Developer plans to build town around electric shuttles and self-driving cars to ensure “no one will need to drive”
02/27/2018 // David Williams // Views

A number of cities across the U.S. have already begun the arduous task of converting their current systems to accommodate clean energy initiatives. However, a new town is hoping to become the first in the world in terms of going green after starting from scratch. Soon, they also intend to become a place where absolutely no one needs to drive.

Drive in this regard doesn't simply mean driving yourself around in your own car. The town has plans for fully autonomous self-driving car systems that would take you from point A to point B, and allow you to walk the rest of the way. This is all part of a plan devised by a developer named Syd Kitson, who famously bought a ranch in Florida more than 10 years ago with the sole intention of establishing Babcock Ranch, a green community that's based on potentially game-changing living and transportation innovations.

According to Kitson, his plan will ultimately result in a model town that others will be able to look up to and use for inspiration. "Our goal has been to create the most sustainable new town in America," he said. Most of the Babcock Ranch estate was sold to the state for use as a wildlife preserve, but the rest will be used for the town itself, where there will be restaurants, stores, a school, and up to 20,000 separate homes.

Other features of Babcock Ranch include rain gardens, a fully-working irrigation system that only uses recycled water, up to 50 miles of trails, and a solar farm that's designed to meet all of the town's daytime energy needs. Kitson said that Babcock Ranch will also be a place where people wouldn't need to drive very soon, as they are setting up a network of self-driving electric shuttles for a start.


Kitson's long-term plan for transpiration in the town is all about the use of a self-driving car network that he says will be able to pick people up on demand. As a consequence of that, space that is currently dedicated to parking lots will be freed up for other purposes. "We'll be able to turn parking areas into parks and really change the way people go from point to point," he said. And again, the entirety of the town will be built for maximum walkability, which means that all of the 50,000 people meant to live in it will be able to get some regular exercise as part of getting around town.

In an interview with Fast Company, Kitson revealed that what they're doing will probably end up changing how people view cars in general. "Right now, people generally have two cars," he explained. "What we're hoping people realize when they move to Babcock Ranch is very quickly they're only going to need one car, and then our ultimate goal is for them to realize they don't need any cars."

From the perspective of most home buyers, that gives them the freedom to explore other options in terms of how to use their two-car garages, Kitson says.

The biggest advantage of Babcock Ranch compared with other towns and cities in the U.S. is the fact that it has been designed to focus on green technologies from the start. Unlike other places, it won't be bogged down by certain bureaucratic issues or worry about legacy systems that only prolong the transition to sustainable living. That's why Kitson is confident that they will soon achieve their goals, from energy generation to transportation, and show the world exactly what's possible when you begin from scratch.

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