Car charms

Op-Ed by Paul Wimsett

The interior the came with your car is just a place to start—you may want to customize it a bit, you know add your own touches. For many people this means more bohemian.

Perhaps a pair of dice or a pine tree hanging up from your rear-view window but no, that’s not enough. And some of you drivers go a whole lot further.

An example of charms are those made of silver and crystal. A silver charm has the advantage of making your interior look more expensive, but a crystal charm (or glass) may be too distracting. A simple cross is less ostentatious, but just try things out and see what works for you.

Some charms display wealth too much and do you really need diamond charms hanging from your car especially when you’re not there. You want to attract attention, thieves will certainly notice.

Common Cultural Charms:

There are several cultural charms out there, for instance if you’re Turkish charms to ward off the Evil Eye. What exactly is the Evil Eye? It goes back to Greek myth (Greece being a country next to Turkey) about the 6th century. It gives a glare to someone who is unaware they are being looked at, though what an Evil Eye can do to an individual is less clear. Wearing a charm or having one in your car is one way of avoiding it.

Seasonal Charms:

Some people decorate for their favorite seasons. You could hang Christmas decorations in there to give a seasonal feel, no doubt the odd individual chooses to keep the decorations up all year, despite most saying that this a bad luck symbol, each to his or her own.

Lucky Charms:

You may not see it as a charm, but some people hang a symbol of their baseball team, basketball ball team, or American football team up there. There are probably no end of symbols which people believe bring them luck, or as said before, make their cars more individualistic.

Should you wish to make your own charms you could do worse than check out craft websites, which repurpose feathers and old stones and crystals in its taste. One of the ideas located was a crocheted steering wheel cover, but that may be too individualistic for most.

Other Ideas:

Other ideas suggested are woolly car hangers made from macramé. Dreamcatchers, also known as the spider web charms, tend to be associated with Native American cultures; it is willow hoop hung with feathers and beads. Traditionally they were hung above cradles, but they can be positioned in cars too, usually in the back window.

If you pass your driving test there are special charms out there for your keyring. Or you can obtain a St Christopher figure, which is the patron saint of travelers. As with the charms in the car it may be more about making your keyring more personal to you than giving you any actual luck, but then again, who knows?

What Is The Car Etiquette?

People aren’t always sure of the etiquette in cars and sometimes they test the driver’s patience, or the driver tests the passengers’ patience. Here are some rules suggested from sites around the internet…

Generally Good Advice

  • You shouldn’t smoke or eat in another person’s car. (If you are the driver you shouldn’t eat or drink while you are driving.)
  • Do not keep giving the driver instruction from the back seat.
  • If you borrow someone else’s car make sure it is fully insured and then top off with gas before returning.
  • You should pay attention even when you are not in motion, the lights may change suddenly or the traffic in front may alter quickly.
  • It’s not a good idea to bang doors especially the trunk doors shut, just close them firmly. Speaking of doors, do not look into other people’s door compartments, it’s just nosy. Try to stay out of their glove compartment too.
  • Do not use the climate controls without the driver’s permission. Many of them don’t like you touching the radio or music system either.
  • You are allowed to move the seat but it’s best to move it back when you’ve finished the journey.
  • Another source of complaint for drivers is touching the windows or leaving trash lying around so make sure you clear up after yourself.

It’s sounding as if most drivers are temperamental, but drivers are ultimately responsible for what happens in a car and knowing expectations ahead of time will help keep the peace.

Who Gets Shotgun?

Let the lady or the most senior member of the party sit in the front seat. Other people suggest that the guest should have the first choice. After that you should offer them the seatbelt. Most people do try to open the door for a lady and close it for them.

Because of the amount of legroom, it is best for a pregnant woman to sit on the back seat, though other etiquette experts suggest a couple always have to sit together. This may be interpreted as saying that a couple always want to sit together, but this is not always the case. Ultimately it is up to the driver to decide.

Children shouldn’t be allowed to sit on the front seat until they are 13 years old. 8–10-year-olds need a booster seats though it is dependent on their size.

