With urban areas set to dominate roughly 86 percent of the developed world along with 64 percent of the developing world a mere 30 years from now, the challenges of city driving are real issues that require attention.
Luckily, that attention has been coming in the form of technology. Here are some of the numerous ways that technology has been positively impacting municipal transportation in recent years.
Connectivity Is Key
Modern technology has allowed urban planners to ensure that all forms of public transportation, from trains to buses, can be predictably relied on as a mode of transportation. The changes have occurred with both the operation of the vehicles themselves as well as the accessibility of their schedules online. This has had the splendid effect of allowing commuters to depend, for example, not just on catching a bus at the right time, but of using multiple forms of transportation within a single trip, planning to move from bus to train or vice versa without the risk of missing one being a major factor.
Furthermore, the concept of tracking your commute to work each day has started to impact modern habits. Many employers offer incentives to employees who take eco-friendly alternatives, such as commuter vans, biking, or even walking. With the benefits of fitness apps, as well as the natural health benefits of exercise, commutes are looking greener and healthier with each year.
In the modern era, one of the phrases you don’t hear very often is that there are fewer distractions. Now, it might sound odd to hear technology being referred to as causing fewer interruptions — especially since distracted driving is an epidemic that is often directly related to things like texting and using your phone.
However, there are quite a few different ways that tech is actually being utilized to fight this very problem. For example, many apps are being created that allow phones to enter “driving mode,” preventing drivers from receiving any messages or alerts while they’re enabled.
In addition, there are more and more car safety features like forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warnings and assistants that can help ensure that a distracted driver is made aware of possible danger while driving.
Better Air Quality
From respiratory issues to overall air quality, a reduction of the number of cars being used to move around urban areas can have a number of different secondary benefits, including reducing the overall quantity of emissions and pollutants getting into the air. While this is helpful for the world as a whole, it is a change that has a particularly significant impact on those living in the tight quarters of a city.
The Rideshare Magic
For years now the success of Uber has been showing us that the world is ready for the concept of ridesharing. The era of owning your own car, especially in urban centers, has suddenly become needless as ridesharing technology has made the necessity of a personal vehicle — along with its legion of expenses — largely unnecessary.
Competition from Lyft has also helped to keep the burgeoning rideshare world honest, keeping the focus on quality as well. With the use of this kind of technology only becoming more and more common, there’s little doubt that ridesharing will remain at the forefront of the urban technological transportation transformation for the foreseeable future.
Walking Is for Chumps. Scoot!
While taxis, trains, and buses are the classic poster children of urban transportation, another unsung hero of the city landscape is the scooter. Scooters are that perfect amalgam of walking and riding, allowing the commuter to retain a bit of control over their commute while simultaneously speeding things up.
However, while scooters are on the rise, the way they’re used is still an important factor in ensuring that they’re a genuine improvement on the urban transportation scene. It’s crucial that anyone considering using a scooter for their metropolitan travels makes sure they know how to properly operate the vehicle. Otherwise, they could end up being a bit of a hazard.
While most people still love to drive themselves around in their own car, the many new transportation options available are not only helping to ease the congestion on the streets, they’re also helping to reduce the overall stress that commuters experience when getting from point A to point B.
While driving yourself may put you in a position of control, the extreme traffic jams and accompanying stress that they entail are often directly due to that “one car per person” mentality on the roads. More advanced options, like rideshare services along better utilization of public transportation, have allowed more and more people to travel around while being no worse for the wear, emotionally speaking.
The Future Is Here
The age of autonomous cars is here, and it bodes well for the congestion, pollution, and overall safety of urban commuting. While self-driving cars are still in their infancy, they have been quietly making their entrance onto the scene for a while now, and thus far they’ve shown few reasons why they would be anything but an upgrade from a human behind the wheel.
This doesn’t come from their infallibility, but rather from the unavoidable fact that humans are bad drivers. It’s that simple. Our collective track record has left much to be desired in the way of accidents, speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, and so on. Once self-driving cars become the norm, chances are the injuries and fatalities attributed to the common commute will decrease significantly.
Making the Roads Safer
From ridesharing to air quality, from distractions to self-driving cars, from stress to scooters, technology is already making an indelible impact on urban transportation for the better. And the best part is that the changes just seem to be getting started.