Moving Beyond the Automobile

What does the future of transportation hold?

Will electric, autonomous vehicles ferry us around mindlessly and efficiently in isolated pods? Will we conquer the fifth mode of transportation, the hyperloop, connecting cities like Montreal and Toronto in minutes, rather than hours? Will Elon Musk’s vision of high-speed, underground freeway networks see most urban travel moved underground?

The future of transportation is uncertain, and yet most of today’s visions share a common theme – that new, advanced technology will improve our lives through more efficient travel.

These visions fail to acknowledge a key element, however: travel is innately human. It connects us to our cities and neighbourhoods, and creates opportunities for serendipity. For the past century, our planners have favored a technology-based approach, with a movement away from human forms of travel. Cycling was renounced as an antiquated form of travel, and pedestrians were shamed for crossing streets mid-block. Highways were built, sprawling suburbs and drive-thrus were designed, and as a result, much of the humanity of travel has been lost. Most of today’s travel is experienced through a windshield, eliminating most opportunity for those valuable interactions with our neighbours and fellow citizens.

The automobile has certainly advanced our society, but at what cost?

It’s time to start thinking beyond the automobile, and return to human-based travel. Imagining the future of transportation isn’t just about moving forward, it’s about looking back, and realizing that many of the solutions we seek to today’s mobility problems are written in history.

Celebrating and embracing the beauty of cycling is my journey, this blog is my canvas, and you are my audience. Thanks for giving my ideas a purpose.


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