We have previously wondered if city planners are doing any thinking about self-driving cars; Arrowstreet Architects certainly is thinking about them. The Boston firm appears to specialize in parking garages and many people think that self-driving cars might make their garages superfluous, since self-driving cars will likely be shared and will just move on to the next passenger.
Amy Korte of Arrowstreet tells Boston.com that the self-driving car might well make the parking garage disappear.
Ten to fifteen years from now the need for a garage as a building type will be eliminated. In many instances, people would much rather be dropped off at their destination than having to park their car; It’s easier for them when their ride can either park itself in a garage or heads off to pick other passengers.
When the self-driving cars are parked, either for charging or because as we have learned in comments, many Americans think sharing is disgusting, They actually take up a lot less space because they don't need aisles (they can just shuffle around) or space to open the car door for the driver to get out. So even if they are parked, the garages will be smaller.
On their website, Arrowstreet notes:
As the automated technology becomes more of a reality for travelers, it’s critical to design parking facilities that can transform over time. In early years, parking layouts can be altered to allow for denser parking— an available option with computer-aided parking and autonomous vehicles— to future phases that adapt the building to new uses, such as office or retail.
And don't forget the all-important drone package delivery depot. Korte tells Boston.com: "My hope is that we (architects, planners, cities and developers) will continue to test and use these technologies to adjust the traditional metrics our buildings are typically designed to meet" That's planning ahead.