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Bill Ford Jr.  (Source: idetroitonline.com)
Ford said as the population increases, auto sales will increase, but congested highways will prevent us from traveling/commuting

At the Mobile World Congress (MWC) conference today, Bill Ford Jr. addressed his concern regarding future auto congestion in urban areas, which he says could eventually threaten our freedom to commute.

Bill Ford Jr. is the great-grandson of Henry Ford, who founded Ford Motor Company on June 16, 1903. Before the introduction of the Ford Model T in 1908, many people did not travel more than 25 miles from home. However, having an automobile made further travels possible -- it gave them freedom.

But Bill Ford Jr. said this freedom could be at risk due to increased population, which means increased auto sales and congested highways that could one day limit the number of automobiles that can be sold or used on the roads at a given time.

"What I'm really worried about is the role of the car in the long-term," said Ford. "If we do nothing, it will limit the number of vehicles we can sell. If we can solve this problem of urban mobility, I think there's a great business opportunity for us."

According to LMC Automotive, a consulting firm in Michigan, there are currently 1.2 billion vehicles on the roads globally.

While issues like the environmental impact of vehicles have already been addressed via efforts like the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) proposal that intends to boost fleet wide fuel economy to 54.5 mpg by 2025, Ford is moving on to other issues that are not so close to being addressed. His issue of choice is what to do about future traffic jams once the population increases, and urges the mobile technology industry to take action in developing solutions.

Ford already has a few solutions in mind, and they're all communications-based answers. Some are currently being developed, and some are not. For instance, Ford sees cars having radar-based cruise control and blind-spot monitoring systems in five years that allow vehicles to communicate with one another. These systems are currently being developed, where vehicles can "talk" to each other, offering information like the speed of another vehicle nearby. This could potentially avoid fatal crashes. Toyota is just one automaker that discussed the introduction of smart road technology back in 2010. Others like Ford and General Motors have worked to offer better and smarter safety systems as well, but they're mostly crash-based instead of traffic congestion-based.

Ford envisions a future beyond 2025 where cars will drive themselves as close together as possible to use the maximum amount of space on a highway. Vehicles will also do the same in parking lots to make more room for others. In addition, he imagines automakers building smaller cars that can offer additional space for other drivers.

"Even if the technology is there, there's still going to have to be tremendous thought by urban planners," said Ford. "That [driving] freedom has been threatened unless we redefine what personal mobility can be in a congested urbanized world."

Source: The Detroit News



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Urban mobility...
By Motoman on 2/27/2012 10:24:51 AM , Rating: -1
...isn't fixed with cars. It's fixed with mass transit. You actually don't want urban dwellers owning cars - there's nowhere to park them all, let alone room to drive them all.




RE: Urban mobility...
By Cr0nJ0b on 2/27/2012 10:36:42 AM , Rating: 2
That's just crazy talk.


RE: Urban mobility...
By quiksilvr on 2/27/2012 12:39:46 PM , Rating: 1
Nope, just Chuck Testa.

But in all seriousness. How do you solve massive traffic:

TELECOMMUTING!

Make it law for people to work at least twice a week from home. Make it rotate with respect to location so that it eases traffic flow in high traffic areas. Problem solved.


RE: Urban mobility...
By shin0bi272 on 2/27/2012 12:42:12 PM , Rating: 4
keep your laws off my drive to work commie


RE: Urban mobility...
By quiksilvr on 2/27/2012 1:46:59 PM , Rating: 1
You mean the same laws that require you to go to work for 40 hours a week?


RE: Urban mobility...
By tayb on 2/27/2012 12:59:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'll thank the all knowing overlords for the reduction in traffic on my commute days.


RE: Urban mobility...
By JediJeb on 2/27/2012 1:54:18 PM , Rating: 2
Difficult to be a waitress, factory worker, carpenter, ect when working from home.


RE: Urban mobility...
By quiksilvr on 2/27/12, Rating: 0
RE: Urban mobility...
By JediJeb on 2/27/2012 2:22:29 PM , Rating: 2
The factories around Louisville Ky had been staggering their work schedules for years to keep congestion down, which was really bad in the past, so those jobs do contribute.

Why can't offices do the same staggering their shifts in 30 minute increments over the time from 6:30-9:00?


RE: Urban mobility...
By retrospooty on 2/27/2012 5:30:29 PM , Rating: 3
Or do like intel does (at least here in AZ).

The shifts are 6-6 you work 3 days one week and 4 days the next week. Some shifts are Sun-Wed(Thu on off week) some are Wed-Sat(Sun on off week). I would kill to have that schedule. You drive in, miss traffic, get all your work done in less trips. Every weekend is a 3 day weekend, except every other one is a 4 day weekend.


RE: Urban mobility...
By JediJeb on 2/27/2012 9:24:46 PM , Rating: 2
I worked that schedule on my first job out of college 20 years ago. Except for the 105 mile drive one way I really liked it. If I had stayed longer before getting offered a better one I would have moved closer, but honestly even at that distance, with the schedule it was pretty good since it was 3 days or 4 days only.


RE: Urban mobility...
By bigdawg1988 on 2/28/2012 1:24:37 PM , Rating: 2
Why can't offices do the same staggering their shifts in 30 minute increments over the time from 6:30-9:00?