If you are in an Uber it is best to travel in the back as it helps you to exit quicker, you can use either door. It’s possible to sit in the front seat in Ubers, but don’t feel obliged to do so. Lyft often invite passengers to sit up front as a way of differentiating themselves from Uber, but the practicality of sitting in back often trumps that.

Rideshare Etiquette

Also, on the subject of Uber it’s hard to specify a female driver (presumably you can ask for one) for Uber and Lyft cars. With Safr you can.

Many people don’t know you can request more than one stop with Lyft or Uber by pressing the + sign after typing in the first destination. Remember though like a taxi waiting time will be added to the price of your journey.

A Couple Final Thoughts

If you are on the back seat with pets you should make sure they do not disturb the driver. There’s some logic here, no one wants the driver to lose control.

You should respect that sometimes the driver may need to concentrate at certain points in the journey and conversation needs to be kept to a minimum.

Most of this stuff is common sense, but maybe it’s worth reiterating as people forget. We are only human so give each other some grace.

TTC Electric buses

As with all Electric Vehicles Manufactured today, there are a number of electric bus innovations out there and they still come with pluses and minuses.

TTC Electric Bus

There is a market for these electric buses. The Toronto Transit Commission is participating in a new pilot program aimed at reducing carbon emissions by using electric buses for public transit, and the city of Gothenburg ordered 145 electric buses from Volvo.

The TTC is still trying to weigh the cost of the new busses verses the cost of fuel and despite the huge purchase Gothenburg still has 65% of their fleet traditional diesel buses.

The idea of Zero City sounds appealing but there is a long way to go. Okay zero emissions is appealing but zero noise may be a worry if you are a pedestrian. As referenced in the video below, drivers have to honk to notify pedestrians of the bus’s approach.

Pros:

A battery electric bus provides better acceleration than a diesel and can climb hills better than diesel vehicles, they also have less maintenance costs. Diesel vehicles are a contributor to air pollution.

Cons:

They can only run for 100 miles generally before they need for recharging 4-5 hours. Plus the whole, silently running over pedestrians thing.

According to Reuters the running costs appear to be better than diesel, but as mentioned above only urban buses can run on electric power.

Longer Range E-Buses

An example of a bus which is more effective than the regular electric bus is the Proterra, a 40 foot bus which can drive up to 329 miles on full charge. They have been producing electric buses for more than 10 years and their sales copy says that it is designed “for the rough terrain of the US.”

Electric buses have a surprisingly long history; the first electric bus was operating in 1807 between Victoria and Liverpool Street stations, which is a 22 mile journey. So, running out of battery wasn’t that much of a problem there.

Green Washing?

There seems to be various reports of a single bus to a single city, for example Gulfport, surely a token gesture. Electric buses shouldn’t be underestimated but why a single bus if they cost the same amount to run? One theory is that not all routes are compatible with the low range on an E-Bus.

A more eco-friendly idea is to make all school buses electric. It’s a positive change, but then why concentrate on school buses? Once again, it comes down to range limits. School busses generally have shorter routes.

CA E-School Bus

The state of California is due to get half its electricity from “renewable resources” so it seems logical that they should have electric buses too. The increase in heavy duty E-Vs (electric buses and trucks) means more industry jobs in assembly, which given the need for more employment is surely a vital necessity? However, many argue that the new jobs are really just traditional bus makers moving to make E-Busses and don’t represent an expansion of employment.

As well as looking at the fuel, the Columbia company (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_Transportation) reduced the height of the step, expanded the door space and made the entry ramp as flat as they could. They specialise in students commuting through the campuses of various US cities. This is a clever look outside the box at what can be done when the large diesel motor goes away.

Other Bus Controversies:

Tesla Cobalt Mine

It’s no use talking about the type of fuel a bus uses if you don’t mention a key controversy around buses—ridership. Empty buses running around hoping someone gets on represent waste no matter what powers them.

The city of Luxembourg has created another innovation: It is one of the first cities it’s size to become fare-free. It is not known as yet if it is a lone wolf or other cities will join it. This should increase ridership, and any idea that can counter pollution is probably a good idea, but where exactly does the financing come from? It looks like we shall have to wait and see.

