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Commuting Through the City Streets

Jul 21, 2017
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We are all tired of getting stuck in traffic, and those reckless drivers that swerve in our lanes putting others and themselves at risk. And don’t even get me started on parking. 30% of traffic jams occur mostly due to people trying to navigate through the sea of vehicles for finding a spot for their cars. And if this wasn’t enough, our automobiles consume loads of fuel, putting the world oil reserves under a lot of pressure and release pollutants that deprive the very air that we inhale. For a world moving towards greener, healthier lifestyle, this seems to be a very inefficient system of transport, right?

Our cars, built to be fast and sleek, are still trudging along at the same speed as the horse-drawn carriages of the 19th century. But the wait for better cars may finally be over as big businesses begin to tackle the transportation problem. With Tesla Motors leading the path and other Silicon Valley Companies also jumping into the field, we might as well be looking at the new revolution in transportation since the invention of the automobile.

However, the key to better traffic on city streets lies in a better system of transport rather than the vehicles themselves. As Elon Musk pointed out in an interview, we need to draw inspiration from nature. The idea is to have traffic moving in  3-D space in tiers that start from the surface and extend underground as well as overhead, similar to how our cardiovascular system carries nutrients and oxygen through our veins.  This will allow for more space for our traffic, decreasing the strain on roads and journey times. One of the best examples that exploit this idea is the Transit bus that China has introduced. With the passenger compartment rising well above the heights of regular traffic, it allows for cars to pass under it while it carries around 300 people itself. This mode of 2-tier transportation attracted the eyes of various governments including Brazil, France, India, and Indonesia. Plans to have 3 to 4 tier lanes have been put forward by Tech pioneers, although these plans are still in infancy and will need a lot of support from governments and city development authorities.

Another possible solution to our transportation problem is to make all modes of transport driverless. This almost eliminates the unpredictability of human drivers, making the whole experience seamless and swift. It has been proposed that our “smart” drivers would not need any traffic lights and rules as every path would be predetermined through algorithms, meaning that you would not need to stop at intersections and wait for the light to go green. As with many propositions for commutation in the future, this would not only mean a complete turnaround from the preexisting system but would also need a lot of investment from the government. However, Tesla is already making self-driving cars that have met with tremendous success on the roads and Uber is testing out its self-driving trucks that would ensure safer shipment of cargo across the roads.  Other companies like Google, Toyota, Audi plan to follow suit latest by 2020, and we are keeping our fingers crossed for safer driverless future!

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