In 2016 Wired magazine had several excellent articles on the future of transportation. The move towards electric vehicles (EV), automation, and the sharing economy is extremely interesting to watch as the major automakers figure out how to keep selling millions of cars when most millennials don’t care about owning one. And as we examine the overall automobile transportation sector it is filled with waste (our Lean armies should be having a field day with all the opportunities).
The majority of cars are only used about 5% of the time, the rest of the time they sit. In addition, urbanization is increasing which make it even more difficult to own and keep a vehicle (have you ever priced a parking space in NYC before?). Also, the work to innovate how we travel is being examined and innovated upon.
The days of sitting in traffic for hours will be gone. Most of us will be using autonomous vehicles or advanced forms of public transportation. The massive parking lots, highways, and other large tracts of land currently devoted to automobiles will be changed to parks, gardens, and other more beneficial uses for people. The thousands killed every year in accidents will be eliminated.
As I was driving from southern to northern California the other day, the amount of cars with only one person and the bumper-to-bumper traffic reinforced the need for change. Not just to be more efficient, but also to reduce emissions, and find another area in our lives to reduce waste. Not to mention the thousands of possible lives saved from accidents.
It might be hard to envision our highways going away and new methods of travel in our future. However, the changing lifestyles of millennials will dictate new and improved ways to get around. The unlimited number of innovations within transportation and associated compliments will truly transform major cities and possibly improve our lives in ways we cannot even fathom. It will be a lot of fun to see what is coming down the road, next! The big automakers better be on their toes and accept the future of new business models.