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Photo: Los Angeles (Wikimedia)

It is estimated that the government revenue on parking meter citations is a $20B business. The parking revenue generated by tickets in the city of Los Angeles alone has grown steadily year over year according to NBC Los Angeles (LA Rakes in Parking Ticket Revenue, by Joel Grover). The city brings in tens of millions of dollars in cash each year with a steady increase via roughly 40,000 parking meters.

  • 2010-2011 fiscal year = $36 million
  • 2011-2012 fiscal year = $44.9 million
  • 2012-2013 fiscal year = $45.9 million

Smaller towns like Campo, Colorado have a direct dependence on traffic citation revenue for government operation. According to USA Today (93% of Town’s Revenue is From Traffic Tickets and Fees), the town siting just north of Oklahoma rakes in “more than 90% of the town’s revenue.” Clearly the autonomous, self-driving car industry stands to disrupt a massive market and government operating revenue from the small town to the large city.

Are the 1% seeking to disrupt this $20B market while freeing citizens from the burden of parking and traffic citations?

Brookings Institute Report 

In May, 2015, the Brookings Institute group at Arizona State University issued an “Issue in Technological Innovation” report entitled Local government 2035: Strategic trends and implications of new technologies (by Kevin C. Desouza, David Swindell, Kendra L. Smith, Alison Sutherland, Kena Fedorschak, and Carolina Coronel). From the Introduction to this report:

“In the future, autonomous vehicles will be the prevailing mode of transportation. As a result, there will be widespread unemployment within the taxi and trucking industries, legal issues regarding accidents and liability, regulatory issues relating to GPS and telemetric data generated by vehicles, and a fundamental shift in the concept of “public transit.”

Additionally, the explosion of the consumerto-consumer economy—e.g., Uber, TaskRabbit, and Airbnb—will continue to create legal and ethical challenges. In order to be a relevant and critical player in the future, local governments will need to rethink their design, strategy, operations, and processes in fundamental ways. We assert that changes on the not-too-distant horizon will require local governments to be agile, nimble, and dynamic. Governments must contend with an increase in the diversity of stakeholders, limited capacity to predict the future, and an erosion of governing authority.

A 20th century approach to governance will not cut it anymore; the outlook for current governance models is exceedingly bleak. Adaptability and recovery from

Photo: Nissan autonomous car prototype technology was fitted on a Nissan Leaf all-electric car (Wikimedia)

shocks will be increasingly critical. Lean, nimble, proactive government systems must be designed. The evolution of governments must itself vary. Different parts of the developed and developing world face different types of changes and possess different resources with which to address these changes. Indian and Chinese cities are trying to keep up with the continued growth in their populations, while specifically adjusting to the increased concentrations of those populations in more dense metropolitan regions. Providing basic infrastructure and human services while attempting to adapt to a range of fundamental technological shifts poses a particularly severe demand on the human and intellectual resources in those areas. The challenges in the less developed urban areas of Africa are even more daunting as they wrestle with extraordinary in-migration to cities. Internet and social media communication help fuel tensions as awareness of the extent of local, regional, and global inequalities increases. And this awareness brings government change, both through coordinated civil disobedience, as well as through terror tactics; all facilitated by these changes in technology.”

The report is a fascinating read on the the disruption of everything from:

  • Drones and air space brought on by the advent of the X-Prize
  • Automated vehicles
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Peer-2-Peer Platforms
  • Data Privatization and Dependency
  • Fragile and Conflict States
  • Income Inequality
  • Trends in Immigration and the Creative Class

Entrepreneurs are disrupting models of governance and revenue through innovation from autonomous cars to mobile apps for parking meters (Forbes: After Search Engines and Moon Landers, Barney Bell Takes on Parking With QuickPay by Tomio Geron). The Brookings Institute concludes: “As speculative novelist William Gibson famously noted, “The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.” The speculation is that wealth disparity is not necessarily caused by technology billionaires, but is something that can be alleviated through technological innovation and government disruption.

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Main Photo: Wikimedia (Creative Commons)