The streets of London have been getting some serious makeovers. Select popular boulevards are now energy-harvesting, which are not only high-tech, but also sustainable. To further counter traffic and lower carbon emissions, London mayor Sadiq Kahn is pedestrianizing shopping capital Oxford Street.
“Oxford Street is world famous with millions of visitors every year, and in just over a year the iconic part of the street west of Oxford Circus could be transformed into a traffic-free pedestrian boulevard.”
With over 500,000 visitors daily, Oxford Street is a breeding ground for potential vehicular accidents. (One every week, to be specific) Renovations will also allow easier access to the Elizabeth Line. The project will likely be rewarding — but at a cost of £60 million and years of remodeling.
The western section is due to finish by the end of 2018, with the eastern section between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road going traffic free by December 2019. The final part, by Marble Arch, will then be turned over to pedestrians after 2020.
Without the hazard of passing vehicles, Oxford Street may be double the hot spot it is today.
Flying cars may not yet be a reality, but if bridges can sail rivers, can’t be too far behind. Picking up the pace are Uber and NASA, which plan to test their flying vehicles as early as 2020.
Uber is looking to speed development of a new industry of electric, on-demand, urban air taxis, [Chief Product Officer] Holden said, which customers could order up via smartphone in ways that parallel the ground-based taxi alternatives.
Much like a regular Uber, the airborne taxi will hold up to 4 passengers. It will also run at 200 miles an hour — perfect for traffic congested cities. NASA has stepped in to develop a software for air traffic management as well as ensure the taxis are safe.
“We are very much embracing the regulatory bodies and starting very early in discussions about this and getting everyone aligned with the vision,” he said of Uber’s plans to introduce what he called “ride-sharing in the sky”.
Autonomous vehicles may not be everyone’s cup of tea — much less when they’re in the sky. But if NASA is on board with it, it’s likely we will be, too.
China may hold the record for housing the world’s fastest high-speed railway, but Florida is making headlines for launching its first. The private rail service will run from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale.
“It’s the first time that it’s happening, being built by a private company,” [says John Renne of the Urban Solutions committee). “And that’s kind of a game changer for this type of model.”
Along with carbon emissions, the $3 million train project will cut 3 million cars from traffic-laden roads. All Abroad Florida hopes to target the state’s densest area of nearly 6 million people.
“The federal highway system expanded … and everyone got off trains and into cars,” [says] John Guitar of All Aboard Florida… “And we’ve done a full circle now that the traffic and congestion and gas prices are so bad, people are looking for alternatives to get out of their cars and find other ways to get around the state.”
For what’ll likely be just $16, passengers can zip from West Palm to Miami in merely an hour. Road trips may be fun, but if I can shave 4 hours off a drive, why not?
2017 is proving to be the star year of renewable energy. From air-purifying bicycles to power-generating streets, it seems there is much hope for sustainable lifestyle options. Even millennials are taking part in the fight against climate change, and eighth-grader Laalitya Acharya is no exception. The thirteen-year-old recently created a device that allows traffic to generate clean energy.
Acharya started researching cheap, easily renewable resources of energy, and came across a device she calls a piezo. When stress is applied to a piezo, it generates electricity… She designed TraffEnerate to obtain power when cars drive over the devices.
Acharya, of course, had to ensure that the device would work. She designed a robot that would imitate the motion of vehicles in order to test her prototype. That’s what I call thorough.
“I wanted to change the world, that simple. On my family’s yearly trip to India, I saw children who have no power in their homes, huddling near dangerous fires. I wanted to change their position in life, to make it better by creating clean energy and electricity.”
Acharya is among many who have used their intelligence to give back to the world. While I often wonder what parents are feeding their kids these days, it seems that most teens just want to make a difference.
Rush hour is not anyone’s favorite time of the day, but from time to time, we inevitably find ourselves in the middle of it. However, 15-minute-turned-2-hour drives don’t always leave us prepared for hunger pangs and total boredom. Cargo, a startup that allows Uber drivers to sell a quirky mix of items mid-ride, is not only helping them make an extra buck, but also alleviates our traffic-induced hiccups.
Cargo partners with brands to put candy, protein bars, tampons, and condoms in a case that sits within reach of passengers. The case comes with a code unique to each driver, which passengers use to record what they took during the ride.
Drivers get a bit of extra money from Cargo for the things their passengers take, regardless of whether the riders made a purchase or just took something for free. Passengers can even tip their drivers through Cargo, too.
While the extra income earned from Cargo is nothing hair-raising, drivers are not charged for having a case of goodies in their car.
“Our mission is to help drivers earn more by providing the best ride experience possible,”
“For passengers, you never have to worry about your phone dying, riding hungover, or suffering through that snack-less midnight ride from the airport,”
Cargo is clearly going above and beyond simple customer care, and we couldn’t be more grateful!