Reimagining the road of the future, will improve on current road space efficiency.
The M1 motorway in the Uk now carries ten times the daily traffic, that it was originally designed for.
The M1is Britain’s oldest motorway, and was opened in 1959.
For those unfamiliar with the term ‘motorway’, it is similar to the autobahn, autostrada, highway etc in other countries.
The motorway is a multi lane, high speed road, with barriers separating the two opposing directions.
The Problem with Motorways Today
In many countries, such as the Uk, the popularity of the car as a mode of transport, has put pressure demands on the motorway networks.
The are are three ways to tackle the increased congestion:
- Restrict the public’s access to cars and other non business vehicles.
- Build more physical road infrastructure.
- Make better use of existing road ‘real estate’, though new technologies.
This article is mainly focused on the third option, of making better use of what we already have built.
Firstly however, lets look at what is wrong with option 1, restricting public access to using private not business vehicles on the road.
Restricting the use of motor vehicles by the general public would be a controversial move.
Some environmental groups, such as Greenpeace & Extinction Rebellion might welcome it.
However the majority of the public would become angered.
An annoyed public poses two problems for a countries leaders.
Firstly, some communities have poor transport alternatives to the private motor vehicle.
This could be due to the lack of bus and train services.
This could prevent some people being able to continue in their jobs, and therefore pay tax to the state.
The second issue, is related to politics.
Introducing a policy that restricts potential voters access to using their cars, could be a foolish move politically.
This is especially true near election time.
If governments tried to restrict car use, then how would they achieve their objective.
Some countries like Greece and India, have tried to control pollution on bad air quality days, by vehicle registration number.
For example only cars with either an odd, or alternatively an even number at the start of their vehicle registration plate, can drive on that particular day.
This approach potentially causes problems for people getting to work.
Though the approach potentially encourages car sharing with colleagues and neighbours.
Another approach to reducing car transport is to only allow ‘Green’ vehicles on particular roads.
Central areas of cities such as London, now have low emission zones, where only green vehicles, such as electric, are allowed.
Some cities alternatively do allow older more polluting vehicles on certain roads, but with a high ‘congestion charge’.
The congestion charge makes it expensive for more polluting vehicles to use the roads.
This unfortunately is an unintended form of discrimination against mainly poorer people, with older cars.
Basically its mainly the poorer, that end up paying more to drive.
Option two from my list is to build more physical road infrastructure.
First lets look at the advantages of building more roads:
Building more roads creates construction jobs, and the workers pay taxes, and buy things from businesses, such as televisions and mobile (cell) phones.
Initially cars can flow easier, as there are more roads. Though as the M25 around London proves, they soon become very popular and congested.
The sensible solution therefore would be option three, namely to make better use of existing infrastructure.
I have imagined a few improvements that can be made to the existing road system.
One imagination, is an integrated system between road and rail.
The system would use an app on your smart phone, to enter your destination.
The app would work in a similar way to Google directions at present.
But rather than the app giving you directions via smartphone voice and maps, it would tell your driverless car where to go.
The driverless car would then take the shortest route to your destination.
The system is integrated with the railway system, and vehicles automatically drive on and off special ‘flatbed’ trains.
I have made a video on youtube, which further explains the concept.
This article will be expanded and continued on a regular basis, as time permits. So keep coming back, or subscribe.