As cars, buses, coaches and even motorbikes become autonomous (self-driving), there will be no need for any road signs, traffic lights, variable speed-limit overhead signage, speed cameras (see my post on no speed limits), no road markings or even Pelican or Zebra crossings. Would we even need to have pavements raised up from the road? Gone too would be the traffic cone; all consigned to history. A single database like Google maps detailing the road features, used by all vehicles would be used by all vehicles, perhaps overlaid with data on local features that don’t appear (yet) in Google.
We would also need a set of “rules” governing how vehicles behave and programmed into every vehicles management system: For example between 8am-9am Monday to Friday a mandatory 10mph speed limit perhaps 100m either side of the school entrance, but only during term time of course.
There would be benefits in terms of lower road maintenance costs, quicker repairs (no line painting) and I can imagine much simpler and less expensive road design, without the need for roundabouts or other complicated junction structures to help human drivers navigate without crashing.
Perhaps the most interesting benefit, would be a less cluttered street design. Would we plant a tree in place of every 30mph speed limit signpost?