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Having a car make a long return trip to the Suburbs is not practical if the trip is long. Shared cars which get heavy usage (which this is on the cusp of, though it's not shared as much as a taxi) wear out by the mile, not by the year, and you think of their cost more as a per-mile cost. If you double the commute distance, you double the cost of the commute. The commute travel is a significant fraction of the travel a typical car will do. Generally, it will be cheaper to own two cars than to send your car back home if the commute is moderate to long. Or cheaper to make use of robotic taxi services at the home rather than send the car home. The robotic taxi services will be cheaper than sending your car back in almost all cases -- remember they don't have to pay drivers. You just pay for relatively inexpensive parking (the vehicle does not need to park precisely where you work, unlike a human driven car, and so can shop the spot market) and use the taxi service at home if available. Of course, if you do still want to spend the extra money to send your car home to do service there, you will be doing it in the anticommute direction, where road capacity is plentiful and congestion is minimally increased. So what's the issue?
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You are correct that claims of imminent increased capacity from reduced headways alone are overly optimistic. Automated no-signal intersections are very far away as they don't allow human drivers. But this misses the point about other technologies which come much sooner and have dramatic effects on congestion and transit. Congestion arises primarily from traffic demand surpassing road capacity, compounded by two human behaviours -- accidents and irrational and irregular driving patterns. Reduce accidents, along with slowing down to look at accidents, and you cut congestion. The big wins, however, can come from road metering capabilities that go far beyond what we can do today, even in places like Singapore. These don't require robocars -- smartphone equipped human driven cars can and must participate. With proper metering, so you never allow more cars on a road than it can handle, congestion can be seriously reduced, and induced demand is no longer the problem it was. Robocars can easily handle dynamic lane and street redirection (today we insist on barriers for this most of the time for humans so don't do it a lot.) I also predict robocars will move a lot of traffic to half-width vehicles for 1-2 people which can pack 2 to a lane when they encounter one another. However, to get to transit. Transit will have an impossible time competing with cheap, personal door-to-door transportation on your own schedule, except at times where congestion is so bad that only the private ROW of the transit line saves it. Even with the major subsidies it receives it may have trouble competing on price and can't compete on energy efficiency -- small private vehicles are much more energy efficient per passenger than transit vehicles with non-peak load factors. This presents a problem for transit lines as they will thus only run at rush hours. Current transit economics don't work well (in most places) with buying trains or even buses only to run a few hours a day. (The need for drivers only at rush hour would also be a problem but self-driving buses may solve that.) I have envisioned a different type of transit, which consists of small single-person vehicles which operate in local areas, and coalesce simultaneously at a transfer station where a van awaits. Everybody moves to the van which goes to the rough area they all wish to travel to, where the van stops beside a group of single person robotaxis which take the passengers the last mile. This vision is almost as fast as door-to-door, and is very efficient in use of energy and road space. Current modes will have trouble competing.
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Andy, I have always felt that if a call begins with them telling me "(In the interests of good customer service) this call *may* be recorded or monitored" Then they are giving me permission to record the call. The sentence can certainly be interpreted as both a declaration that they may record it (as in might) and a statement that I may record it (permission.) Go for it.