Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Helicopter of One’s Own - NYTimes.com

As I made my way around Nice yesterday, by foot and bus, I was thinking about the people closest to me on the bus, and watching people and vehicles I passed on the street, and thinking about the shiny new rails for the second line of our tram system here. That, combined with this story and another a couple of days ago about the first school program showing how drones work got me thinking about whether we are headed in Nice toward a point where for the second time in 75 years, we'll abandon rails and opt for wheels. In Nice, we have thousands of rent-by-the-day-or-hour bicycles and dozens of electric cars and trucks available on the same basis. We have ferries that go from here to Corsica with cars, trucks, bikes, people and more.

Might we be headed toward a point where we all strap on a vehicle in the way that I strap on a backpack today. On some occasions, we and our vehicle might move by ferry, we might be assembled like an autotrain car and pulled by something on some sort of mechanism, perhaps more electromagnetic than hard iron rail. And as we move around town, perhaps we will all have to behave like we did as kids at a bumper car ride where we make our way, propelled, and getting everywhere more efficiently. I could imagine doing what I did yesterday outside my home - attending a lecture, buying the newspaper and working out at the gym - all in such a manner, and have been able to spend more time at the gym in the course of all that!

No comments: