Dedicated Autonomous Lanes and High Speed Rail

The Autonomous Lane is an AV Imagination project. Learn more about it here.

When contemplating large infrastructure projects in California, an obvious question arises:

How efficient would such a dedicated lane be in comparison to the high speed rail recently underway?

Our back-of-napkin sketch looks something like the following:

High Speed Rail Comparison

Feature Autonomous Lane High Speed Rail
LA to San Francisco in under 6 hours yes yes
Supports California construction jobs yes yes
High capacity vehicles supported yes yes
Ability to travel non-stop yes no
Option to visit preferred stops along the route yes no
Business opportunities along the route yes no
Expandable to at-home pick up yes no
Uses existing transit corridors yes no

To be sure, while public skepticism of the High Speed Rail have grown, we don’t necessarily support swapping the projects; you could conceivably keep both. But we feel that an autonomous lane would have a better cost / benefit ratio, and would be the better proximate project. In fact, autonomous cars may decimate the market for the high speed rail in the next 20 or even 10 years.

At the same time, a dedicated autonomous lane would support the construction and infrastructure jobs, and allow for travelers to make stops along the way – if they wished – which would support local businesses throughout California.

We welcome your thoughts! Has California invested too much in High Speed Rail to change course now? Can the two be complimentary? Or might one curtail the usefulness of the other? With your support, we’ll be researching several AV Imagination projects, but we’d love to hear your thoughts below!

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