In the photo above, I'm standing with Parker County Judge Mark Riley. We enjoyed some good conversation while waiting and then he decided to do a Facebook Live segment. As you know, lack of public transportation is a major issue for Arlington's older residents who no longer drive. Without transportation to the doctor, grocery store, or to socialize, some Arlington seniors who don't drive, find themselves involuntarily "housebound." Yesterday, the City of Arlington gave interested citizens the opportunity to have a ride in an AV (autonomous vehicle, self-driving car). I took advantage of the opportunity and also participated in a "forum" at the Arlington Convention Center to give input about how and why this new technology would benefit Arlington.
This technology is the future, ready or not. There are still some technical barriers to overcome but in the not-too-distant future, we will be able to call for a driver-less car to pick us up and take us where we want to go. This will be a huge benefit to housebound elders because since no human drivers have to be paid/tipped, the cost should be lower than taxis or even ride-hailing companies such as Uber or Lyft. My 37-year-old son is concerned that at some point, it will be deemed "illegal" for a private citizen to own a car, but I don't see that happening. The public (including me) wouldn't stand for that. With new information/facts, I suppose it's possible that I could be convinced...doubtful I will be alive when any such choice would have to be made.
I do love progress and can see how AVs will cut down on traffic congestion, land paved over for parking garages, parking lots/meters, etc. Major disruption of driving habits and driver employment is coming within the next 5-10 years (including delivery services, AV 18-wheeler trucks, etc.). Exciting stuff!
Elva Roy is the Founder of the all-volunteer group "Ambassadors For Aging Well" which meets in Arlington, Texas.