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20 March 2017

Monday Musing: The beauty and the beast

I went to see the new film Beauty and the Beast at the weekend, a great film that I highly recommend. As always when out and about the parking struck a chord and this time it seemed that everyone else was at the cinema too. It was not the first time I have experienced anxiety when it came to parking, but after recently reading this article it was all the more apparent that what I was experiencing was car park anxiety.

I was wistfully assuming the traffic would be problem free, even dream-like, with similarities to the traffic shown in this TED talk what a driverless future could look like. A much simpler and stress free experience than mine. My experience was similar to this video, if you imagine all of the parking bays filled with vehicles.

A new study conducted by the Department for Transport has found that driverless cars offer major potential benefits when the proportion of them on the road is higher than the proportion of older, more traditional vehicles.

When measuring peak traffic periods with a maximum of up to 100% of driverless vehicles, researchers saw journey times reduced by more than 11% and delays cut by more than 40%; on urban roads, benefits are seen in peak traffic periods even with low levels of automated vehicles on roads, including a 12% improvement in delays and a 21% improvement in journey time reliability.

However, on major roads where traditional vehicles outnumbered automated vehicles, the benefits were 'relatively small'.

We all know that a driverless society is not in our immediate future, nor do we yet know the full impacts on parking, this is something to keep an eye on.

I think car park anxiety can stem from us being strongly connected to our car, sometimes it can be an extension of our self. Causing us to not plan our journey assuming we will always take our car and feeling like we have a right to park. Not considering all other options.

The beauty is that the car is there right outside our house and sometimes provides the quickest and most comfortable journey to our destination, or at least we may feel like it is quick as once we are in the car we are already on our way. The beast perhaps is that everyone has this similar idea and with more cars on the roads, there is more traffic and the car parks are filling up fast.

For now I think I will plan my next trip to the cinema better. Either booking a space, using the apps available to find a space or taking public transport. No more car park anxiety for me.

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