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  1. #1
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Living car free, 5 year predictions

    We often discuss the future here - what sort of changes in technology or legislation might facilitate car-free living, and how individual and social choices around car-free living and the role of cars in society versus other options, like public transit or home delivery or telecommuting, might evolve over time.

    Some might see these discussions as flights of fancy, the ideas as impractical, unlikely, or wrongheaded. Others may think these threads are a worthwhile incubator of ideas that help us shed outdated notions and participate in the "creative destruction" that is continually remodelling the world, hopefully, at times, for the better.

    I've been a participant in BF for 10 years now, and I expect to be for at least another 10 years. I think it would be interesting to record some of our prognostications and speculations here, and revisit the thread from time to time to see how accurately we are foreseeing "the shape of things to come".

    I invite participants to either cite other threads where possible future trends relevant to car-free living are being discussed, or make specific predictions in this thread, for archiving and periodic review. I mention 5 year predictions in the thread title, but don't limit yourselves to that.

    I'll start.

    In five years I predict we will have a lot more driverless rail vehicles, but driverless road vehicles will still not be in regular use.

    I predict Amazon flying delivery drones will be in limited use in select rural test areas.

    I predict Tesla will be broke, in receivership, or bought and shunted to a minor backseat role in some larger auto company.

    The modal share of cycling will have continued to creep up in major North American cities.

    More to come...

  2. #2
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    5 years - we'll be complaining here about being buzzed by small electric vehicles, and arguing about the controversial sharing of cycling infrastructure.

  3. #3
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    5 years - we'll be complaining here about being buzzed by small electric vehicles, and arguing about the controversial sharing of cycling infrastructure.
    you mean sharing bike lanes with road-drones?

  4. #4
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    I predict ultralight, e-assist trikes will be available and in regular use for older bike commuters with balance problems or other health impairments that limit regular bicycling.

  5. #5
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    you mean sharing bike lanes with road-drones?
    Maybe, but I meant mostly personal electric vehicles. E-bikes, super-scooters, bubbles, I can't predict the form or mix of them but I expect them to proliferate. Since they'll be near the same size as bikes and "inferior" to the fast motor vehicles, we'll be sharing our space.

  6. #6
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    Maybe, but I meant mostly personal electric vehicles. E-bikes, super-scooters, bubbles, I can't predict the form or mix of them but I expect them to proliferate. Since they'll be near the same size as bikes and "inferior" to the fast motor vehicles, we'll be sharing our space.
    The more there are, the wider our portion of the road should be. Hopefully we'll crowd the cars into one lane or off some roads altogether.

  7. #7
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    I predict ultralight, e-assist trikes will be available and in regular use for older bike commuters with balance problems or other health impairments that limit regular bicycling.
    Given the relatively miniscule percentage of older North Americans, fit or not, who regularly use bicycles for any purpose, especially for commuting use, I predict the number of North Americans that will begin to commute on ultralight, e-assist trikes (or any other type of lightweight vehicle exposed to the weather/road traffic) after becoming physically or mentally unfit to pedal a regular bike to be be less than miniscule. Might be exceptions for use of golf cart type vehicles in fair weather retirement communities devoted to the needs elderly and/or disabled residents.

  8. #8
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    I predict rural populations will continue to decrease while urban and suburban populations increase. Suburban and urban areas will continue to invest in bike infrastructure such as MUPS and bike lanes thus increasing the acceptance and use of bikes as transportation vehicles (as opposed to recreational vehicles). New housing developments will include biking needs as part of the design. Urban and suburban planners will seek ways to connect housing development "islands" with bike and walking paths. This will be seen as a generally good thing.

    Beyond five years I see carbon fiber and battery technology (along with persistently high gas prices) creating a shift in the kinds cars on the road. Smaller and lighter with greater autonomy. Many roads that are now two lane roads with little shoulder width will be redesigned so that the car lanes are narrower and speeds slower. The extra width gained from making the car lanes narrow will result in bike lane shoulders on both sides of the road or a dedicated two-way bike lane on one side of the road clearly marked as a bike lane and not a car lane. Various kinds of "car-bikes" that have pedals along with electric propulsion will be developed to meet commuter needs that a bike does not.

