Robotaxis: nowhere to dominant in 6 years?
What's the likelihood that Robotaxis (converged, driverless Uber/Zipcar) will go from zero to dominance rapidly when they become available? Transportation history has a precedent for rate of adoption: the electric trolley.
The first electric trolley line began operating in Richmond in 1888; within 12 months, the electric trolley was adopted by two dozen other major cities. By the early 1890s, the electric trolley was the dominant mode of intraurban transit. Zero to dominant in 6 years.
Adoption was accelerated by the recognition of its ability to lessen the urban transportation problems of the day. In the 1888, the horse cart was the leading transport mode in spite of its accompanying nuisances: horse manure and horse carcasses left lying in the street. In contrast, the electric trolley used the same embedded rails without leaving unwanted organic remains.
By 1905, the largest trolley system was the San Francisco Bay Area Key System, built by soap magnate Borax Smith. The Key System was a means to an end for Smith's speculative real estate scheme, to extend housing development beyond downtowns, into the East Bay hills and increase its value. Alas, by 1913 Borax lost his well-laundered shirt and was bankrupt.
So let's connect the dots. Robotaxis have the same rapid-change characteristics as the electric trolley: a better, chauffeur-driven experience using EXISTING infrastructure, eliminating the hassle of car ownership (each Zipcar replaces 10 private autos). Unencumbered by driving responsibilities in traffic, robotically-driven humans are free to use in-vehicle time on other pursuits (monetizable at roughly one-third of hourly wage). In 1900, the trolley worked best as a means to Borax's real-estate ends. The same will hold true in 2025 as robotaxis begin to free 5.3M acres of US parking worth $4.99T.
[Show work: First, calculate product of 0.786 cars per American, 314M US population, 90% private cars removed, 350 square feet per US parking space including access pavement and landscaping, 3 parking spaces per US car = 233T square feet of parking freed. Second, ignore parking structures, assuming 100% surface parking. Third, convert from feet to acres at 43,650 sf per acre = 5.3M acres. Fourth, value the free land at $934K per urbanized US acre = $4.99T.]