Are EV’s Truly Environmentally Sound?

One of the more stylish e-buses is arguably the eCitaro G which runs on solid state batteries. Although they currently contain cobalt there are plans to phase this out, again for the sake of the environment.

Ecitaro G Bus

The process of extracting the materials to make batteries and the lack of a good way to recycle or dispose of worn-out batteries poses a serious threat to the soundness of any EV including E-Buses. At least E-Buses don’t require a massive infrastructure build to put powering stations everywhere there is fuel stations currently.

Additionally, renewable energy is an odd term. Technically dams run on water that’s renewable in places it rains, yet environmentalists aren’t happy about dams. Windmills kill birds, create noise pollution, cost more to produce electricity, require acres of land compared to other forms of generation and tend to wear out before they produce the amount of energy it took to make them.

However, environmentalist scientist’s express faith that these problems will one day have an answer. Faith…doesn’t sound like science. Only time (and billions of tax dollars) will tell the fate of E-Buses.

Passenger and Commuter Cars

Op-Ed By P. Wimsett

Does it matter if you commute in a passenger car or drive your family in a commuter car? Probably not, but we still have these distinctions.

Do commuter cars just exist for lonely single people who desire an extra mile per gallon in exchange for not being reminded that you don’t have a family to fill the rest of your vehicle. What happens if you neither commute nor have a family?

To complicate matters…

…All cars may have the description “passenger cars,” since all commercially produced cars these days can carry passengers. By that token, all cars are commuter cars since they are transportation after all. An alternative to the commuter car and the passenger car is the pleasure car, one used purely for weekends but it’s yet to catch on with the general public.

There are other ways to define cars – a minicompact, a compact and midsize, though a midsize vehicle can also describe pickups and vans.

The truth is it’s hard to market anything that’s all things to all people so it’s practical to put a primary use forward when describing your car to the marketplace—even if consumers don’t always use a certain car for that purpose.

Then the question is, is there a design difference between Commuter and Passenger Cars? Yes! But not a huge one. Passenger cars make a priority of seating capacity, with legroom, smoothness of ride and gas milage a bit behind in the design priority list.

So, what is a Good Commuter Car?

Dacia Duster

Now to commuter cars, you need a way of dealing with excess amount of traffic such as the infotainment system. The greater the size the greater fuel bills. Commuter cars tend to be vehicles such as a subcompact or coupe. There’s no reason to have a big car if you only use it to commute.

SEAT Terraco

Dacia Duster and Toyota Corolla are two examples of regular commuter cars. Electrical alternatives include the SEAT Terraco and the Audi 35 TFSH. If you have an especially long commute you need to look at air conditioning and possibly heated seats for your own sanity and maybe health. Look for a car noted for comfort, cruise control, wifi and hotspots, look at the Vauxhall Insignia or the Ford Focus which has eight engines and a strong EcoBlue color.

The Toyota Hybrid may not have the best hood, because it is a crossover, not a regular SUV.

Another Toyota, the Camry makes the most of not being a hybrid in terms of its four cylinders.

Can you do Both?

Sure, the Vauxhall Passat for example, has features you don’t automatically expect – those being the spacious seat area and the trunk. It’s a good all-rounder rather than purely a commuter car? Who said sorting out these cars was easy?

VW Jetta

The VW Jetta is a small sedan which offers a smooth ride with its supportive and stylish seats. Its selling point is that some people don’t like a hatchback. (The VW Golf has cornered the VW hatchback niche). According to Volkwagen’s own figures it has sold about 14 million units of this model since it was introduced in 1980.

The passenger and the commuter car owner want different things from their car. True there are more convenient ways of dividing the drivers; no one can convincingly say there are two types of driver.

In the end, it’s nice to have a primary function a car was designed around as a handy starting point when you start searching for a car.

Why The Car Industry Is So Vital

OP-ED By P. Wimsett

The building of cars is the number one industry in the US and other countries. This is why in a pandemic economy it has been protected by the government.

