Construction workers, at least in Texas, will be the last folks to adopt autonomous vehicles when they are introduced in 2020 and beyond. They will be reluctant to give up their “big boys," their Ford F150s, their latest SUVs, or their panel trucks.
One of the toughest challenges of building in an urban environment today is to find parking space during the build for the construction workers within a reasonably secure area close to the jobsite. That logistical challenge is second only to finding “lay down” space for materials and equipment on the jobsite.
The policy makers at the federal and state levels are currently working on transportation policies and infrastructure that will support driverless cars and trucks. While they are trying to catch up, Uber, Waymo, Tesla, Chrysler, Chevy, and Ford are driving test vehicles on the streets and highways of 22 cities in the country.
There is a broad discussion of the driverless car issue in the building industry as developers and architects discuss ways that the autonomous autos and trucks will impact the design of buildings that are currently on the drawing boards.
Currently, we are hearing that garages are being designed to be able to be converted to office space when the driverless cars and “on call” services become the norm in the cities of the US. When that happens, the current three or four parking spaces per 1,000 sf of rentable space will disappear and the design of most buildings in urban areas will totally change to accommodate the new paradigm.
But, during the transition period, probably for the next 20 or so years, there will still be construction workers who will refuse to give up their “big boys” to some unknown and unseen computer in the cloud that doesn’t even require a steering wheel. “What, no steering wheel? That is a load of B.S.” I can hear it now. “How can I tow my fishing boat or my horse trailer?”
While the policy wonks and transportation experts are working, I hope that they give some thought to the construction workers and their “big boys”.
Are you ready to try out a driverless F150?