Impact of driverless cars on bay area RE

I have read few post here and there on this subject. Driverless cars will become a reality in another 10-20 years. That’s within the current horizon of any bay area RE investment today so I was wondering whats the impact driverless cars may have on the bay area RE?

Please provide your thoughts here and let this be a catch all thread on this topic.

How comfortable will the car be to sit and work on your commute? Will your manager accept the 2+ hours spent in the car as part of your work day or will they still expect 8+ hours in the office per day? There will still be depreciation and maintenance costs for the car driving so many miles. Also, the flexibility of a long commute is horrible. What happens when a kid gets sick at school, and a parent has to go pick them up? I’m sure it’ll have some impact, but I don’t see it being the game changer some think it will be. I think it’ll have far more impact for semi trucks and dramatically lowering the cost of shipping products around the country.


I am expecting that driverless car wont look like the cars we have today. And with telecommunications much advanced they will have high speed internet to work seamlessly.

Somehow vision of self-driving cars replacing personal transport feels like vision for telecommuting (yet to happen even with dirt cheap cost of internet access and quality of FaceTime). That is, overhyped and not likely to be realized.

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That still doesn’t address expectations at work or convenience needed for a sick kid at school. I could argue traffic will get even worse, because people will move further from work to save money on housing.


If people stop buying cars and use subscription model (pay as you go) garage and driveway will probably be gone. many municipalities now require to provide off-street parking if you add living SQFTage. With recent law for California Accessory Dwelling Units local municipalities are struggling to incorportate this law into building codes. Many no longer require additional parking for these ADUs.

Here is San Mateo example ordnance for ADUs:

With self driving cars building codes will be further relaxed for garages and driveways and we will see more high density.

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Living on the hills will be en vogue again. If we define self driving car as self driving vehicle, advances in battery technology allows all sorts of gadgets to move you up the hill.

Commute will not be same again - you can start your work once you are in self driving vehicle and connected to your remote office. However logical continuation for remote office is that you can work from home more and will not need to

Self-driving cars will primarily extend the charm of bay area by another 10 years. We have lived long off mobile. Rising tide will increase everyone’s house price.

Making long commute favorable will have minimal adverse effect on prime bay area houses because prime locations always remain desirable.


I will dead before they become common

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Bay Area RE will even worth more. Everything can be telecommute eventually
except - night entertainment clubs
- football, basketball, baseball, soccer
- concerts
- events
- Lastly great food, good michelin chef won’t open their restaurant in middle of nowhere, they would open in area where they can easily get fresh ingredient & where the $$$$$$ is. Bay area is where the $$$ is .

just my thought.

This is bearish on commercial RE then since nobody goes to the office anymore.

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You are not going to live another 10 years?:face_with_monocle:

The future of anything is and will be based on tele-communications. The traffic nowadays, a horrible one, is based on little UFOs flying to mother land from many parts of the galaxy.

Let’s talk about Zoom. At our office we have a business presentation/training every Thursdays night. Tuesdays are for us the managers (noon), Tuesdays nights for a business we have on the side, we use Zoom. Then, every other Wednesday we have our “new plans/policies/how to do this and do that” meeting via Zoom. We want to introduce a guy with new ideas/business on the side…Zoom!

So, forget about that driveless car for a minute. Think about not many people working in a project as IA is progressing. Retail is dying as we know it. We are living longer, many things that will impact the way we see transportation and communications need to be discussed before thinking about a car with no brains.

There will be no competition for a home that is close to Apple or Facebook empty/semi empty workplace. That’s what I think.

I read this article two days ago that changed my thinking:

But there is another possibility. It derives from an observation made in the 1970s by Yacov Zahavi, an Israeli traffic scientist. Zahavi noticed that Americans spent about the same amount of time travelling each day, regardless of which city they lived in or how they got to work – a little over an hour on average. Given speedier transport, they did not use the time saved to work longer hours in the office or relax at home. Instead they travelled farther. Americans still spend about an hour a day travelling on average; so do Britons.

Driverless cars could lead to nicer, denser city centres even as they make it easier to live miles away from them. Downtowns and distant villages could both become more appealing. But something must lose out, and perhaps that something is the old-fashioned suburb.

So people are either going to pack it into condos in dense San Francisco, or they will want to live in 3000 ft mansions in Napa or Tracy. San Francisco minus 2/3 of the cars will be a very nice and exciting city for young people. For a family of four mansions in today’s exurbs are more affordable. Why bother with compromises like suburbs that are no good for either?

Well, I agree with my post from yesterday on senior citizens still wanting to live in city centers. Why wouldn’t they? The night life, the restaurants, all there within walking distance or a short cab/uber ride away. Who really wants to care for a suburban home in their 70s or 80s? No way! You should be traveling the world and enjoying the last chapters of your life.

Don’t care about schools anymore? Schools would become very good in Napa or Tracy?
Outside SFBA, square footage of houses in suburbs are fairly large e.g. Austin suburb… square footage of my SFHs in Pflugerville are 2910 and 3350, the one in Avery Ranch is 3050.

Parents’ income is a strong predictor of school performance. For Tracy, if a critical mass of highly educated engineers moved in, their schools will improve quickly. That’s how gentrification works. People spending 1.5M on a 1500 ft house in Santa Clara also have bad schools to deal with. I guess that’s how they justify the purchase.

One more thing, square footage of both SFHs in the hot 78759 are over 10,000 which I plan to rebuild as McMansion once enough houses are rebuilt to that. Currently, only a couple. My builder-turned-realtor says he would help me when the time come… of course, provided he is still in realty.

This is certainly a future thinking administration.