Traffic in the year 2015 (fictional scenario)

It's pretty easy to predict the future. Just use your intuition and go!

Trends
- traffic changes into two directions: individualization but also more effective
collective traffic (mass transport)
- new forms of transportation emerge: slow low-power cars, due to all the green movement going on now as we are closing year 2010.

Mass transport will get more comfortable and efficient. The comfy -factor is
satisfied partly by greatly increased availability of real time traffic
information. People can track via their mobiles the movement of their
buses, trams, subways and other traffic vehicles. All of these are tracked
by either GPS or other kinds of technology. Their location is known to within
sub-meter. So the guesswork is taken out of using mass transit.

People want to be the king in the car. This is true for at least a portion
of us. The car will be equipped with more intelligent and rewarding
technology. Cars themselves will already be quite high-tech when they're
shipped off the factory.

What is wise to put into the car, and what can we rely on the network to supply?
I was thinking about in-car weather sensor system, but perhaps that's an
overkill. Since the 4G network is probably obsolete by 2015, replaced by even better
network, we can be sure that there's plenty of bits available to the car.
It can download a constant high-accuracy weather map along with whatever
data needs to be had.

What do you need on the road?
- news
- weather
- traffic data
- social network services; you want to meet others, especially if you're traveling
in a more remote or dangerous area
- maintenance
- police (in case there's an disputed accident)

Cars will be equipped with always-on cameras, that record all the things you see.
So insurance disagreements should be past days.

The navigation systems get better. Search engine companies start to develop their
own navigation software, and so cars have devices in which the driver or passengers
can search for restaurants, events, other people - basically whatever is available
on the internet, can be plotted on the navigator's globe.

By having this information at hand the safety of roads increases somewhat.
Accident information is quickly related by peer network; people can enter
an accident scene in the navigator and quickly disseminate this information
to other drivers. Emergency call centers also update the information as
it arrives to them.

Individualization and the need to equip
* people want traveling to be as comfortable as possible
* time is essential, yet some proportion of the population is ready to slow down a bit
* automatic safety devices increase both within the vehicle and in traffic controllers
* land traffic becomes more like the sea traffic; fluid

Traffic controllers can create bumping zones, so the car will get instructions
to slow down when progressing towards a red light and especially a traffic
light in which there are people nearby. The traffic lights can have ambient
heat sensors (infrared) which detect the presence of people, and thus can
quickly make efficient decisions about signalling the lights.

All traffic lights communicate with a central system so that the whole traffic ecosystem of a city is optimal all the time. The lights are intelligent, so there's no more idling - waiting for no-one.

Technical advances
* friction reduction
* lower emissions
* biofuel consumption instead of fossil fuels

One specific thing I have to envision; it's the new low-power car. This tri-cycle
has a very aerodynamic design, and the car can take 2 people. It looks a bit like
the Spirit of America, a record-breaking threewheeler driven by Breedlove.
This vehicle will be as optimal as possible what comes to energy efficiency. It could be a kind of trend-setter for the trendy commuters, who want their own space nevertheless.

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