Four years on, and it looks like the interior has been mostly stripped, but at least all the main structural elements remain in place, including the spiral stairs, the stone wall behind them and the mezzanine above.
I roughly measured it using mapping software and it looks like the main dome is about 425' across. I can't estimate the height with it, but at least you're in the right place to find experts who know a thing or two about building heights downtown.
Obviously there has to be a central system controlling all these SDCs, which would probably be administered by an organization like DART or the T.
I actually don't think that's the way it will go down...municipalities/governments won't be involved except to the extent that they regulate. The cars will talk to each other, and if anything the "central system" will be the software of the company or companies that are the winners.
That's exactly what I'm saying -- though Google or another private entity would actually run the SDC networks, governments at any level (from federal to municipal or anywhere in between) would potentially be able to use the new technology to regulate who can and can't go where and when, which is an absolute non-starter.
Will self-driving ride-share be more affordable than existing ride-share? Maybe a few dollars less if you currently tip.
Ride-share isn't affordable for everyday use unless you're wealthy.
Right now car owners pay for usage of that car 100% of the time, when in reality they might be using the car 5% of the time. Our automobile usage is probably the single most inefficient part of the U.S. economy, in terms of overall dollars. I'm not saying this is going to happen, but just imagine a scenario where every car on the road is self-driving, with an efficient system of taking each person where they need to go at that point in time. The efficiency gains would have to be 10x vs. the current system, at a minimum. That means the pricing would be roughly 10% of what it is now. It won't be just the rich that can afford it. In fact, I think it will be only the rich that will still be driving their own cars in 25 years.
Austin55, yes a 50 person vehicle moving from point A to point B will always be more efficient than a 4 person vehicle. Which is why I said "for all but the densest of cities" when saying that I don't think rail is the long-term answer. For New York, yes the subway is great. But I'm talking about a city like Fort Worth, where point A and point B are really more a matter of points A-Z.
Picture a train line and now think about how much wasted space there is at any given second because trains are only occupying a small portion of a given track. And that track only goes two directions. Now picture an ant mound and think about how the ants can efficiently move around each other seamlessly to get exactly where they want to go. This is the future of autonomous cars: no human error, perfect communication between vehicles, mass efficiency. People are willing to pay for convenience, and the reality is that walking (x) blocks to a train station is not as convenient as having a car pick you up exactly where you stand, and deposit you exactly at your destination. It eliminates bottlenecks like crowds as well. This all sounds like science fiction, but given how much advancement we've seen in the past decade, one would be unwise to discount how quickly these technologies will be employed. Companies like Google, Tesla, and Apple consider this the holy grail of transportation. They are going to make it happen.
I don't think anyone can argue that self-driving cars (SDCs) can lead to a far more efficient use of resources in getting people where they need to go, if they can indeed reach their full technological potential. But efficiency should never be the only consideration.
It's true that I pay for 100% of the usage of my car, though most of its time is spent either in my garage at home or in a parking garage at work (indeed, occasionally there are days where I don't use it at all). But it is my car, fully at my disposal to take where I want, when I want, fully on my terms (within traffic laws of course).
I've long argued that the caveat to SDCs is the lack of control. Obviously there has to be a central system controlling all these SDCs, which would probably be administered by an organization like DART or the T. And centralized control of transportation at the local or regional level has the potential to have a chilling effect on individual freedom of movement.
For example, imagine getting into an SDC in Fort Worth and having it go like this:
SDC: Good morning! Where can I take you today?
Me: 123 Main St. in McKinney.
SDC: I'm sorry, but today is a level orange ozone alert day, and regulations prohibit trips of 50 miles or greater without multiple passengers.
What business is it of the T or DART (or other governmental authority) whether or not I can go to McKinney by myself? Suppose I wanted to visit my aged parents who live there and can't get out much (or who may be in the hospital!), for example? Do I have to ride around waiting for the SDC to find and pick up someone else who happens to want to go there? Currently, with regular cars, I can choose to carpool to McKinney if I can find people to share the ride with me. But the operative word here is "choose." No central authority should have the right to make that kind of decision for me.
And as far as efficiency, think about the places we live. Whether we rent or own, we don't spend 100% of our time at home. Should a housing authority have the right to more efficiently allocate housing space by requiring people to share? For example, imagine having an 8-5 job, and only being allowed the use of an apartment from 7 pm to 7 am, so that someone working the graveyard shift can have it the other 12 hours of the day. And again, there are often cases where people will choose this arrangement themselves to save on rent, but there's that magic word again, "choose."
While efficient allocation of resources is important, I just believe that personal freedom and liberty are far more important.