No, this is not a sequel to Al Gore’s documentary on global warming. It’s about the difficulties of traveling from one place to another. Travel has become a nightmare and its only getting worse.
The latest terrorist attacks and added security in transportation is making travel a difficult chore. There are many complaints but few viable solutions. Each city and place has experienced different kinds of congestions so there is not one universal solution.
However, there is hope. The beauty of building light or using lightweight structures is that one can test ideas and transform a space, place or concept very quickly. Its OK to fail but its OK to succeed too!
Pedestrian traffic is tight. In cities, the sidewalks are not big enough any more. Stores are taking over the front. Newspaper stands and kiosk are taking over the sidewalk. Traffic poles, curb cuts and parking meters add to the clutter. Density is not all that bad.
How about closing some streets to vehicle traffic and giving the street back to the city walker? How about a street lined with public tables chairs and umbrellas. It’s already working in some cities. How about trying it more often and in more places?
Auto traffic is at a stand still too. What city doesn’t experience rush hour traffic? Main Street roads are getting wider. Highways look like runways. They all seem to be designed for todays traffic with no plans for the future. It’s all not that bad, Ezpass and prepaid devices make life a little better but there will some day be no free rides with even more cars on the road. Another issue for all the traffic jams is the weather. Did you know that many traffic accidents are caused by sun glare, wind gust, hail and snow?
How about some shade structures (natural or artificial) installed over some prominent street for reducing traffic emergencies. How about fabric “visors” across highways that would reduce sun glare or extending tunnels with “vestibules” to reduce the amount of snow or water that clogs up an entrance.
Train, Light rain and Bus traffic is suppose to reduce congestion and get people out of their cars. Have you been on a mass transit system recently? They are packed. They are adding cars so you have to walk a long distance to the exit of your choice. Bus stops are not big enough to handle rush hour lines and don’t protect people once they get off.
Imagine walking out of your home and into your car, then to a covered parking garage at a station in which you walk protected by the elements to your bus or train and then to your office without getting wet! That’s a commute!
Air Traffic control or out of control? Flying has become the longest commute. Besides not having reasonably priced non stop airfare, there is the constant need for connections and the constant delays. The airplane experience has not improved since 9.11.
Imagine a trip like this: Getting to the airport, free valet parking, walking into the terminal with your ticket and luggage and walking thru a tunnel that consist of equipment that checks you better than the existing security service. You then walk straight into the plane and your luggage is taken and stored for you. No more Platinum members and elite status. Everyone is treated alike. I know…who pays for this.
Imagine. Smart Phones to Smart streets, to Smart roads, to Smart highways, to Smart rails to Smart terminals to Smart planes to Smart space.
It starts with Smart people and the Earth has plenty of them.