Path to better quality of life could be slow road … or not

I have my own ideas on what would make an ideal city: Subsurface plus grade level and above-ground transportation corridors and living. Personally, I think such an idea is neither too outlandish nor too far-fetched. “Outlandish”: now there’s an interesting-sounding word.

Bike-diamond-lane[1]Thinking the ideal city is probably not going to happen anytime soon, the next thought that pops into my head is how to take what is already in place and make such better.

In this regard there is no shortage of ideas being floated, let me tell you. While there are some that passed the smell test, others have been shelved or even dismissed.

Thinking about this more I would have to think that quality-of-life improvement is the central tenet of any and all ideas presently being put forward. Something else to consider: population is on the move (and meant in more than one way, mind you): I’m talking growth- and mobility-wise, in other words.

The trick is to grow and not be stifled in the process. Growing smartly or smart growth is what I’m talkin’ about. In the U.S. our highways have a congestion rate of 42 percent, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Looked at oppositely, that’s only a 58 percent non-constrained or unconstrained rate. In the classroom, to any pedagogue, performance like that is unacceptable. However a person looks at this, we could and should be doing better.

Another concept that applies here is, in this case, referred to as: testing the waters.

There is no doubt in my mind there is a wealth of good ideas out there, one of which is actually getting attention and is coming into favor even if only slowly. What I’m alluding to here is the usage of piezo-electric transducers which takes mechanical energy (pressure) and turns it into electrical energy. The reason I know about this at all is because I, in fact, was one to test these very waters years ago – in the late 1980s as a matter of fact. But, in this regard, I got what I believe was less than a warm reception because that was pretty much where things in this regard stood, most likely due to domestic energy supply at the time being abundant. But oh how times have changed!

Transportation platform

On the transportation front there are all manner of inventions at different stages of development. Ideas like autonomous automobiles – self-driven cars, if you prefer. Some of the latest rail-based endeavors, meanwhile, are being advanced incorporating such principles as atmospheric-, passive-magnetic-levitation- and electric-motor-propulsion, endeavors with very unusual-sounding but highly imaginative and inventive monikers like VECTORR™, skyTran™ and CyberTran, respectively. And there are others, any one of which has the potential to revolutionize ground-based transportation.

It just so happens in a new book: “The Departure Track: Railways of Tomorrow,” I have written at some length about CyberTran, skyTran™ and VECTORR™ and, in that order by the way, any and all of which could help clean the air.

Reaching for the stars

Oh, and lest I forget, there are some aviation-based designs that are giving the more traditional ones a run for their money.

The big picture

I would wager that what is presently available in the world today innovations-wise is not as good as it is going to get. Promising and better creations are on the horizon. But, please, don’t just take my word for it.

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Bottom image: NASA

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