It's Not Where You're Going, It's How you Get There
The future of transportation is now
Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and several other privately held companies are in their very own space race, offering to soon bring regular folks out to the great beyond. For $250,000, you can sign up to ride on a Virgin Galactic ship out of the earth’s atmosphere at three times faster than the speed of sound. The time in space is only a few minutes, but Virgin claims it will transform your world.
Photo courtesy of Mark Greenberg
Ride a Levitating Magnet
The Maglev Train in Shanghai can reach almost 300 mph. Instead of wheels, it uses magnetic levitation, which suspends and propels vehicles using A LOT of magnets. As the world’s first commercial train to use this technology, the Maglev connects the Longyang Road subway station to the Pudong International Airport (about 18 miles) in under eight minutes flat.
Photo courtesy of Andreas Krebs
Jetpacks. Real Jetpacks.
New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company has created the "world’s first practical jetpack," that allows humans to take flight. For now, you need to be a pilot or a first responder to get one, but Martin is developing a model for personal use, which might include everything from flying over to your friend’s house for dinner or watching sold-out concerts from above.
Photo Courtesy of Martin Jetpack
A Solar-Powered Sail
In 2012, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, the world’s first solar-powered seafaring vessel, completed a 19-month, 37,286-mile trek around the globe fueled only by sunshine. The silent solar panels allowed the crew to mingle with more wildlife, dolphins and unfortunately, pesky pirates.
Photo courtesy of PlanetSolar
Hover If You Want To
Last but not least, the long-awaited hoverboard. We wanted one the minute we saw Marty McFly tearing up the streets in 2015 in Back to the Future II. Then, HUVrTech announced the HUVr, a board that can float you where you want to go. In their radical (but alas, fake) video, pro-skater Tony Hawk endorsed the futuristic board, raising the hopes of 14 million people when it went viral, only to break their hearts when it was revealed to be a stunt.
But, according to Marty McFly, the hoverboard doesn't exist until 2015, so we still have time.
Photo courtesy of HUVrTech
A Car That Drives You
While Ford already has some automated assist features in cars today, like cars that automatically steer into parallel parking spots, while drivers control the acceleration and brake pedals, Ford is researching an automated car. According to MIT researchers, a fleet of 300,000 of these shared self-driving cars are all that a city like Singapore (with a million people) might need to serve the entire population!
Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company
Freeways That Charge Your Car
Imagine that familiar low battery panic when it’s your car that needs charging. Fortunately, researchers are developing roads that will charge your electric vehicle wirelessly as you go, using a technique that allows your car to pick up power through coils embedded in the pavement.
Photo Courtesy of Nayu Kim
In 2010, GOOD director Max Joseph imagined a world with foldable cars that fit into his pocket. That dream has almost arrived with the Armadillo T, a foldable electric car created by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. It folds into one-third the amount of space a traditional compact car occupies, which would leave two-thirds more parking spaces (hallelujah!) or the opportunity to convert unused parking lots into parks, schools, or zoos.
Photo courtesy of Robert Hextall
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At one point, we humans were fascinated with the invention of the wheel, but we're human. It's part of our make-up to constantly search for and invent what's next. Well, what's next doesn't always rely on the wheel. Who needs those when you can levitate to work or rocket to space?
The ever-increasing urban growth around the globe is fueling new forms of transportation, which will move us from A to B and even C in brilliant ways, not only helping the environment and the huge public need to get around, but---most importantly--- allowing us to skip out on traffic jams. Who cares about traffic when you have a jetpack?
Tell us all the crazy ways you move on Twitter and Instagram with #goodcitiesproject.
The GOOD Cities Project is a five-month collaboration with Ford, exploring how we make our cities and how our cities make us. As part of the project, GOOD and Ford have commissioned cultural creatives across the country to help illuminate and celebrate the rich and vastly diverse points of view that make up each city's individual character. Each week, we will be exploring attributes that we believe are fundamental to living meaningful urban lives.