It’s a bit of a conundrum, since not exactly the urban areas are self-driving, rather than the vehicles populating them – and since the cities have been actually created even before autonomous cars existed as a notion.
Nevertheless, a new study has embarked on the adventure of ranking the top 50 cities in the United States (the unofficial world epicenter of autonomous driving) that are best suited for self-driving cars. The numerous factors took into account if the introduction of driverless cars will actually make a difference. The leading idea researched by the Inrix team was to find out if a fleet of shared vehicles that don’t need a human driver would be suited to replace the biggest portion of travel. The company is specialized in traffic analytics, so there’s no question about their scientifically-based opinions on traffic.
Interestingly enough, the urban areas that usually see lots of autonomous car tests actually fared worse than others – and some popular choices from automakers don’t even reach the top 50. For example, Pittsburgh, Uber’s first driverless test city is not in the top 50 and Austin – Google’s second test area is only ranked 12th. Los Angeles and Seattle – both used as test hubs – are ranked 15 and 18, respectively. The list does include Sacramento, San Jose, San Diego, San Francisco, and Long Beach, so the Silicon Valley is the right geographical area. The top three cities are actually New Orleans, Albuquerque and Tucson – followed by Portland and Omaha to complete a top five list.