Since the advent of commercial flight and high speed rail, nothing or no significant technological change has affected the traveling public. Here in the early 21st century consumers rely heavily or cars and trucks for daily transportation and planes and boats and trains for everything else. Although in these tough economic times, walking and bike riding has come back into favor for some. All countries are still heavily dependent upon oil as their main source for energy. However, oil resources are decreasing forcing populations to look for alternatives. Oil reserves are expected to reach their peak in the next year or so and then decline, sending energy prices through the roof.
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This downward trend in energy supplies is expected to trigger a transition in the way people transport themselves and the goods they need for day to day living. So what is expected happen? Populations are expected to move toward automated transport systems, that move very fast, are highly efficient, safe and reliable. The adoption of the vehicles and vessels will lead to automated highway systems and new modes of bigger and better public transit and freight transportation. Light rail and better freight trains, in other words. The goals seem to be to improve existing infrastructure to make it work for future technology.
Some alternatives to modern day transportation that are being studied include the Magley, which is short for magnetic, levitation, which allows passenger vehicles to ride above the rail so to speak, increasing speed by eliminating friction. Magley has no moving parts, which enables the vehicles to reach speeds of 600km per hour or 372 miles per hour in American speak. Magley reportedly improves on existing technology of current high rail systems in operation in other parts of the world. In fact, Magley is the first major innovation since the coming of the industrial revolution. Magley trains went into operation in Shanghai in 2003.
Hybrid cars are being developed with some already on the roadways. These hybrids use two types of motors, one usually a regular engine, the other usually an electric motor. The electric motor kicks in when the motorist needs to save gasoline used by the other engine. Diesel is also expected to play a heavy part in coming technology because it can be made from both coal and other organic fuels. There would be lower dependence on oil if diesel is utilized more. Another alternative to oil are biofuels, such as cooking oil. The public transit buses in Cincinnati, Ohio, for instance smell like french fries cooking because of the emissions the release. These emission are from the biofuel that they use to power the big people-movers.
Yet another developing trend is represented by fuel cells that have low environmental impact and are now in mass production. These fuel cells are powered by hydrogen and are considered a better way to power an automobile or truck. The world is in such a transition now that it is difficult to predict which future transportation trends will capture mass approval and which will fall to the wayside. Only time will tell. However, the world will have to act quickly to keep up with the changing needs of the world population which is only getter by the minute.