Daily Dose of 2050 Public Transport

Another area I feel strongly about is that trains are too beloved amongst urbanites. I think what irks me is that trains are synonymous with good public transportation. I think that is correlation not causation.

Sadly, in the United States we are not dense enough, nor does the current state of technology, make sense to increase our rail infrastructure. What will public transport look like in the future?

I imagine there will be more trains just because people want them. However I think the real innovation will be limiting single passanger cars on city streets. Creating more dedicated bus/multi person vehicle lanes.

I live in Austin, TX. I would propose we could do two immediate things to sort out public transportation. Every single road greater than two lanes, one lane should be solely dedicated to buses. We should implement a tax on gasoline or on car registration for everyone inside the city limits of Austin, to significantly increase the quantity of buses.

I think those two measure paired together could make major changes to masstransportation and are far more cost effective than adding more train lines. However, it’s much less sexy!

What I actually think the future might be like, probably more roads, wider roads, and more single occupancy vehicles. I do think that autonomous vehicles will allow us to reduce street parking significantly in cities. This will increase throughput, but only marginally.

The only true way to fix congestion in major cities is to use the existing street infrastructure and either limit or make very expensive single occupancy vehicles. I’m ok with this becuase the current issue we have is that traffic is tragedy of the commons. By driving we create traffic, but when we don’t drive we don’t benefit from reducing congestion. Subsidizing public transport helps drivers, since they experience less congestion. However, they need to pay the cost to subsidize those who commute on less convenient public transport.

Written on July 14, 2020