I'm a huge fan of public transit and rail--I was recently in Atlanta and Phoenix and took the Marta and Valley Metro every chance I got, but all of the people I know who live in those cities never take the rail systems because of safety concerns, and most of the people I've talked to about it here in the Triangle have never ridden a bus since they last used a public school bus.
I was bummed when the Durham-Orange light rail was killed, but I wonder if Self Driving Cars wouldn't have made rail even less viable here in the US for the time being, especially combined with how much money we've already poured into our highway systems in the area (and in the US more generally)? Despite my willingness to do so, I can't imagine many of the people I know choosing to have planned their trips away from home/activities around the train schedule, walk to a station and then wait for the train and do the same on the way back, once they have the option to call a car to come pick them up and take them door to door entirely on-demand. I just don't think people would have been willing to give up that convenience unless there was a huge price savings for doing so. Maybe there could be, if we didn't subsidize highways the way we do, but as of right now I don't know.
What do you all think? Should we have forged ahead with the Light Rail plans? Would SDCs have been it's death knell anyway? Something entirely different?