Flying cars? Vacuum-powered trains? It’s hard to know what the future holds. However, it’s pretty clear that our modes of transportation are evolving and it’s not entirely impossible to predict where they’re going. While we might not see flying cars anywhere in the near future, we will see technology advance and make our commuting lives easier. Here’s my predictions about what we’ll see (and won’t see) in the next few decades:
Self-driving carsIt’s pretty easy to see that cars are becoming more and more independent of our driving skills as time goes on. We already have cars that can park themselves and and automatically stop whenever there’s an obstruction in its path. Heck, Google already made a car than can drive itself. Driverless cars are already legal in California, Nevada, and Florida. Cars of the future will be able to automatically calculate the fastest route based on traffic and other information, and maybe even drive you there without any other input.Proliferation of this technology offers the best of both worlds–it satisfies our desire to have our own personal vehicles while potentially making trips faster and safer due to consistent computer control.
Inter-city transitThis is an area of our infrastructure which is severely underdeveloped. Many cities currently have complex public transportation systems of their own, but when it comes to travelling between cities or around the country, our options are pretty limited. President Obama has proposed a national network of high-speed rail, and while we have no way of knowing when that idea will come to fruition, such a system would definitely facilitate expansion and ease the load on our current infrastructure. In the long term, we may even see high-speed systems such as the Vactrain come into the picture. As proposed, these trains will operate inside vacuum tubes at extremely high speeds and for long distances.
Expansion of current systems
As time goes on, I believe that we will see current public transportation systems continue to advance. Take the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, for example–DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) recently agreed on limited bus service in the city of Arlington, Texas (which happens to be the largest city without public transportation, by the way). As commuters become increasingly frustrated with our current road and highway network, more people will begin to look for an alternative. The most obvious answer is simple intra-city bus and rail systems. As demand for these increase, we will continue to see more development of such solutions.