There’s more to it than that though. You need to able to travel to school or work. Then you have business conferences, expos and similar. Added to this, various aspects of the entertainment, travel & leisure industry/hotels, theaters and sports arenas…the list goes on and on. It’s all about people being at the right place when you need to be there. So, there is a definitely an argument to be made that transportation impacts ever other industry on some level.

But is domestic manufacture vital as an industry?

The History of American Car Making

The mass production of cars was famously begun by Henry Ford. He also created large plants or super factories as well as moving assembly line. This was the only way a Model T could be created every 24 seconds.

The superfactory infrastructure was also vital in getting the time down, having a glass factory and a steel mill as well as a number of other plants in the general vicinity. If you have to rely on deliveries the process breaks down.

There is an argument for assembling cars one at a time in a shed using parts (glass frames, radiators etc) but it would be very unlikely to make a profit. Some luxury sports cars are made this way. This business model relies on having a car ordered in advance of making it and these cars are by definition, luxury (not needed) meaning if they aren’t made the buyer can simply get a different car elsewhere.

If we’re only looking at vital cars, then we’re looking at affordable cars or vehicles built to a vital purpose like hauling goods to market. Affordable cars need to be mass produced not made to order. A modern car factory needs to work at 80% capacity just to break even. You also have the difficulty of maintaining working conditions in a small environment. So, a superfactory is better.

Well, this might be an exaggeration as it would be hard to visualize the big-name cars being “clinker-built.” It wouldn’t be safe, it wouldn’t be quick and it wouldn’t be economical. So, it could be said that the superfactory system is the only way.

As well as the factories you also need showrooms and forecourts (auto lots) as well as the annual motor-shows for the system to work. With motor-shows being cancelled (most notably the one in Detroit but there usually hundreds around the world) and car lot sales so restricted that sales in general are breaking down.

Detroit

To examine how vital the industry is, it is probably worthwhile to focus on the city of Detroit. What sort of city would it be without the Big Three-General Motors, Ford and Chrysler? And what would the US economy be without these three names? There are so many questions and because we are still living through it, so few answers as yet.

Although the Big Three are no longer the biggest names in car processing they are still big enough to the US economy to be protected.

So, this is where we are, in a non-industrialized state of limbo. For our own good this state of affairs cannot continue for that much longer. There is the health risk, true, but poverty in a country causes mental complications. How long can the US economy survive on handouts from the government, which is really barrowing against the future? No one knows, but it appears we’re going to find out.

A look at China and Cars

Op-Ed by P. Wimsett

These days you might see conspiracies everywhere you go, at least where China is concerned. However a closer look at car making in China presents an interesting conundrum. Although China has built up a reputation as the world’s factory (due to various tax exemptions and the ability to operate without too many rules and regulations) other countries have proved better in exporting cars. And China’s domestic market could be a lot better.

The question might not be why the Chinese car market is huge, but why isn’t it bigger?

Not that cars aren’t important of course, its just that other materials have been more important. It just has never been a priority for the country. Although 46.8% of China’s GDP is from manufacture, most of this is chemicals, steel, and cotton. The manufacture of cars goes way down the list. Typically, countries that make there own steel do well in the vehicle manufacturing arena.

When you consider the entrepreneurial spirit of countries such as the US and Japan it doesn’t come as that remarkable that these countries sell more cars. But China gives them a run for their money-or did until very recently.

Last July there were reports that the Chinese car industry was failing. In 2019 there were 21 million passenger vehicles created in the country whereas 2017 had 24 million cars (These figures are from the German Association of the Automotive Industry).

But as of now the country seems to have come through the Coronavirus and out the other side, its possible to view China car manufacturing as an investment.

It seemed that even without the virus, the Chinese car industry was in a bad way. It seems that car sales in China fell by 92% after that with only 811 vehicles produced per day. Even without the virus we wouldn’t exactly be singing China’s praises as far as the car market is concerned.

Names like Chang-an and Chery Automobiles haven’t fared that well in the Western world, where Japanese cars remain quite popular. In other words The “West” has no problem buying cars made in Japan or South Korea, but not China. The Chinese seem okay buying Western Cars so long as they are made in China, which was the case until Covid shut down several factories.

