How Self-Driving Cars Can Hurt Non-Proactive Governments

States and localities need to partner with automated carmakers to establish an alternative tax system, according to a new Brookings Institution report

By Dave Nyczepir

Route Fifty

Local governments should look for new revenue streams now because autonomous vehicles are coming and threaten to undermine that important source of funding, according to a report the Brookings Institution released in May.

In the next two decades, disruptive technology is poised to have a variety of impacts on local governments, according to the Brookings report. Although governments are expected to save money because of improved transportation systems and better road safety, revenue from traffic infractions and associated fees is expected to drop drastically since automated cars are designed to adhere to traffic laws.

Google’s self-driving vehicles have yet to be involved in crash where the automated vehicle has been at at fault. The tech giant’s fleet of 48 automated cars have been involved in 14 “minor” accidents since 2009, but they have been caused by other “human” drivers on the road.

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