Coming from the assumption that autonomous vehicles are going to dominate the motoring landscape over the coming years, the think tank believes that local governments need to get ready for a rapidly changing world. "A 20th century approach to governance will not cut it anymore; the outlook for current governance models is exceedingly bleak. Adaptability and recovery from shocks will be increasingly critical," the group's analysis says.
Simply looking at employment, Brookings reiterates the belief that driverless vehicles are going to decimate those working the taxi and trucking industries. With the latter being among the nation's top employers, that alone would mean a major shift in tax revenue. The effects expand even wider, though. Since autonomous cars can be programmed not to break the law, the changes also mean fewer people receiving tickets for running red lights and other infractions.
Brookings imagines further into the future where driverless cars are constantly buzzing to transport people. In this sci-fi world, cities are also deprived of revenue from parking tickets. All of that money quickly adds up. According to the think tank, Los Angeles alone collects $161 million in these violations a year. Even in this future autonomous world, governments are still responsible for things like education and infrastructure upkeep. To accomplish that, there's going to have to be new taxes to offset the loss of old ones. The process isn't going to be easy, though.