To look at one name in more detail, Ford’s sales in China fell 20%. Since a factory operating at 80% can only break even, Ford was forced to close factories temporarily.

We don’t really know how much of this is Covid related and how much was already in the works. The closures were treated as longer Lunar New Year holiday. There’s not that much good news at the moment.

The factories were not just manufacturing Chinese cars. In Wuhan there was a Nissan factory (which were founded in Japan) and one for Honda (also Japan) and Hyandai (South Korea). So, by China falling ill, other countries soon felt the pinch.

Maybe by looking into how the US and Japan operate, China can now take the advantage? When the lockdown is over, and people begin to take to their cars out more it will be a rush by all automakers to resume manufacture. China could focus on finding a competitive advantage for their designs.

Areas it might look into is creating lightweight designs with composite materials, possibly personalizing the design. Things must surely change for the Chinese market, there should be a way through. Granted, these times are unprecedented, so no one knows what is coming.

Autonomous Cars vs Driver Assistance in 2021

Op-Ed by Wimsett and A.R. Bunch

Swiss Semi-Autonomous Street Car

People are worried about sharing the road with autonomous cars, although there is a race by the car companies to create a level 5…

Level 5?

Every car has a level of autonomy. Level 5 is the highest.

Here is this list in full:

Level 0: This is a regular car with no autonomous features. The driver is in full capability – and full liability – of the car.

Level 1: Only one task is done autonomously, whether it is braking or so on. Otherwise the driver needs to be in charge. Presumably if anything goes wrong with the one thing being done autonomously, you need to take that over too.

Level 2: This car can handle more than one task, for example driver assist, braking and so on. This is being carried out by the big names such as Cadillac and Tesla. Unfortunately, it still isn’t considered self-driving as such, you need human intervention.

Level 3: This type of vehicle can only be driven autonomously if the conditions are correct. In emergencies, the car needs to switch to a regular car. Only the Audi A8 currently fits this description in the US.

Level 4: These show a massive difference from Level 3, they don’t require a driver. These at the moment cannot be purchased, they can’t drive in bad weather or at high speeds.

Level 5: Fully autonomous car and cannot switch off even for emergencies.

This technology relies on a number of sensors, but they need to be thorough. As hinted above there is a whole range of outside variables such as weather, traffic, road layout and so on. Either radar or laser can be used. But it is needs to be better in order to work on US roads.

The whole idea of autonomous cars is that comprehensive self-driving removes all the “driver error” but what of computer error? The theory is that even if a particular driver was able to outperform a computer driver, if every car on the road were computer driven, we’d have fewer accidents. The bad drivers wouldn’t be wracking up wrecks and the computers would learn to avoid each other by driving in a predictable manor.

Right now, at level 1, 2, and 3 the most effective use of autonomous driving capability is to reduce driver fatigue. In a way, these systems are just sophisticated versions of cruise control. Driver assists like emergency breaking, etc. aren’t controversial and don’t require a huge outlay of federal highway dollars to build infrastructure in order to enable them to operate “autonomously.” So how long before we’re banned from driving our own cars? Maybe we at the kicker will hazard a guess when car makers actually create the first level 5 car.

80’s Cars vs Todays Cars

From the UK desk

In the 80s a number of station wagon were introduced and before the introduction of Coupes and Sedans. The number of strikes in the 80s meant it was a tough time for car factories.

A car which had the power of the Acura is unknown these days. In the late 80s they were considered pretty cool with 118 hp.

The Audi Quattro was truly iconic with five turbocharged cylinders. These hatchbacks took the world rallies by storm. Sadly, not many of them made their way across to the US; most of the cars were rather neutral in comparison. Despite some strong contenders’ acceleration wasn’t as good as today’s vehicles.

Vehicle that did make it across the pond include the Pontiac Firebird and the Ford Mustang GT. The price however has fallen down in recent years due to lack of parts. Who’d have thought red convertibles would go out of style, but everything has its period of glory.

As Chrysler merged with Maserati the Chrysler TC was born. The Chrysler company has created a number of improved vehicles since. They did have a 5-year warranty, including maintenance. In 1987 Chrysler purchased another big player: AMC.

