Why Minnesota Might Be Planning Too Much Road Expansion

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) released a new 20-year plan in December 2013 – the Minnesota State Highway Investment Plan (MnSHIP).  Spoiler alert:  MnSHIP says we need more money to build more road capacity.

MnSHIP says much more than that, but adding road capacity is a central theme, as has been the case for many years with such long-range plans.  At first blush,  the call for increased road capacity seems like the most unassailable part of the plan.  After all, Minnesota’s population is expected to increase over the next 20 years.

But the call for additional road capacity could ultimately turn out to be the most flawed part of the plan.   Here’s why:  One term you won’t see in MnSHIP is “driverless car.”

Are Driverless Cars Feasible?

When I was a lad, the science fiction cartoon The Jetsons offered  the dream of flying personal vehicles, which, alas, have not materialized.  That has made many of us skeptical about subsequent predictions about revolutionary transportation technology, such as Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) and driverless vehicles.