Thursday, November 11, 2010
Planes, Trains, Metro Rails, Walking, Automobiles, & Skycars?
Today, I embark on my journey home to Cumberland, MD from a fantastic stay in California or as I like to call it: "The Cannibis State." But getting home to Cumberland (about as far west in Maryland before you hit West Virginia) involves a little more than a ride from the airport.
I'll be using all forms of transportation in the next 24 hours. My dear mother will be driving me to LAX. From there I'll be flying Virgin America non-stop to Washington Dulles. From there I'll be driven by my pops to Dunn-Loring (a metro stop in Northern Virginia). From the metro I'll be commuting on light rail to Washington Union Station. I'm already tired just from thinking about my journey to come. From Union Station I'll hop on the Capital Limited Amtrak train to a station stop in Cumberland which is only a 5 minute walk to my house. I know who would thing Cumberland would have an Amtrak stop?
When you count all the logistics of getting me home it comes out to 2 car rides, 1 flight, 1 metro ride (with 1 transfer), 1 Amtrak ride, and then a walk home. Seven different vehicles from my legs to Virgin wings are required to get me door to door from Cali to Cumberland. Talk about ridiculousness for the 21st century.
This goes to the point I've been making for years now, it's time to start embracing new methods of transportation. We've all seen Minority Report or Back to the Future II where flying cars seem completly realistic and reasonable for future transportation.
Traveling in three dimensions is essentially what flying cars are all about. We've all been stuck in traffic on a rainy day on the interstate, being late, and mentally exhausted before you even get to work. Imagine instead, a computer flies you to work in a tenth of the time.
Crazy? Computers are what fly planes these days. The pilots are just glorified bus drivers their "in case shit," but if you look up the statistics the biggest reason planes crash is because of human error. HAL 9000 would back me up on this one. The question is who do you trust more, humans or computers?
I'll go with computers everytime. Sure they malfunction, overload, and do essentially fuck up from time to time. But, a computer would never drive drunk, have road rage, fall asleep at the wheel, or miss a stop sign. There could be no traffic whatsoever in this country of ours if we embraced the third dimension of the sky. Cars could travel in lanes one on top of the other at maximum speeds making the billions of man hours and dollars wasted in 2-D road traffic dissapear.
Humans fly in planes, helicopters, fighter jets, and other airbourne vehicles every day. And humans are the ones at the helm.
If you believe this idea is 100 years away take a look at moller.com. This is a company working on exaclty what I've been describing. It may still be a generation or two before we start moving airbourne as no new road infrastructure is being built currently (we've already taken up all the ground space their is to move cars).
Look at the product life-cycle of transportation: horses, canals, horse-drawn carraiges, railroads, horseless carriages (cars), planes, and more recently jets. It's not a stretch of the imagination that instead of making 7 transfers to get from point A to point B, one day I'll just hop in my skycar and fly all the way home.
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