Driverless vehicle technology is advancing rapidly, and its not unimaginable to foresee that they could become a staple on our roads within the next ten to twenty years.
And when autonomous vehicles do become the norm, it will likely lead to the death of the traditional garage in modern residential homes.
Babcock Ranch, located north of Fort Myers, Fla., is a sustainable, tech-enabled master-planned community development that is already showing off driverless cars in pilot programs. Students living in the community can catch a ride to their elementary school on an autonomous shuttle.
These kinds of self-driving vehicles will “transform the way we think about the design of communities of the future,” said Syd Kitson, a developer with Babcock Ranch.
“When you think about how we’re one day going to be able to eliminate parking garages, parking areas, and garages in homes, you need to think through how all of that works together,” he added.
These days, most homes boast garages that can accommodate one or two cars. In 2017, some 65 percent of new homes featured a two-car garage, while 20 percent had enough space to fit three cars inside. Just six percent of new homes had a one car garage, according to data from the National Association of Home Builders.
But by 2030 these numbers should be reversed, as analysts predict there will be less need for garages as a fixture of residential homes. That’s because private ownership of cars will be replaced to a large extent by on-demand travel apps such as Uber and Lyft.
Some builders are already testing that idea—for example, national builder KB Homes has partnered with Hanley Wood’s BUILDER Magazine on the KB Home ProjeKt, which forecasts a post-garage future.
One benefit of not having a garage is more living space for homeowners, which may help to further cement the garage-less trand. For example, the removal of garages from each property and a parcel could then allow for a 31 percent increase in home sites.
Builders also say the removal of garages could add more open spaces to communities, and could even help bring down the costs of homes. A two-car garage can add $25,000 to $30,000 to the cost of a new home.