Yesterday I sat in on a panel discussion with some pretty esteemed folks discussing the future of the automobile and its sustainability as a transportation mode in the Los Angeles “Megacity” of the future. The panel consisted of local government bodies, think tanks and the like. All agreed that the freeways now are full and it will only get worse when a project 50% population growth takes place over the next couple of decades. There is no money for new freeways or other transportation infrastructure so we have to make the best of what we have. That means finding ways to reduce congestion and traffic which will help with air quality and general quality of life.
One of the solutions is “intelligent vehicles” that communicate with each other to avoid accidents that cause congestion and traffic jams in the first place. Other solutions to reduce traffic include “congestion taxes” in certain population centers in the area as well as “road taxes”. These taxes will be used to fund the infrastructure needed to make intelligent vehicles work.
An intelligent vehicle is one that communicates with others on the roadway. It shares basic info such as direction of travel and speed and allows the systems to warn each other of potential hazards. Alarms go off when such a hazard is detected to alert driver to potential problems to make decisions on how to avoid a collision. Further down the road there will be sensors on the roadways that collect data from numerous cars on the road to alert them of problems and alternate routes to avoid congestion or jams. Continue reading Sustainable future for the Auto in L.A.?