Look at the Dodge Daytona with its dipping headlights. Again, the lack of horsepower let it down.

Although these cars may not yet be known as classic, they show their age.

You could adapt these cars to get a better horsepower but then you’d lose something of the essential flavor of these vehicles.

Too Many Cars or Too Few?

Op-Ed by P. Wimsett and A.R. Bunch

Obviously, there is political pressure discouraging everyone from driving their cars, but is it really going to work? Has it already worked? Or is the answer to simply make cars more environmentally friendly? Do the powers that be want us to buy more cars or less? These are some of the questions we’ll look at today.

Carbon emission problems are discouraging folks from driving yet the need for domestic manufacturing jobs means it shouldn’t affect people’s car buying habits. The answer could be electric cars—that seems to be what car manufacturers are planning to do in response to the situation. The environment seems to be leading car production decisions.

Gridlock & Congestion

One issue with simply reducing vehicle carbon emissions is that it doesn’t eliminate gridlock. Unlike traffic jams, which result from accidents or construction, gridlock is that annoying traffic slowdown created by having too many commuters on the road at the same time. Gridlock is named for the grid pattern of city streets where efforts to coordinate traffic flow breaks down when capacity is reached. Clearly, your city doesn’t need a good grid-like layout in order to have gridlock—London and Rome manage to lockup pretty well and their streets meander about in every direction, seemingly at random.

People dislike gridlock but it doesn’t seem to detour them from going out at the prime times of the day when everyone else wants to go out–commuters for instance. Most people start and end work about same time as each other, which creates high demand. The laws of fluid dynamics come into play and suddenly congestion slows you down.

We reference fluid dynamics because that’s truly what governs traffic flow. It’s worth noting that gridlock and congestion don’t occur when traffic stops, they’re already happening when traffic goes under the posted speed. The simple act of having too much traffic causes the roadways to reduce capacity for throughput. Think of it in terms of supply and demand. Since supply can’t increase to meet demand, the price goes up. What are we paying the price with? Not dollars but time. Time is more precious than gold because when it’s spent, it’s gone forever.

Avoiding Gridlock

If you avoid the busy periods like rush hours you can avoid some of the gridlock.

Another way is to use public transport, although it cannot go exactly where the commuter wants to go and runs on it’s own schedule, and let’s face it, services are often delayed or interrupted. Even a gridlocked road may get you to your place of work quicker than public transport. So if you have a problem paying a lot of time to gridlock you may pay just as much for mass transit.

Peak Car

Traffic seems to be shrinking since 2007, also known as “peak car.” (Peak Car is a term that came from Peak Oil, or the theory that oil will become too hard to pull out of the ground, and at some point, no longer be cost effective.)

We know empirically that there are fewer cars on the roads because traffic cameras count the number of cars on high volume roads. But why? The population as a whole has continued to grow.

One possibility is demand reduction people are moving out of cities to rural places that don’t suffer congestion. We’ll return to demand in a minute. Another possible reason would be people using mass transit, but we also know the ridership levels and while they’re on the rise it’s not enough to account for reduced traffic.

Car Prices

The key way to tell if we’re truly diving less or if it just people not using high traffic roads (where they’d get counted), is if people are buying fewer cars. If we really had a peak car situation then you’d see people avoiding new cars in favor of cheap and plentiful used cars. And that has been a trend since 2016.

But as with everything in this article, Peak Car isn’t the only explanation for people buying used over new. As cars become too expensive, drivers are opting to share a vehicle or find an alternate way to get to work. It especially affects the supercar market but even names like General Motors are decreasing in new car sales.

Automakers are trying to respond to car prices by including high class extras, but the customer still needs to be able to afford these extras. Another possible way to counter the “too expensive” issue some auto makers are trying is to make cars less luxurious, cutting corners but not compromising safety.

This may be linked to the bad economy and people using public transit; however, affordability might not be the reason new car sales are down.

Demand Issues

There are demand issues. The baby-boomers are starting to not be able to drive. More people are working from home and the unemployed don’t need to commute to work. The digital age means people don’t need to drive to go shopping.

