Somewhere In Between: the possible future of city transportation

transportation |ˌtranspərˈtā sh ən|: noun, the action of transporting someone or something or the process of being transported: the era of global mass transportation.

Today’s major cities are economically wealthy, culturally unique and socially desirable. Through Urban expansion and continued population growth, these cities play a crucial role in how they prepare and shape themselves as a future metropolis, thus adapting to an environmentally conscious society and an ever-growing population.

In the words of Le Corbusier, ‘The City is a Machine for Living’; it must continue to move so as to accommodate its inevitable growth and its unique liveliness. Of all the various infrastructures that make up any city, the transportation network is one of the most important, dominating and demanding systems. Transportation literally drives the city and thus helps to maintain its daily activities. It enables economic growth, social and cultural activities and urban expansion. The transportation network, may it be vehicular or rail, effectively divides the city and its urban hubs. In most cases, it controls how pedestrians move around the city - How future transportation systems interact with pedestrian movement is crucial in creating a sustainable and safe city environment. The fast-paced movement of people, products and information are what make up today’s modern city and its connectivity within its region and the world. The ongoing notions of sustainability and population growth are some of the factors in which we must rethink our transportation system so as to meet the needs of the future city and the people who live there. Major steps have been taken to establish new sustainable means of getting around; such as the ‘hybrid car’ of which has not yet overtaken the current type of vehicles we use today.

What can we expect the transportation system of the future to look like? How can we adapt our current habits into a new system that not only meets our demands but also caters to the betterment of our environment and daily needs?

The future of transportation should predominately be the use of a public transport system; therefore enabling it to be accessible by all and reducing harmful effects to the natural environment. Not only can this be shared transport but also a multi-use transport network. As people tend to accomplish small tasks through their daily use of the current smart phone, in turn, daily activities can be combined as one travels from home to work whilst completing business ventures or enjoy family gatherings as they travel to a dinner party far from home. As such, this new transportation system would be strategically designed to not interrupt pedestrian activity and public spaces, thus maintaining a safe-way of moving through a busy city. As futuristic as it may be, this new transportation network of future cities could be elevated, maintaining a safe and clean environment for people to move on the ground beneath the mesh of continuous travel. The ground can be maintained as a purely natural, safe-haven for pedestrians as they move through the city by foot, bicycle or other means of light, sustainable transport - This space is to be solely used as a sustainable public space with a controlled natural environment. The elevated transport network above, from building to building, would continue to serve similarly to the current street network today thus maintaining the movement of people and products in a timely manner, eliminating the chances of any accidents that usually occur on today’s roads. The new, elevated transportation system would be set to the height of buildings at various levels creating a smooth and convenient system enabling residents to move directly from home to other points of interest in a timely and reliable manner. This would also enable the effective use of time in emergency response vehicles such as ambulances and police to maintain the safety of populated cities. The overall system can consist of shared shuttle-like compartments that move along a strip from one point to the next through out the entire city. These compartments can vary in size and shape depending on the type of use that is needed as one moves from one location to another. The moving strips can either take over the side of a building or penetrate through several towers as they connect major hubs of the city. A separate highway-like strip can be set a distance of the inner-city network for the need of speedy travel and the movement of larger goods.

The future of transportation is towards a shared, sustainable and dependable transport system. This, in time, would be available and accepted, economically and culturally for the betterment of our natural, social and economic environments. The future of transportation networks should be unquestionably sustainable, safe, reliable and available to all.

Hannah Allawi 2013