the future of transportation?

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Last week I attended a live online chat put on by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). The topic was “The Future of Transportation” and the chat’s leaders were RMI experts Greg Rucks and Robert Hutchinson. RMI is one of the most forward-thinking organizations around, and the discussion brought up lots of food for thought about how we’ll be getting from place to place in the future.

One questioner asked whether the transportation world’s focus should be on more efficient vehicles, or on getting people to drive less. “Both!” Greg Rucks replied. He dismissed talk about fuel-efficiency possibly driving up vehicle usage, calling the effect “very limited.” 

Much of the chat centered on vehicle design and construction, but some of it related more to the built environment, a topic dear to the hearts of our readers. As a devoted bus commuter, I found one question about high-performance bus systems, with dedicated lanes, wifi, and more elaborate stations, to be particularly intriguing. Answered Robert Hutchinson: “We like that approach a lot… partly because it is FAR more space efficient for the roads, reducing transit time and idling, saving more fuel than just the avoided trip for the rider.”

Check out a replay of the chat here.—m.d.



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