Land Transportation. Innovative and efficient transportation from one place to another has been the inspiration for inventions and new technologies for hundreds of years. .
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Innovative and efficient transportation from one place to another has been the inspiration for inventions and new technologies for hundreds of years.
Inventions such as the wheel and sled soon helped make animal transport more efficient as goods could be transported with their use. Water transport, including rowed and sailed vessels, dates back to the times of the ancient caveman, and was the easiest way to transport large amounts of goods over large distances before the Industrial Revolution.
Transportation can be broken up into three main categories: vehicles, infrastructure, and operations. Vehicles are any machine capable of carrying people and objects from one place to another.
The success of the Industrial Revolution depended on the ability to transport raw materials and finished goods over long distances. There were three main types of transportation that increased during the Industrial Revolution: waterways, roads, and railroads.
Operations include the day-to-day management and long term planning that make transportation. These operations can include the employees who run or manage public transportation each day or those responsible for timing and planning stop lights at intersections.
The investment in public transportation options like buses and subways vary from country to country. Often, people who live in rural communities with smaller populations do not have access to the commuter rail services and other forms of public transportation that help individuals reach and move within bigger cities.
Currently, more than three-fourths of the world’s vehicles rely on fossil fuels, or naturally occurring fuels formed by the decomposition of organisms over time. Scientists think the 800 billion barrels of oil that are left under ground will only last about fifteen more years if fossil fuels continue to be used at the same rate. Because of this, the future of land transportation will heavily depend on how alternative energy sources can be utilized.
However, there is significant concern about the energy efficiency of hybrid vehicles. Recent studies indicate that the energy needed to produce and charge an electric vehicle is more environmentally damaging than the use of traditional internal combustion engines. As such, a split may emerge between short-range urban cars and long-range highway vehicles.
Since the creation of the first car, automobile ownership has allowed humans to commute to better jobs, travel to exciting places, impress others, and cover distances more quickly than ever before. In 2002, there were 590 million automobiles in the world. By 2050 the United Nations predicts there will be more than 9 billion people resulting in nearly 4 billion vehicles on the roads. With more vehicles on the road than ever before, the freedom of mobility once afforded to those who owned cars is quickly deteriorating.
Each year, more than 4.2 billion hours are lost in traffic congestion, resulting in the waste of 2.8 billion gallons of fuel. Because transportation in and around cities is becoming more time consuming and environmentally damaging, governments are investing in better infrastructure to the use of public transportation and cycling. The world’s first “cycle superhighway” in Denmark is made up of 11 miles of smoothly paved paths, complete with air pumps at each mile.
As an alternative to single person rides, services that promote carpooling or ridesharing are becoming increasingly popular. Zipcar, a membership-based car sharing company, helps provide automobile reservations to members, with a fleet of self-service vehicles.
At the same time new websites and apps are trying to help individuals connect and share rides. In efforts to decrease traffic congestion, control fuel usage and create a greener environment, some governments have turned to stricter regulations on single-occupant drives, and vehicle fuel emissions.
Autonomous vehicles, also known as robot cars or driverless cars, are being developed around the world. Driverless cars will give people the freedom to take their eyes off the road to eat, read, talk on the phone and more. With vehicle-to-vehicle communication and vehicle-to-vehicle infrastructure cars are able to monitor their environments and “talk” to one another as they travel. These driverless vehicles are a safe, stable option for those who are unable to drive safely.
In 2011, Nevada was the first state in the U.S. to legalize driverless vehicles on their roads. Smart cars will also have the ability to form road trains, which is also known as "platooning" where vehicles form a line one after another and rely on the first, or front, car to navigate.
In Australia road trains are already replacing railways as a means of transporting goods on routes throughout the center of the country. Soon, the visual elements people rely on to drive like speedometers, steering wheels, and rear-view-mirrors may be eliminated from cars entirely since they will not be needed. Systems are also envisioned for driverless cars that are guided by magnetic rails and other forms of enhanced highways. By 2040 experts predict 75% of the cars on the road may be driverless. These cars could reduce car crashes by as much as 14%.
People continue to be fascinated with using new, innovative ideas for vehicles and alternative transportation methods. Each year car designs and inventions make people want to buy the fastest, sleekest and most unique vehicles on the road. However, more and more experts insist that there is a need to completely rethink how and why people use transportation to develop and inspire completely new ways travel by land.
As society becomes increasingly mobile-driven, even food vendors and libraries have transitioned to wheels. Where will the future of transportation take us? What are innovative ideas already being tested?
Are hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles the answer for the future of transportation or will regional air travel be a cheaper, quicker, safer, and more environmentally friendly alternative to in the years to come?