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Thread: Future of mass transit in urban areas with little existing mass transit systems

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    Future of mass transit in urban areas with little existing mass transit systems

    I will preface this thread noting that I am not a trained transportation planner or even an urban planner. My background is as a builder/developer of commercial real estate. However, I sit on the regional transportation authority board for a larger urban area with relatively little existing mass transit infrastructure in place. I have lived in major urban areas like NYC and DC; regularly using mass transit there. But now as I sit looking at a relatively clean slate while planning for 2035 and beyond, I question whether the spending of massive amounts of money to install a transit system essentially based on 100+ year old technology is the right way to go. At the same time watching my kids effectively telecommute, via XBox or the like, to the "army" we played in back yards as kids with all of your friends running around and covering your back but talking on mics and the like that we never could have dreamed of!

    With that background in mind, I am interested in finding studies, writings, textbooks, etc that discuss future visions of "transportation" or "planning" that assesses the future impacts of technology on urban transit. I think of things like the literal virtual office to totally avoid commutes or the installation of infrastructure technologies which supports increased traffic flow on managed roadways and "self driving" vehicles.

    Any thoughts on accessing thoughtful visions for transportation through the next 50 years?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Visions are easy. Its the consensus and funding that will be tough. Areas that have little to no transit have a hard time getting buy-in that it is needed or worthwhile.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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    Cyburbian safege's avatar
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    Electric cars have given way to driverless in the past year or so. I expect the same will be true of transit. Most transit will not be upgradable, and there will be much mashing of teeth when light rail is put on the ashcan of history, once again. Driverless transit is hard to research at this point.

    I, too, am not a planner.
    Psychotics are consistently inconsistent. The essence of sanity is to be inconsistently inconsistent.
    -Larry Wall

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by safege View post
    Electric cars have given way to driverless in the past year or so. I expect the same will be true of transit. Most transit will not be upgradable, and there will be much mashing of teeth when light rail is put on the ashcan of history, once again. Driverless transit is hard to research at this point.

    I, too, am not a planner.
    Hmm we have had driverless light rail for over 25 years!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit_People_Mover
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  5. #5
    If you are looking for specific references to the future of urban transportation, focus on ITS resources, specifically on Connected Vehicle Technology. USDOT and ITSMA has a wealth of information.

    I think the recent announcement by Yahoo that employees would be required to go to the office, shows that the idea of telecommuting as the practice of the future has limited growth potential. there may be enough flexibility to workforces to sometimes tamp down recurring congestion, but I don't think its a strategy to great diminish it. There's still much to be said for the kind of innovation that occurs through social interaction and Yahoo's CEO recognizes that. Maybe traffic patters shift more because these sectors of business try to encourage the Google model where people don't necessary come in at 8 to work and then leave at 5, but rather spend most of the day there, even if not working the whole time.

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    Cyburbian safege's avatar
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    Last I heard, the NYC subway intends to go driverless. I remember someone posted an incident during the 1960s, when an automated car was mysteriously torched. Some say by the labor union. Accidents happen.

    May the Detroit People Mover last 100 years, and be under better management (if I remember right). The NYC subway, Chicago EL, and suspended monorail in Wupperthal, Germany, are all over 100 years old. All grade separated too. Maybe add grade separation to the future list, as well as the tried and true list.
    Psychotics are consistently inconsistent. The essence of sanity is to be inconsistently inconsistent.
    -Larry Wall

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by safege View post
    May the Detroit People Mover last 100 years, and be under better management (if I remember right). The NYC subway, Chicago EL, and suspended monorail in Wupperthal, Germany, are all over 100 years old. All grade separated too. Maybe add grade separation to the future list, as well as the tried and true list.
    Management isn't the issue with the DPM. It has a lot to do with the rest of the feeder system not working well. All that is left is a convienient was to ferry conventioneers and sports fans from the hotels and cheap parking areas to the venues. In case your wondering Detroit ain't exactly Vegas when it comes to conventions. We have two big ones annually, 'The Auto Show' and the Manufacturing Engineers... Shocking isn't it?
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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