The Future of Transportation Isn’t a Flying Car

June 2, 2016

Thinking about the future of transportation may automatically get you thinking about futuristic cars. You may see images of flying vehicles or pretend that you are in “Back to the Future”. Who could blame you after all that’s what most movies and TV shows have conditioned us to expect?

However while we are waiting on flying or self-driving cars to officially hit the streets, we are letting a great opportunity pass us by. We are ignoring a shift in the way that we use transportation that is both environmentally friendly and convenient.

In response to growing health concerns and traffic issues bicycles are becoming the preferred way of travel.

One way transportation is changing is that daily commuters are embracing bicycle-sharing programs. In bike sharing programs bicycles are located in different areas around a city and you can rent a bike. Once you rent it, you can return it to any other sharing station. You are charged by how long you use the bike or through a monthly membership fee.

Though I wouldn’t recommend jumping on this trend unless you are a seasoned bicycle rider. It will take nerves of steel to ride a bicycle in heavy traffic, however the popularity is increasingly growing. According to Reuters as of 2014 over 36 cities had bike-sharing programs.  These programs reduce the needs of cars and greatly reduce emissions.

The growing interest in bicycles comes as our current driving system is contributing unhealthy environmental effects. This pollution is mainly the by-product of the carbon dioxide emitted through the tailpipe of cars. Currently emissions caused by cars can contribute negatively to our world from increased flooding, droughts and rising seas according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Automotive and fuel industries are doing whatever they can through investing in clean energy by creating fuel-efficient vehicles, cleaner fuels and electric vehicles. While these advances will be great, what is interesting is that an old favorite in terms of transportation is returning. Bicycle programs continue to rise in popularity as a way to fight back against tailpipe emissions.

According to Timothy Hamilton, Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Richmond the main goal of bike sharing programs are to reduce to number of cars on the road.

He also pointed out that bike sharing could have a great impact on society from environmental benefits, health benefits and better transportation accessibility. Read more about their study here.

With this information it is easy to see that cars as we know them aren’t the future and despite our wants flying cars may not be either.

The future of vehicles will focus on green energy, clean technology and most of all high technology. Despite the many benefits of cars of the future such as making the driving experience more pleasant, reduced emissions are just as important. Many different forms of electric buses and cars such as all electric, hybrid electric and plug in hybrid electric vehicles produce lower emissions.

Lowering emissions are important because they  can cause smog, health problems and increases in carbon dioxide. These are not exactly ideal for our environment. This is why using electric cars, which will produce zero tailpipe emissions, will hold the key to our sustainable future.

Find more information on electric emissions compared to tailpipe emissions here.

At this point you may be wondering what you can do to help. The answer is simple, the chart below explains the hierarchy of future transportation that we all should take into consideration.

I will cyberly walk you through the chart:

  • Pedestrians and Bicycles – Walk and bike where you can, this is the easiest way to reduce emissions, enjoy nature and get a great exercise.
  • Public Transportation, Service & Freight Vehicles – These forms of transportation will reduce your reliance on cars and they are more likely to get environmentally friendly upgrades quicker than cars. The ride won’t be so bad and you may make some new friends.
  • Taxis, Single Occupant Vehicles and Carpools  – These are the least environmentally friendly ways as emissions are produced. Don’t feel bad if this is your only option, just try to use gas stations that advertise using cleaner fuels. Carpools can also help the environment and save you money in the process. Find more information on carpools here.

It’s not just the people who have to make a change in their daily lives. Many governments are embracing clean technology and are working to make sure that they are ready for the future. That comes by making sure that they have the proper infrastructure in place.

Adoption takes time and might not be an option for everyone right away. Keep trying to do what you can. Every action makes a difference.

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