    Changes in diet and food marketing will lead to a healthier and leaner population more willing to bike, run, walk, etc.
    Last edited by practical; 05-07-15 at 08:59 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    I invite participants to ...make specific predictions in this thread, for archiving and periodic review.
    In 5 years, I predict this thread will be long-forgotten.

  10. #10
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    I predict that inner city travel will mostly happen in cars that are transported thru little vacume tubes. The same technology used to transport goods in some older department stores. It was in my sixth grade social studies book as an example of what life in the 2000s would be like. I'm still waiting.

  11. #11
    Entropy on Wheels Zedoo's Avatar
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    Less driving, less internet, more going out, on bike, foot, bus, etc. for entertainment, news, and communication.

  12. #12
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Given the relatively miniscule percentage of older North Americans, fit or not, who regularly use bicycles for any purpose, especially for commuting use, I predict the number of North Americans that will begin to commute on ultralight, e-assist trikes (or any other type of lightweight vehicle exposed to the weather/road traffic) after becoming physically or mentally unfit to pedal a regular bike to be be less than miniscule. Might be exceptions for use of golf cart type vehicles in fair weather retirement communities devoted to the needs elderly and/or disabled residents.
    ^That's my 'hood (though it is a mix of retired and families).

    This baby gets me to most of the places I need to be on the cheap (and it's fun). But, yeah, the weather is a big part of it.
    Campione Del Mondo Immaginario

  13. #13
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    In 5 years my city will have a 25km long LRT running north/south along one of the major arterial roads, almost right at my doorstep. No more 6 lane road with speeding cars, everything will slow down, it will be safer for cyclists to ride along that road. This is not a prediction, this project has already been approved and construction will be starting in about 1-2 years time.

  14. #14
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Given the relatively miniscule percentage of older North Americans, fit or not, who regularly use bicycles for any purpose, especially for commuting use, I predict the number of North Americans that will begin to commute on ultralight, e-assist trikes (or any other type of lightweight vehicle exposed to the weather/road traffic) after becoming physically or mentally unfit to pedal a regular bike to be be less than miniscule. Might be exceptions for use of golf cart type vehicles in fair weather retirement communities devoted to the needs elderly and/or disabled residents.
    Well, if they are three-wheeled and have pedals, I will count them as a win.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    We often discuss the future here - what sort of changes in technology or legislation might facilitate car-free living, and how individual and social choices around car-free living and the role of cars in society versus other options, like public transit or home delivery or telecommuting, might evolve over time.

    Some might see these discussions as flights of fancy, the ideas as impractical, unlikely, or wrongheaded. Others may think these threads are a worthwhile incubator of ideas that help us shed outdated notions and participate in the "creative destruction" that is continually remodelling the world, hopefully, at times, for the better.

    I've been a participant in BF for 10 years now, and I expect to be for at least another 10 years. I think it would be interesting to record some of our prognostications and speculations here, and revisit the thread from time to time to see how accurately we are foreseeing "the shape of things to come".

    I invite participants to either cite other threads where possible future trends relevant to car-free living are being discussed, or make specific predictions in this thread, for archiving and periodic review. I mention 5 year predictions in the thread title, but don't limit yourselves to that.

    I'll start.

    In five years I predict we will have a lot more driverless rail vehicles, but driverless road vehicles will still not be in regular use.

    I predict Amazon flying delivery drones will be in limited use in select rural test areas.

    I predict Tesla will be broke, in receivership, or bought and shunted to a minor backseat role in some larger auto company.

    The modal share of cycling will have continued to creep up in major North American cities.

    More to come...
    Why are you so pessimistic about Tesla? The Powerwall home battery seems like a big step in the right direction.

  16. #16
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    Well, if they are three-wheeled and have pedals, I will count them as a win.
    Is the intent of your thread to post predictions of the near future or just wishful thinking and more discussions of flights of fancy?

    Were you making a serious prediction or just expressing your own wishful thinking about increased use of three-wheeled pedal powered vehicles?

  17. #17
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
    ^That's my 'hood (though it is a mix of retired and families).

    This baby gets me to most of the places I need to be on the cheap (and it's fun). But, yeah, the weather is a big part of it.
    Sure "horses for courses", makes sense.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #18
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Is the intent of your thread to post predictions of the near future or just wishful thinking and more discussions of flights of fancy?

