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The Future of Getting Around

In tomorrow's more efficient (we hope!) cities, we will see the birth of interesting and bizarre transport methods... that is, if anyone is willing to fund these developments.
Monday, November 12, 2012 11:20 EST | 27
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Rick Merritt
Rick Merritt  
11/21/2012 2:33:03 PM
User Rank City Slicker
Bike monorail: The human pneumatic tube
I'm voting for that New Zealand bike monorail as the most fun city transport idea I have seen to date.

The bus that straddles the highway proposed in China was also interesting. Very fresh ideas I had not heard of.

I used bike share systems in Boston and London this year and looooooved them, although I think they need to tinker with the idea of how they charge. The extra fees beyond 30 minutes and etc. just made every trip too much of a mental calculation. Nevertheless I used the systems extensively and enjoyed them.

I loved the fact NYC was getting bike lanes right through midtown the last time I was there. Never thought I would see something like that there.

DSM419
DSM419  
11/14/2012 6:29:34 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Helmets
Awesome information & truly encouraging! I am excited to spread the word about free helmets in NYC! Thanks.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/14/2012 3:38:19 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: The Future of Getting Around
Another great point. How much money are we going to waste on fixing infrastructure and transportation that just doesn't do the job anymore?

stotheco
stotheco  
11/14/2012 3:35:16 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: The Future of Getting Around
True. Going along with the analogy he gave you... Sometimes I can't help but think that it would be cheaper, wiser, and perhaps more economical to just buy a brand new jacket. I mean, the costs to patch up the elbows will eventually add up to more than the cost of a brand new one. Why not just skip the patching and go straight to an investment that could give you more in the long run?

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/14/2012 3:30:31 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: The Future of Getting Around
@stotheco: Thanks! And I agree with you that investments like this are great investments for the future. I was talking with the director of sustainability for the MTA yesterday, and I said to him that I feel the past two decades or so were marked with people unwilling to invest in projects that will benefit the future. He agreed and gave me a great image to think of when thinking of city infrastructure -- he said it's like we've all been wearing our great grandfather's coat for the past 20 years, and keep repatching the elbows, but won't invest in a new one, because at this point we feel entitled to it. I felt that was very apt! There's a great deal of entitlement to the programs and processes that were paid for by other generations, but very little desire to invest in the future. 

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/14/2012 3:16:50 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Helmets
Good questions about safety, DSM. I was wondering the same about helmets, although I didn't think they'd be rent-able. I just looked up some further info and found that they won't be part of the program, though they're "strongly encouraged," and the city is working with various bike shops to have them offered at a discounted rate to bike-share members. Further it said this, (and this was something I didn't know!): "In addition, DOT will continue to distribute free helmets – over 50,000 have been given away to New Yorkers since 2007. Call 311 for more information on being fitted for a free helmet."

Fascinating! Had no idea. More info about the bike-share program here, if you're interested!

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/14/2012 3:08:38 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Infrastructure in Transit Tested
PeterJ, Thanks for your comment. I believe in multiple approaches too. But I believe that these multiple approaches need to eventually lead to many, many fewer cars on the roads. I realize this will take more than a bike-share program, though, because bikes aren't for everyone.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/14/2012 3:05:32 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: wind tunnels
Good question on the comparison to monorails, wbalthrop. I don't know the answer, but it's something to look into. I think the other benefit of the buses is the power they use (electricity and solar). Also, they could be supplemental to monorails, while also being a better option than a single bus, which takes up all that room on the roads.

Of course, this kind of addition to the roads would require a massive reconstruction effort, so I would be very surprised to see this in the near future.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/14/2012 3:02:23 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: wind tunnels
CitySolver, re: the driver of the "straddling bus" -- if these were running on fixed stilts, would much really be in the driver's hands? Seems like they'd run along fixed paths, like subways, cable cars, etc. (That's certainly not to say that this tech couldn't ultimately be dangerous in some way.)

stotheco
stotheco  
11/14/2012 2:39:32 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: The Future of Getting Around
Nicole, I love this Vblog! I especially like that prototype you mentioned, the straddling bus. There's huge potential there. And as you've said, it will take a huge amount of funding but it's one of the greatest investments that cities can make.

Good to hear that NY's public transportation systems are back up and running as well! 

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