SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Instead of extending light rail to the airport, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said the city is considering a less costly option: installing a lane of traffic for autonomous vehicles only.
A fleet of robo-cars would then transport passengers from Mineta San Jose International Airport to the Diridon Train Station quickly and cost effectively.
“We’re going do it safely, and whatever we do, you can be certain that driving autonomously in one of these vehicles will be safer than having one of my relatives behind the wheel,” said Liccardo.
Right now, there is no quick public transportation option to get from Diridon Station, the busiest transit hub in San Jose, to the airport.
To build a rail line to the airport now would cost about $800 million dollars.
“That’s a very big price. And we think autonomous vehicles might provide a much, much cheaper solution for taxpayers,” explained Liccardo.
Bloomberg automotive reporter Keith Naughton said self-driving cars do sometimes have trouble when mixing with human drivers.
“Driverless cars follow the law, which the rest of us human drivers don’t always do,” Naughton said. “So they drive very cautiously, people don’t expect that and they’re driving into the back of them.”
Dedicated lanes is just one proposed idea of many that may or may not ever happen.
But self-driving cars are just a few years away, and the mayor says the idea can only flourish with the help of local government.
“We’re going to understand more in our conversation with the industry and regulators to see how we can best help this technology launch safely in our city,” said Liccardo.
According to The Mercury News, in two months the city will ask self-driving car companies to submit proposals for autonomous only lanes in San Jose that would solve specific transportation challenges.