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Tipping Point in Transit

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A view of the future of transportation.

Many academics and professionals in the transportation sector believe the world is approaching a tipping point in transit technology.

Credit: Bob Scott

Many in academia and the transit industry believe the world is on the cusp of a tipping point in transit technology.

M. Bart Herring, head of product management at Mercedes-Benz USA, says, "Cars and transportation will change more in the next 20 years than they've changed in the last 75 years."

However, these changes may not come in the form many expect. When people think of the future of transportation, they envision automated vehicles, but most experts say such technology is at least a decade away, and even then could be too expensive for practical use on a wide scale. Experts say what is more likely in the near term is the proliferation of semi-autonomous technologies that can do some of the driving for people and help to dramatically reduce the risk of accidents.

Changes in car technology will accompany the spread of services that enable people to get a car ride on demand or request private bus services. Meanwhile, smart transportation technologies spreading throughout the transportation infrastructure will help to make transit more efficient and timely.

However, these changes might not all be positive, creating the potential for new kinds of accidents and providing benefit only to the wealthier classes.

From The New York Times
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Abstracts Copyright © 2015 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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