Transport & geography — literal landscape changes

Similarly to “legal” I believe this category to also be one where a lot of change is required.

Mercedes’ Future City video as well the transformation from horse-drawn carriages to cars hint at how structural these changes are going to. From a high perspective we have to consider whether the roads as we know them today will have the same function in the future. Before the car came along roads were social gathering places and playgrounds for children. After the car’s introduction it was incrementally prioritized over all other road participants until roads became “transportation arteries” and new infrastructure was built to provide room for the activities previously conducted on roads (such as playground for children). Although I am never sure how much can interpreted into such videos, the Mercedes clip from above hints at a few interesting developments.

The separation between people and cars is blurring

Today it is quite clear where people and where cars belong. Two prominent example are sidewalks and city centres. Both places were cars have limited to no access. On the left picture below we can see how cars are somewhat treated like pedestrians and the right image shows cars casually driving through what appears to be a city centry. Today’s traffic rules rather order people to stay on the side of the road and cars are mostly prohibited from driving inside cities centres.

Cars and pedestrians sharing traditional “people only” areas (Source)

Less infrastructure due to BYOI (bring your own infrastructure)

The two pictures above already show it to some extend but the image below where the car projects a crosswalk onto the streets brings into attention that Mercedes’ city of the future hardly has any infrastructure protecting pedestrians or regulating traffic flows (e. g. traffic sign or lights). 

Transport & geography is on people’s agenda according to (Markus Maurer, 2016).

Yet another angel to consider is what will happen to all the “recreational and relaxation” infrastructure alongside roads when recreational and relaxation time will increasingly be spend inside the car. For example, by sleeping while the car is driving the need for motels can be expected to drop. In this case motels have “agree” with the ACs diffusion, meaning that they must not fight production even if that would entail losing business.

History has two analogies for that. Firstly, when the first cars started diffusing it where local residents who protested (verbally but also by blocking roads) against the car’s diffusion because it was killing people as well as their livestock. Secondly, motels actually emerged only because of cars being increasingly used for recreational travel.

For me, the second example also justifies to assume that we will have new types of ecosystem participants arising out of ACs’ diffusion.

If we further consider that cars could park further away from their owners we could expect the cities to experience quite the change (parking houses will move out, new living space could be created possibly leading to overcrowding of cities…)

Provided that we will have a mixed mode of operation (AC + MC), new roads such as AC-only (in analogy to “car pool lanes”) will be created. Further, traditional roads such as Route 66 could become a “national treasure” or turn into recreational roads which you use only for “driving as an experience”.

TBD

  • the change of whole cities
  • decentralized car selling. In this decentralized car selling the cars consumers want to purchase will come to them instead of them, the consumers, visiting dealer ships. → no dealerships in cars → issues w/ dealers [2] As explained by the automotive expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer in his (german) book Wer kriegt die Kurve?