    Were you making a serious prediction or just expressing your own wishful thinking about increased use of three-wheeled pedal powered vehicles?
    There's a fair amount of bike commuting where I live, and over the last 5 years I have seen more of those electric bikes that are really scooters with the awkward looking pedals that remind of T Rex's vestigial front arms - not good for much. As far as I know, just by having pedals, they are street legal as bikes. The riders are typically not very fit or athletic looking, and I don't think I have ever seen one actually pedalling. My prediction is that a few of those people, plus some actual self-propelled cyclists of my ilk, as they/we get older, will switch to electric or e-assist trikes for the ease of propulsion and balance. It may not be significant modal share, but enough that you won't be surprised to see one every now and then

  19. #19
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Locally, I predict minimal changes.

    Bicycle advocates will still be fighting to complete the River Trail and get bike lanes in place. The biggest change I see is that there will erupt a quarrel as bicycle advocates try to prevent the use of ebikes on the River Trail.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  20. #20
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mijome07 View Post
    In 5 years, I predict this thread will be long-forgotten.
    We routinely have threads bumped up that are much older than five years. Actually, it's one of my pet peeves.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  21. #21
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
    I predict that inner city travel will mostly happen in cars that are transported thru little vacume tubes. The same technology used to transport goods in some older department stores. It was in my sixth grade social studies book as an example of what life in the 2000s would be like. I'm still waiting.
    That's fairly similar to Elon Musk's idea for the hyperloop. He sats it will be functioning in the not-too-distant future.

    Personally, I wouuld like to see pneumatic tube structures for bicyclies. It would be like having a 20 mph tailwind behind you for higher speeds and less effort.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  22. #22
    Senior Member Smallwheels's Avatar
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    I predict that only a tiny fraction of car drivers will begin to use bicycles for transportation. If there is a fuel crisis or some other reason for fuel to become more scarce, such as extremely high prices, the percentage change might be a little higher. The citizens here would rather go to war to get cheaper fuel than to begin riding bicycles.

    More people will be fatter than now.

    The federal government will do more to appease the car drivers in some way if there is a fuel availability problem.

    Electric cars will be a higher percentage of vehicles on the road. Once Tesla and others add more inexpensive electric vehicles the field will expand and there will still be more cars on the road than today.

    Auto insurance for aluminum vehicles will be sky high and shift people away from wanting to buy them. It is more costly to repair an aluminum vehicle than a steel one. The Ford F 150 will in time lose sales because of this fact.

    It is my wish for more electric cars and alcohol powered cars to replace gasoline powered cars.
    All of my possessions fit into a small mini van, my home. Really.

  23. #23
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Personally, I wouuld like to see pneumatic tube structures for bicyclies. It would be like having a 20 mph tailwind behind you for higher speeds and less effort.
    And you could loop the loop.
    Last edited by cooker; 05-06-15 at 04:30 PM.

  24. #24
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    We routinely have threads bumped up that are much older than five years. Actually, it's one of my pet peeves.
    This one is born to be bumped.

  25. #25
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
    I predict that only a tiny fraction of car drivers will begin to use bicycles for transportation. If there is a fuel crisis or some other reason for fuel to become more scarce, such as extremely high prices, the percentage change might be a little higher. The citizens here would rather go to war to get cheaper fuel than to begin riding bicycles.
    I differ. There will be continuing signs of a generational shift with increasing numbers of young adullts opting to go car-light/car-free.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
    More people will be fatter than now.
    I differ. I predict more Bloomberg-style campaigns against high-sugar fast food, and a gradual shift towards healthier ingredients.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
    The federal government will do more to appease the car drivers in some way if there is a fuel availability problem.
    I hope not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
    Electric cars will be a higher percentage of vehicles on the road. Once Tesla and others add more inexpensive electric vehicles the field will expand and there will still be more cars on the road than today.
    I hope there will at least be a trend to smaller vehicles as part of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
    Auto insurance for aluminum vehicles will be sky high and shift people away from wanting to buy them. It is more costly to repair an aluminum vehicle than a steel one. The Ford F 150 will in time lose sales because of this fact.
    I differ. Continuing safety improvements like automatic accident avoidance systems and fewer overall accidents will counterbalance the increasing costs of individual accidents

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