General Question

talljasperman's avatar

What is the future of road traffic?

Asked by talljasperman (18268 points ) February 12th, 2014

Smaller cars, smart cars, less cars on the road? What futuristic inventions could improve travel on highways and smaller roads?
I’ve been listening to the traffic report in Calgary, and I wonder what could fix the traffic problem.

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30 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Mass transit; more subways, buses, trains and car pools.

zenvelo's avatar

Self driving cars will allow traffic to flow more smoothly, as will cars that communicate with each other. But that’s going to be a good twenty-five years before that really takes over, because the cars being made today will be around that long.

Until then traffic will keep getting worse.

bolwerk's avatar

Probably all of the above. Design limits on traffic too. In many countries (e.g, the USA), the cost of driving is borne by people other than the driver, so I expect eventually there will be a break in favor of direct per-km road pricing.

Cruiser's avatar

It is stupid simple…raise the price of gasoline to over $5.00 per gallon and your streets will be an automotive ghost town…except for all the bicycles and pedestrians texting and not watching where they are walking.

Coloma's avatar

^^^ zombie texters.

Free state funded Chauffeurs with built in wine bars. haha
I do not like all the ultra tiny vehicles, at all. I drove a Smart Car and felt like I was in a freaking cat food can. It was so weird!

I will never drive one of these micro-death machines.
I do not buy into the supposed safety ratings at all. Right the roll bar will save me when I am creamed by a Corona truck. lol
I want as much driver survival space as possible. lol

bolwerk's avatar

@Cruiser: it’s already well over that in much of western Europe. People still drive, and the roads are probably generally in better shape.

Granted, the cars are typically smaller and get better mileage.

kritiper's avatar

Totally automatic with cables buried in the road to send/transmit required data.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Large companies should have different shift start times, might cut traffic a bit,better driver training,eg actually prove you can operate the motor vehicle,and know the laws of the road,and put some kind of sensor in the driver seat that wont allow an electronic device to be used as long as the vehicle is in motion,those are just a start.

Stinley's avatar

More home working?

Cruiser's avatar

@bolwerk I would love to not have to tangle with huge SUV’s on the road anymore. In this day and age, I truly don’t get the logic of the Section 179 tax deduction that incentivizes companies to buy these monster trucks and SUV’s that are over 6,000 pounds and are lucky to get 13 miles to the gallon.

bolwerk's avatar

@Cruiser: The relationship between vehicle weight and wear ‘n tear on roads is not linear, either – it’s exponential! They are being paid to cost everyone more.

Silence04's avatar

Computer driven vehicles will eliminate all traffic. We have the technology to implement it now, but most people aren’t comfortable with that scenario.

I’m ready for it though, lol

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Silence04 so humans are smart enough and have the technology to make computer driven vehicles,but for the most part those same humans are to stupid to drive those vehicles manually?

dougiedawg's avatar

Someone will (hopefully) invent a compressed air type engine that will free us from fossil fuels and the carbon emissions that are harming our environment.
When this occurs, we will be able to drive about much more efficiently and quietly I would expect. The Chinese or Russians will likely introduce the technology since the U.S. is married to Big Oil which only gives lip service to developing non-fossil fuel engines.

kritiper's avatar

@dougiedawg They have had those for years but to compress the air initially, you need electric (coal fired) or internal combustion engine compressors.

dougiedawg's avatar

@ kritiper- I’m aware of that but a new technology using batteries may present a better solution down the road (so to speak). More than one way to skin a cat, bro;)

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The only ways to “skin the cat” is Solar or Geothermal (Volcano). You need a power source or something to add energy to the compression of a gas like air.
Batteries are a chemical storage system, you charge them (change the chemistry in the cell) and then release the energy as required later.

flutherother's avatar

It doesn’t have a future. All those cars on the road are going nowhere except the scrap heap of history.

dougiedawg's avatar

@ Tropical Willie-the biggest problem with the hybrid aircars has been a limited range and not enough engine heat but there is one that runs off the alternator once it is moving so it lessens the usage of stored air.
One of these days the car guys are going to make a breakthrough possibly in combination with lithium batteries or some other supplemental power source besides fossil fuel. Who knows when but we are not that far away from what I’ve read.

kritiper's avatar

@dougiedawg OK. But how much energy was used to make the batteries? And mine the elements to make the batteries?? Your idea sound Rube Goldberg-ish.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@kritiper I think we lost the OP and . . . . .

talljasperman's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I’m still here… just having an after supper family sized bag of potato chips…All dressed I belive.

kritiper's avatar

In the mining industry, where tunnels are use to get to the ore, air powered locomotives are used to pull the ore cars. Ours had a compressed air tank of about 250 gallons, had a motor that was about 5 HP and had a maximum range of maybe 1 mile. Does this sound practical for an on-road vehicle? No.

bolwerk's avatar

What’s practical is reducing dependence on roads. It’s patently absurd to pay people to live so far away from everything that they need to drive to meet every basic need.

dougiedawg's avatar

The future of air car development aside, the development and redevelopment of mass transit in our major cities and outlying areas around them is what is needed to alleviate road congestion.

I think we can all agree on this and I would love to see a competition for best and most efficient design and redesign started by the mayors of our ten largest metro areas started in conjunction with some type of federal impetus and funding similar to the construction of our present interstate highway system.

Such a plan ideally would reduce the number of cars used daily to and from work and subsequently reduce pollution as well I believe.

NanoNano's avatar

They’ve tried several approaches in the US but there is no political will to change things. What we really need is high speed rail running the length of the country.

China’s road network is soon to rival the US one in terms of size and complexity, and their’s will be brand new compared to our decaying infrastructure. They are still struggling with a high number of accidents however due to drivers not obeying the rules…

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90882/8292682.html

Cars that drive themselves are coming. It may ease congestion in heavily traffic areas, but I doubt their safety in high speed situaitons…

Is there really any congestion problem in Canada talliasperman?

bolwerk's avatar

A system of fully self-driving cars is still decades away.

HSR is well and good, but it doesn’t fill the local transportation needs that probably cause most traffic congestion.

NanoNano's avatar

Well, it would in certain parts of the country> Not in major metropolitan areas perhaps, but in areas like the Twin Cities to Chicago corridor. (There were plans for HSR here decades ago but it never got built because the states couldn’t work out amongst themselves how it would be paid for).

Don’t forget that much of the US is rural. So high speed rail running through Kansas, Nebraska, Montana, Nevada…you name it, would be a real boon to commuters who travel long distances day by day.

bolwerk's avatar

Building HSR, especially frequent/subsidized HSR, to rural areas encourages further suburbanization and traffic congestion in rural areas. HSR isn’t a “last mile” solution; people still need to get from HSR to their destinations by local transit.

But more than half the population of the USA is in the top 50 metropolitan areas. These are the places that should be linked by HSR, not rural areas.

talljasperman's avatar

@NanoNano I’ve been impatiently listening to traffic on the radio so I can get to other news… I was hoping if traffic was cleared up permanently that some time would be saved for other news.

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