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Trends Taking Off in the Transportation Industry

High-Speed Rail

Photo credit: Zhang Yining.

Trends Evolving the Transportation Industry

The transportation industry is one that is constantly evolving. Every year new vehicle models are being released and engineers are developing new effective upgrades. Current trends are contributing to more ideas to improve transportation and provide what the market needs. This article will review several trends that are picking up speed in the transportation industry.

Who’s Behind the Wheel?

Google is definitely on track with future trends. They have designed and are testing a driverless car. Companies have been dabbling with driverless vehicles for some time, but now this once far-fetched idea may become reality. The driverless car technology has the potential to save millions from death or injury and eliminate billions of costs. Google developer’s estimate that driverless car will help to reduce traffic accidents by 90% and wasted commute time and energy by 90%. They also say that it will lower the number of cars by 90%.

These driverless cars are covered in sensors, so that the car is literally aware of what is surrounding it. Chris Urmson is the leader of Google’s driverless car project and he has incorporated over $100,000 of extra technology. The Google engineers have to drive each route as the driver would, before it can be imputed into the car’s GPS, thus giving the car the most accurate route information. Some limitations include heavy rain and snow-covered roads, because the shape of the world changes. Engineers are constantly working on having the cars encountering “rare events” and other weather conditions.

Trends that Influence Mass Transit

  • Population increase: With more people living within the United States, an estimated 341 million residents by 2020, large metropolitan transportation services are adapting to meet their needs. More people are traveling into the city, so providing buses and trains to bring them in is essential. With all of these people adding more cars on the road and with tight budgets resulting in no new roads, public transportation is the answer.
  • New generational shift: The newest generation entering the workforce seems to be more inclined to using public transit systems. Some researchers point to economic need and the result of student loan debts that drive this generation to the transit systems. Others say that it is a lifestyle choice that they want to live in areas that are walkable, bikeable and that are transit oriented.
  • Continued climb in poverty rates: Public transportation systems provide an affordable option for those on a budget, especially with climbing gas prices. A challenge moving forward for cities is going to be providing enough transportation to get these people to their jobs.
  • More people are eco-conscious: People nowadays are practicing more sustainable and eco-friendly living. These people are taking more steps to increase these practices than they did three years ago. People are looking for transportation options that are more eco-friendly, such as car pooling, taking a bus or a train to cut down on fuel emissions. This will eventually lead to sustainable transportation systems that help attract and retain residents.

Trends in Process

  • Electric cars: Electric and hybrid cars are becoming more popular with consumers, especially the hybrid models. With more people becoming eco-conscious, electric vehicles are great vehicle options that embrace that lifestyle. While they are not completely mainstream these trends predict that it will become more popular with the everyday consumer.
  • Commercial space flight: Virgin Galactic flew a prototype of their commercial spacecraft in 2010 and said commercial flights could begin as early as the next year. The company is also working on developing orbital spacecraft. These new steps into space transportation that are being spurred by government contracts to supply the International Space Station, the only way to go is up.
  • High speed rail network: Currently, China has the longest high speed rail network in the world that stretches 4,400 miles. They are planning to double that amount by 2020. The high speed rail system has revolutionized business and creates a more environmentally friendly transportation option that doesn’t take forever. China is the trendsetter is making this rail system work in their country both politically and technically.

Posted on April 17th, 2013 in Corporate Travel & Advice.

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