A big reason both road use and car buying are down is that millennials just don’t seem to want to buy cars, or even get a licence. In 2008 less than half of eligible drivers had a license when in 1998 two thirds of the population used did.

Is the car no longer a status symbol? It seems to be the case with young people and the trend continues: 26% of US 16 years old had a license in 2017. However, many Americans love having a car, even millennials. Vehicle registrations did go up in 2018.

There are a number of factors which affect car buying, not just finances. Some people think the reduction of cars is cyclical; others think it may be more permanent. This is why e-scooters, e-bikes and mini-motos are trying to gain a foothold.

“Research and forecast firms Cox Automotive, Edmunds and J.D. Power/LMC Automotive expect sales declined about 1% last year to roughly 17 million vehicles compared with 2018. Such results are considered healthy but would mark the lowest sales since 16.5 million vehicles in 2014.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/02/americans-bought-fewer-new-vehicles-in-2019-but-spending-to-hit-record.html

Despite research into this field, no one exactly knows what the future holds regarding the car economy.

The Future of Commuting Based on Current Trends:

The way things are going seems to be moving towards self-driving technology and electronic technology and we are moving into SUV, crossovers, and trucks. The kind of car to get away from the crowd, not the urban dweller.

What about taxis and Ubers? 95% of all trips will be made by taxis by 2030. This could be a piece of the answer, if not the whole, no matter what forces are driving the problem. It resolves the gridlock issue and affordability issue, and even the environmental issue. People are using Uber and Lyft – $20,000 a year and many people feel they won’t go back to a private car. Didi, a Chinese version of this kind of service took 10 million.

When we combine the trend toward larger off road vehicle purchases with the increase in rideshare usage the trend is easy to predict—people in cities will increasingly avoid owning a car and people in rural areas will insist on having them so they can “get away.”

Roads in 2030

Will 2030 roads be totally different from those of 2020? More likely than not, no; but here are some of the ideas that futurologists are speculating about, given that every year vehicles will grow by 3% up to 2030 and beyond.

The US has the world’s biggest and largest roadways, with 4.3 million km of paved roads and 2.28 million km of unpaved roads, according to government figures. Uber may at the moment be looking at flying cars, but this seems to be a pipe dream; in 2030 cars will still be confined to the roads.

Predictions

  • A way of communicating with vehicles, so that you know how the lanes are managed, which ones are busy, which ones are closed and so on.
  • In a similar way all road users can operate safely with the bad moves anticipated, though it is still possible to break the rules of the road.
  • The surface of the road will be designed to help the environment, giving it a low carbon use. Electric vehicles can be charged by the roadside. Bike lanes will have their lighting system through LEDs.
  • With 60% of the population living in cities there is an argument for using shared spaces, known as “Tripanel.” How we use the roads will be integrated. Many people believe the way we use the city is wrong–we should be more flexible and open.
  • Companies like Daimler are looking for self-driving trucks in 2030, but this has been in the planning stage since 2014. Many countries such as Denmark are planning to flood the market with electric cars.
  • The numbers of electric cars on the roads can only improve-at the moment it’s only 1% of cars which are electric. By 2025 GM will add another 25 different models to their portfolio, at least according to the Houston Chronicle. During the same period Ford is planning 13 electric models.
  • Apple, Dyson and Google are also planning to dominate the car market, though it is unlikely that they will take over from the more conventional names, even the car of the future will become more tech-savvy.
  • Gas stations may go out of business a number of years after 2030 as we start to use chargers instead, which may be found in such places as fast food places and hotels. It’s likely that net-zero emissions will soon be possible. Another plus for this is size: the charger takes up far less space than a gas pump. It’s not just electric though, some cars will run off sugar beet or flax, though these are not likely to be available at the pump!
  • There will be intelligent transport solutions where all the vehicles will move at the same speed to remove gridlock. However, it is believed that only city roads and the huge freeways will change, with the more rural roads you will have to rely on your natural driving ability. You may also have your new tech to help you in this situation though, which may be helpful.