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The Money Side Of Driverless Cars

Publication Date: 
July 09, 2013
The New York Times - Bits
Nick Bilton

CIS Lecturer in Law Bryant Walker Smith spoke with Nick Bilton of The New York Times - Bits on driverless cars and how they challenge traditional revenue sources for cities and states.

In Washington, an average of six parking tickets are issued every minute of a normal workday. That is about 5,300 tickets on each of those days. Those slips of paper have added up to $80 million in parking fines a year, according to a report by AAA Mid-Atlantic.

As I noted in my Disruptions column this week, ”How Driverless Cars Could Reshape Cities,” the parking ticket could vanish from the future city as cars park themselves and refill parking meters electronically. (If there even are meters in the future.)


“Automation is challenging all sorts of traditional revenue sources for cities and states,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School and a fellow of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford. “It’s challenging how states and federal agencies get their funds, and parking fees are clearly challenges that could be in the future.”

Mr. Walker Smith said that while traditional revenue sources from tickets, towing cars and gasoline taxes could dry up, cities and states will come up with new ways to make money on vehicles.