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Self-Driving Cars can lead to More Traffic Congestion: Research

This research investigated commuters' views on autonomous vehicle ownership and use, vehicle sharing, and their attachment to conventional vehicles

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The key factors affecting the transition to autonomous vehicles are commuter attitudes to Car ownership and wanting to drive themselves, rather than have technology do it for them, as well as the price of new technology, and consumer attitudes to car sharing. Pixabay

Researchers have predicted that self-driving cars could worsen traffic congestion in the coming decades, partly because of drivers’ attitudes to the emerging technology and a lack of willingness to share their rides.

For the study published in the journal Urban Policy and Research, the research team used Adelaide city in Australia as a test model and surveyed more than 500 commuters, including a mix of those who travel to work by car and public transport, and modelled the potential impacts.

“Autonomous or driverless vehicles are likely to have profound effects on cities. Being able to understand their impact will help to shape how our communities respond to the challenges and opportunities ahead,” said the study’s co-author Raul Barreto from the University of Adelaide.

This research investigated commuters’ views on autonomous vehicle ownership and use, vehicle sharing, and their attachment to conventional vehicles.

The research team has also explored potential vehicle flow, with a mix of autonomous and conventional vehicles.

According to the researchers, the key factors affecting the transition to autonomous vehicles are commuter attitudes to car ownership and wanting to drive themselves, rather than have technology do it for them, as well as the price of new technology, and consumer attitudes to car sharing.

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Self-driving Cars could worsen traffic congestion in the coming decades, partly because of drivers’ attitudes to the emerging technology and a lack of willingness to share their rides. Pixabay

“Our evidence suggests that as riders switch to autonomous vehicles, there will be an adverse impact on public transport. With most commuters not interested in ride sharing, this could increase peak period vehicle flows, which is likely to increase traffic congestion over the next 30 years or so,” Barreto said.

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“Under both scenarios we tested, the number of vehicles overall will eventually drop. However, total vehicle trips may increase, and some of the predicted benefits of autonomous vehicles may not eventuate until a lengthy transition period is complete.” (IANS)

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40% Parents Struggle to see Depression Signs in Kids: Study

Most parents also believe schools should play a role in identifying potential depression, with seven in 10 supporting depression screening starting in middle school, the study said

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In boys it is previous depressive symptoms which determine subsequent suicidal ideation. Pixabay

Telling the difference between a teen’s normal ups and downs or something bigger is among the top challenges parents face while identifying depression among the youth, says a new study.

Forty per cent of parents struggle to differentiate between normal mood swings and signs of depression, while 30 per cent are tricked as their child hides his/her feelings well, according to a new national poll in the US.

The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan, is based on responses from 819 parents with at least one child in middle school, junior high, or high school.

“In many families, the preteen and teen years bring dramatic changes both in youth behaviour and in the dynamic between parents and children,” said poll co-director Sarah Clark.

“These transitions can make it particularly challenging to get a read on children’s emotional state and whether there is possible depression,” Clark added.

According to the researchers, some parents might be overestimating their ability to recognise depression in the mood and behaviour of their own child.

An overconfident parent may fail to pick up on the subtle signals that something is amiss.

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Depression is among the leading causes of disability in the U.S. and is being closely monitored by health authorities amid rising suicides nationwide. Pixabay

The poll also suggests that the topic of depression is all too familiar for middle and high school students.

One in four parents say their child knows a peer or classmate with depression, and one in 10 say their child knows a peer or classmate who has died by suicide.

This level of familiarity with depression and suicide is consistent with recent statistics showing a dramatic increase in suicide among US youth over the past decade.

Rising rates of suicide highlight the importance of recognising depression in youth.

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Compared to the ratings of their own ability, parents polled were also less confident that their preteens or teens would recognise depression in themselves.

“Parents should stay vigilant on spotting any signs of potential depression in kids, which may vary from sadness and isolation to anger, irritability and acting out,” said Clark.

Most parents also believe schools should play a role in identifying potential depression, with seven in 10 supporting depression screening starting in middle school, the study said. (IANS)