60 Seconds: Driven to distraction



60 Seconds: Driven to distraction


I’m sure you’ve heard about the development of the ‘driverless car’.

But have you considered the impact they might have on the property market?  No – well here goes.

I stumbled across an interview with Phil Levin, the founder of ‘99mph’, a consultancy specifically set up to help policy makers, investors and businesses prepare for autonomous vehicles (AVs). Never use one syllable when three will do.

Anyway, Levin explains that there are ‘first order’ and ‘second order’ effects of AVs (whoever coined those phrases is evidently a Star Wars fan).

The “first order” effects are the ways in which driverless cars will improve comfort during journeys, reduce traffic fatalities, put lorry drivers out of work etc. etc. All of the stuff we’ve seen in the news.

However, most interesting are the “second order” effects. The potential effects on house prices.

At present, property prices are highest in the places closest to where people want to be. For many of us this is in a city or town centre. Or in the catchment of good schools.

Levin argues that having a driverless car would suddenly make a 40-minute commute seem more appealing. Instead of focusing on the traffic with your hands on the wheel, you could watch TV, answer emails, take phone calls or even sleep.

So, he seems to be arguing that house prices may increase across a wider circumference from major town and city centres. One to watch for the land buyers.

And, can’t you do these things on a train? Anyway.

61252f5a-029c-4eea-9fd2-fbcb1738584eDespite being hotly contested, it has also been suggested that wide-spread adoption of AVs could make commutes shorter. Again he’s suggesting that more people will be looking away from city centres and out towards suburban or rural areas to buy a house.

Most controversially, Levin argues that AVs will undermine public transport. The convenience, cost and comfort, paired with increasingly dominant modes of transport like Uber, means public transport won’t be able to compete.

Although I can’t imagine how AVs could begin to overtake public transport in London. Already it’s tough to drive a car in most cities, not to mention trying to park one (or would it park itself?).

Nevertheless, driverless cars might encourage commuters to live further away from their closest train or tube stations. What havoc that would create for London’s outer boroughs.

Local authorities in these boroughs are focusing on higher density development in their town centres and areas surrounding its transport hubs, reluctantly extending suburban areas, but not yet by developing the you know what (metropolitan green-belt).

Levin evidently knows a lot about property and real estate. But he doesn’t seem so sure of London or its local authorities. Good luck to him.

Beep beep.

Have a great weekend.


This week at Curtin&Co

This week Curtin&Co was delighted to be part of the project team that secured planning consent for a filling station on behalf of Forelle Estates in Wembdon, Somerset. It was granted consent on 10 votes to 1. A great result – congratulations to everyone involved.

The week ahead

From Paris with Love
The commuter town between London and Paris being reborn as a garden city

Lego of the greenbelt
‘He protects the green belt’: Tory MP depicted in Lego-themed Instagram account

Brown is the new green
CPRE says brownfield registers could provide a million homes

Old wives sale
Don’t blame older people in big homes for the housing crisis

And Finally…

Garage banned
Fake garage door hid illegal house

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Curtin&Co has grown rapidly to a team of over 20 highly qualified political, community engagement and reputation management specialists, having been founded by Tom Curtin in 2009.  In 2016, Curtin&Co was delighted to be listed in PR Week’s Top 150 Public Relations consultancies at number 86 and in the Top 10 Public Affairs consultancies at number 8; a recognition of the quality of the service and growth achieved.

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