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It is hard to predict the future. However, when you look at what you have, and what’s on the pipeline, you can hope for the best. For the future of mobility, some things will not change while others will. For example, people walk or ride a bicycle to work as a healthy alternative to driving. As such, bike lanes, sidewalks and walking areas, and other carless means of moving around become more common – a bold idea that has its share of pros and cons.

Worsening Traffic Because of Volume

Future commutes need to address larger populations and travels over longer distances, using new environment-friendly technologies.

Before things get better, commuting and traveling to and from schools and office will get harder. Analysts believe that the rides will be longer and there will be more people on the vehicles. Even though advanced technology already exists, such bold ideas still need to take some time before they are used on a mass scale. Commuters tend to accept changes when these modes of transportation work. Authorities will have to decide where and when implementation begins before commuters reap the benefits.

Buses, for example, convert from pure gas or diesel use to electric or hybrid technology. With more people commuting, it is expected the number of electric buses will increase too. Some cities already have driverless shuttles and short point-to-point routes; others opt for electric or hybrid cars they can carpool in.

The Car Society

California has been criticized as a car culture and the freeways remain part of the infrastructure. Regardless, it’s expected to be even more packed with vehicles, each carrying more passengers, but cars will be moving faster. Electric cars will also be mostly driverless and automated, and commuting this way becomes safer. The city will also be part of an automated transit service which passengers call on demand. Due to automation, cars will no longer swerve from one lane to another, and drivers will no longer rail and shout against each other.

There are more innovations in progress, including the Hyperloop, which will have top speeds of 700 miles per hour (mph). There is also the Volocopter, an automated pilotless drone capable of transporting up to two persons.

Ideas at Work

All these innovations are either in advanced stages or still under development. So far, the biggest hurdles for officially implementing these bold innovations are the regulations already in place to address environmental impact and noise pollution.

When considering transportation, there are other factors. First, there is the ever-growing population. In the Bay Area alone, it is predicted there is an increase of 2 million residents by 2040, inching the population closer to 10 million. This may push prices higher and drive commuters further away to Tracy, Modesto, and beyond. Working in Silicon Valley while living in these areas means enduring longer commutes.

This kind of problem may replicate itself in other major cities. Effective solutions are a unique mix of technologies catering to each city’s needs. For example, ride sharing or carpooling becomes more common, while other commuters might subscribe to a service where they ride a driverless taxi from a pickup point to the high speed rail terminal. These are alternatives that minimize or eliminate the use of personal cars due to the limited parking spaces at the terminal.

Future commutes need to address larger populations and travels over longer distances, using new environment-friendly technologies. With automated vehicles, commuters are free to read, catch up on their email, or make phone calls. It frees up the time for people to be more productive, and at the same time, they are less stressed from the daily commute.