

  3. "What happens in an evacuation situation, such as an approaching storm? . . . if the authorities decide that you don't have any priority for transportation over other, "less fortunate" or "less privileged" residents, you'll be S.O.L."

    All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others!

    There's an approaching storm, all right…

  4. In the not too distant future, it will be impossible to insure a private personally driven vehicle. Coverage cost will price everyone out of the market. In the urban hubs this will be easily embraced. They already have the infrastructure to move people. Out in the 'burbs, it will not be a good fit. But only the hubs matter. Screw fly-over country.

  5. When I was a county planner, 25+ years ago, the American Planning Assoc. proposed that all people should live within walking distance of work. They were silent on how employers would be forced to locate near residences, or vice-versa. Either way, it was a tacit acceptance of Big Government forcing compliance.

  6. Uber and Lyft are a bigger threat to public transport than to personal movement. Peruse the Antiplanner for some insights on this.

    Denver is making itself as anti-car as it can telling us that the best way to get around there is public transport. The city makes more money from an office or apartment building than from a parking garage, so we get more of the former, and less of the latter. It also drives businesses out to the 'burbs. It also means that the best way to get around is by motor scooter which can be parked with the bicycles. Downtown is looking more and more like Delhi only with regular snowstorms.

    Living near where you work makes sense to a government employee who has "tenure", but less so to anyone else who changes jobs every 5 years or so, i.e. everyone else.

  7. Dense urban areas? These proposals will simply drive people to move out of dense urban areas into the edge cities. This kind of "shared mobility" is the early 21st century version of school busing of the 1970's.

    Liberals really don't learn anything.

  8. The city I live in, Gainesville, FL (the socialist plantation capital of the People's Democratic Republic of Alachua County (hwack-ptui) has already done several drastic measures to 'eliminate' private vehicles.

    They have openly crowed about how the traffic lights are not synched for ease of traffic flow.

    They are working on closing major roads down from 4 lanes to 2 (already achieved on Main Street, one of the used-to-be heaviest travelled roads.)

    They are under-requiring parking spaces for new construction.

    They are encouraging new construction that is mixed-use (apartments and shops) to only require half the number of spaces normally required as the plan is the apartment dwellers will leave during the day and the spots can be used for the shops. Nice, but they are also encouraging people to work from their apartments. Then they are fining people from working from their apartments without business licenses if it is a stand-alone business. (I know, makes sense, doesn't it.)

    They have pushed their bus system to the edge of disaster. Students (college mostly) and the minority poor ride reduced or free. (This is the very meat and potatoes of any city bus line. "Rich" people have cars…)

    But, then again, this is the very city that named its multi-multi-million dollar downtown bus station for Corinne Brown, and has refused to rename it after her spectacular fall from 'heaven' (that being actually being found guilty of Clinton-level corruption without being a Clinton.)

    And, yes, they are beating the banner for all-electric and driverless vehicles.


  9. IF it is a truly good idea the free market will embrace it. I would ask why some people have to always force others to do what is "good" but I already know the answer.

    I was just in Asia and the smog is very bad in Hong Kong and Taiwan. When I ask why, it is the mopeds and little motorcycles who don't have the cleaner burning engines. There are more reasons really, but interesting to see what people think of as the source.

  10. The technology is almost here, the amount of control & profit available to the Masters has no limits, the corporate owned media has extensive practice in getting the public to accept the yoke.
    It's probably just a matter of time….

    All a robot has to do is make fewer mistakes to be "better".

  11. Hey Peter;

    This is the crux of the matter, of people to move of their free will not beholding to some one else. If you have freedom to move, you are free, if you depend on someone else, you are on THEIR timetable and it may not be convenient for you. The difference between leftist and free people.

  12. Self-driving cars do not worry me excessively. Their popularity may be troublesome for a while, but sooner or later 5000+ copies of one model or another will go buggy during the morning commute and all turn sharply left for no apparent reason (or something similar) and that will sh*tcan THAT idea for a century or so.

  13. A few random, related thoughts:

    A recent study showed that Lyft and Uber are actually making traffic congestion worse in cities. They're largely not being used as alternatives to private cars, but rather as alternatives to having to wait for public transit.

    Californians are attacking self-driving cars. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/06/california-self-driving-cars-attacked

    The electronic systems in many modern cars, even some that aren't self-driving, are vulnerable to remote hacking that can shut down vehicles, activate brakes, etc.

    Mr.Garabaldi's remakr about convenience, timetables, etc. are not new. Americans were making similar complaints frequently 100-140 years ago, back when public transit was largely privately owned and operated, and the left of the time were particularly vocal about it. "Fares are too high. Service is too infrequent. The route doesn't go far enough and should be extended. The company's making too much money off the people." What happened? Governments mandated lower fares, levied extremely high property tax rates on railroad property (until the deregulation of the early 80's), and mandated operation of money-losing services. At the same time they were forcing a lower ROI on the railroads (and hence less reinvestment) they were also paying paving roads, and building other infrastructure few railroads could afford given the reduced ROI. And all of that's before we even get to WWII.

  14. I'm sure that vehicle shares will work out exactly as well as bike-shares have.

    Will Uber and Lyft's drivers be allowed to own the vehicles they use, or will they have to rent them form the companies?

  15. *Used to end* – probably not. At least not in the US.

    Will lead to a massive reduction in the number of individually owned vehicles – in the cities sure. Elsewhere, not so much.

    Its a 20 minute drive to the grocery store for me – I would certainly like to have an autonomous vehicle to automate that, but not having to wait a further 20 minutes for a pool-car to arrive is very valuable to me. Far more valuable at least than the cost-to-own of a private vehicle.

  16. Autonomous vehicles will facilitate the one and ONLY hing that matters to politicians. CONTROL. Once all cars are autonomous it will be child's play to insure they are programmed to ONY allow travel where, when and by whom those in power choose. You can have ALL THE GUNS YOU LIKE but if you aren't allowed to travel you pose NO THREAT to those in power. This isn't rocket science…. it's evil….but it isn't complicated.

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