Ways to think about cars — and implications for congregations…

Benedict Evans asks us to consider the full implications of the coming revolution in automobiles: the self-driving car. If you think Uber is a disruptive force in transportation, just think about the implications of these sorts of vehicles on something as mundane as parking your car in the city:

 [I]f your car doesn’t need to wait for you where you got out, then city-centre car parks disappear and retail gets remade (such of it as survives the shift to ecommerce, of course). No more worrying about parking. If you don’t need to worry about parking yet can be driven there directly and affordably, how much travel shifts from public transport to cars? How many people visit a busy central area they might previously have avoided for that reason (the West End of London, for example)? But then, where does that car go afterwards  – does it drop you off for dinner and drive off to a cheap carpark, or does it spend the next few hours driving other people around for a fee? The more autonomous cars there are, the more appealing on-demand becomes. Quite where the second-order effects end up is hard to predict – for example, where does it leave public transport if routes start emptying out, and what does that mean for people on very low incomes? What does it do to cycling?

How many urban congregations struggle with having adequate parking for members? (Most every one of the congregations I’ve led has had that issue.) What would be different in the life of the congregation if people were able to easily come and go as they wanted?