As a future urban planner, there are many aspects of city planning that interests me greatly. One of those aspects is transportation. Throughout history, you can see how many different modes of transportation have been used and the direct effect these have had on the economy and the citizens. When railway technology took over the east coast, people swarmed to these areas due to the sheer economic development that came along with this fairly simple way of traveling. After World War II, however, things took a turn for what I believe is the worst. Traveling by car became the number one method of travel, which still holds true to this day. Major cities became blighted and people that relocated to the suburbs were separated from everything.
In the United States, around 86% of people rely on private vehicles to commute to work and other places. While car ownership has been declining nationwide, it’s still at a staggering 91%. This overdependence on cars leaves our roads and highways overcrowded, dilapidated, and just overall inefficient. In Contemporary Urban Planning, John M Levy states that postwar suburbanization and the increase in car ownership were complementary phenomena. Widespread automobile ownership facilitates suburbanization and on the other hand, moving from the city to suburbs increases one’s need for an automobile. This has caused the U.S to suffer when it comes to public transportation.
Transportation and overall infrastructure in the U.S need a major overhaul. Due to the overdependence on cars, people felt no need to use transportation systems and unless you live in a major city like New York, you won’t receive a decent rail system. Many systems in place fail to provide a safe method of travel for people. Over the past couple of years, there have been numerous train derailments which have led to multiple fatalities. As the years’ progress, however, we see more technology being innovated that can change transportation for the better.
Even though a lot of issues need to be tackled when it comes to implementing a new robust nationwide transportation system, I am incredibly excited for what the future holds. Elon Musk has been one of the biggest proponents of new methods of travel. His plan, the Hyperloop System, will completely revolutionize transportation in the U.S. With this new system, users will travel around not by rail, but by tubes. This new concept would be able to move passengers from city to city, state to state, or even country to country at a fraction of the cost of air travel.
While it might be a while before this is steadily available in throughout the country, I feel that the Hyperloop system is what transportation should aim to be like in the future. Imagine being able to live in New York and getting to Los Angeles in less than hours. With the Hyperloop system, this is possible. I imagine a future where stations are spread out throughout the states and users can simply hop on and travel with no worries.