It is an exciting time for innovation in the transportation sector. New technologies are transforming the way people commute within their cities, as well as how they travel long distances. From self-driving cars to high speed rail, the transportation of the future has already arrived. It may take a few more years due to bureaucratic reasons and municipal oversight before much of this new technology goes mainstream. However, it is already reshaping the way transportation is viewed as a whole. Here are seven transportation trends that will change how we move.
1. High Speed Travel with Hyperloop
The company Hyperloop One recently made history in the Nevada desert near Las Vegas with its first test run of a high speed pod that shot down an enclosed track at nearly 200 mph. The pod used in the test was 28 feet long, resembling an aerodynamic bus. Hyperloop One hopes to have a working model in the coming years that would connect Las Vegas and California in about 30 minutes. In a video, shared online by the company, you can witness this groundbreaking mode or transportation. There are now 11 proposed sites across the US that hope to use this technology to connect major cities around the country. Anything that avoids having to wait in airport lines is quite an exciting idea!
2. Self Driving Cars
Nothing promises to alter the future of transportation more than self driving cars. They have the potential to dramatically cut down the number of auto accidents, and possibly end fatal crashes altogether. Imagine a future in which drivers can commute to work and back while getting a head start on their emails, creating a huge boost in productivity and limiting wasted time stuck in traffic. Companies like Google, Uber, and Lyft see a bright future in self driving technology, and have gone so far to say they imagine that one day their fleet will be comprised of completely autonomous vehicles. It is likely that when this day comes, many people will no longer see the need or benefit of owning their own car. You may simply pull up your app and request a self driving car to shuttle you around, or have a scheduled ride waiting for you when you leave to work. Well it may still be a few more years for this technology to become mainstream in America, there is a company called Amber that looks primed to have its self driving fleet ready to deploy in Dutch cities as early as next year.
3. Lightweight Vehicles
The advancements of 3D printing have made for the ability to create vehicles that weigh less than ever. This is true for cars, limousines, and trucks that wish to be more fuel efficient. The method is known as lightweighting and promises to keep your wallet and the environment happy! This is because lighter weight vehicles are more cost effective to produce and get better fuel mileage.
4. Lyft Shuttle
The famous ride sharing app, Lyft, is promising to start a new trend in the transportation sector with the introduction of Lyft Shuttle. The service aims to help people with their daily commute by offering lower fares along a fixed route, similar to a public bus route. Because the Lyft shuttle will not be picking you up directly at your house or work, there is still some walking involved. It will be interesting to see how this new addition to the Lyft line will affect public transportation in cities. With competitive pricing, it is likely more people would rely on something like Lyft shuttle, vs. standing and waiting for a bus that can be notoriously late.
5. The Boring Company
A list of transportation trends would not be complete without mentioning Elon Musk. Specifically, Elon Musk’s latest venture with “The Boring Company”. Elon Musk is, of course, best known for his electric car company, Tesla. However, his newest approach to transportation involves an idea that seems to be straight out of science fiction. Musk’s vision includes a massive network of underground tunnels that will shuttle cars along at speeds of up to 150 mph, allowing drivers in California and around the country the ability to escape the traffic jams that plague major cities. A “car elevator” would lower vehicles into the underground labyrinth and take them to a programmed destination. A combination of this technology with self driving vehicles would promise to get people to work faster than they could drink their morning coffee!
6. Self Driving Bus
It’s possible that very soon, bus driver jobs may be lost to the oncoming wave of automation. An electric powered shuttle bus, named Olli, hopes to begin operating on university campuses in Las Vegas and Miami near the end of 2017. At the moment, their premier vehicle will be able to shuttle around up to 12 passengers at a time, and operate completely autonomously without any driver needed. It’s likely that within the next decade, larger models could replace city buses around the country. A self driving bus that runs on electric power would be a win for the environment as well as hundreds of city commuters that rely on timely transportation.
7. Transit App
The "Transit" Android and Apple app is now available in over 125 cities worldwide. It allow users to quickly compare different options including Uber, rideshare, subway, train, and bike share options in their area. Costs and commute times are provided in real time, and there is a trip planning feature. Having the ability to get an overview of all your transportation options in one app is quite handy and a trend that will likely catch on with millennials who want to weigh price friendly options.