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'The Future of Transportation Is Not About Inventions. It’s About Choices.'

While much attention is focused on new technologies, the potential of existing transportation modes has never been fully realized.
November 7, 2019, 10am PST | Camille Fink
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Jonathan Riley

"The tools we need to change transportation are right there in front of us," writes Henry Grabar. He argues that it is not the new, flashy technological innovations and visions—the hyperloops and self-driving cars—that are going to improve mobility. Instead, revisiting the technologies we already have, such as elevators and bikes, are what will truly transform the world.

"The bus is another overlooked piece of technology that could do far more. In most American cities, buses are hard to depend on because they run infrequently, slowly, and often on routes that are holdovers from streetcar systems abandoned decades ago. Give a bus its own lane, its own route, its own authority over signals, and it can permit car-free land use to flourish alongside," urges Grabar.

The issue ultimately is about cities designed for and prioritizing cars and driving. "Even here, in a nation of unprecedented personal wealth and plentiful land, the car-centric system has pushed up against the limitations of space, proving expensive to maintain and impossible to scale," says Grabar.

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Published on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 in Slate
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