'cause they are run by old farts who don't give a damn about commuting times since they get in the office at 6am and work until 6pm, or they can afford double the price for a house close to the office. Or they have drivers... at least the CEOs and Presidents do. Darn you and your lazy behind! Get in the office earlier, or work harder so you can move up and be able to afford a house closer to the job!! heh


RE: Urban mobility...
By FITCamaro on 2/27/2012 10:42:04 AM , Rating: 5
Or just don't live in massive cities.


RE: Urban mobility...
By TSS on 2/27/2012 11:03:14 AM , Rating: 2
Actually massive cities would make mass transport more feasable.

The problem is the layout of the cities. I'll bet there are very few living areas situated close to work areas. And i don't mean living next door to a chemical plant, but just office workers who live within walking or even cycling distance of their work.

If businesses were more spread out and were located closer to where people actually live, there wouldn't be a problem. With either cars or public transport. All you need then is efficient city-to-city mass transport systems and you're set to go for the majority of people.

Great thing is, people can still own and use cars. Everybody will still want to own a car (and parking isn't a problem, large buildings need foundations = parking space. You can build down as well as up)for long distance travel so there's plenty of market for car makers. And Gas will become cheaper, less demand.

It's the suburban lifestyle that's really the issue. It's not a problem when only the rich can afford to but when the entire population has to be moved from sub urban areas to the city to work and back again.... that's just inefficient.


RE: Urban mobility...
By Mitch101 on 2/27/2012 12:33:22 PM , Rating: 2
The problem then is the talent level found in those urban areas. I don't disagree with you but being in a city you generally get the talent within the city and from all surrounding directions. Those people who live without cars or single car married in the city have no easy method to get to you on a daily basis.

Im more for the work from home program or even on a flexible work 3 days in the office and 2 from home and find a metric with which you can measure that I'm delivering as much. I genuinely get more done when working from home the problem is the people who abuse this privileged ruining the option for those of us who want this. Also really old managers who feel they lose their power and control because you work remotely.


RE: Urban mobility...
By shin0bi272 on 2/27/2012 12:37:58 PM , Rating: 2
4 day work week working 10hr days cuts down on traffic while still keeping the same number of hours worked.


RE: Urban mobility...
By FITCamaro on 2/27/2012 1:16:03 PM , Rating: 2
You totally missed my point.


RE: Urban mobility...
By bigdawg1988 on 2/28/2012 1:26:26 PM , Rating: 2
It's the suburban lifestyle that's really the issue. It's not a problem when only the rich can afford to but when the entire population has to be moved from sub urban areas to the city to work and back again.... that's just inefficient.

Haha! There a few million people in Atlanta who would tell you go f*** off, and leave their cars alone! heh


RE: Urban mobility...
By Spuke on 2/28/2012 4:07:36 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
It's the suburban lifestyle that's really the issue.
A few things.
1. Lower the price of housing.
2. Get rid of the assholes.
3. Put homes are larger lots.
4. Stop silly city ordinances like you must have actual grass in your front yard.
5. Kill all violent crime offenders.

Change those things and that will move a lot of people from the suburbs.


RE: Urban mobility...
By Motoman on 2/27/2012 12:51:22 PM , Rating: 1
Point taken and sentiment shared.

However, the fact of the matter is that urbanites actually have a much lower "footprint" than rural dwellers do. Like it or not...large, densely populated cities is the only way we're going to have any chance at supporting our burgeoning global population.

Personally I have spent lots of time in every major city in the US, and a few in Canada, for work over the past ~15 years. No way in hell you'd ever get me to live like a sardine in a tiny apartment, with no room to actually own anything, and nothing to do except go out and get drunk at a bar every night.

But...obviously lots of people think that's what life is all about. So more power to 'em.


RE: Urban mobility...
By tayb on 2/27/2012 1:01:39 PM , Rating: 2
You know that they build apartments that are large right? You could buy an apartment in downtown NYC that is several thousand square feet. But you'll pay for it.


RE: Urban mobility...
By FITCamaro on 2/27/2012 1:16:57 PM , Rating: 1
Well when you want to give all of us several million dollars, we'll care about that option.


RE: Urban mobility...
By JediJeb on 2/27/2012 1:59:41 PM , Rating: 2
But can you get those for less than the $42K I paid for my 800sqft cabin on 3 acres?


RE: Urban mobility...
By Motoman on 2/27/2012 7:27:09 PM , Rating: 1
Define "large."

The wife and I share a 3,300sf house on 50 acres of land, close to half of which is our own private forest. Our place also features a WWII-era barn of about 2,000sf, a cute old "milk house" which is something silly like 150sf, another building that we've converted to a "clubhouse" that's about 2,000sf, and a modern horse barn with attached arena that's probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000sf.

I can keep the dozen or so motorcycles I have at any given time there with no problem, along with our 6 horses and boarding many more. We can park my truck, the wife's SUV, our horse trailer and my race trailer anywhere we want.

Our monthly payments are $3,100. So what could I get in NYC that would be comparable to that for $3,100 a month? A 1,200sf apartment and no parking space?

Yeah.


RE: Urban mobility...
By Spuke on 2/28/2012 4:48:06 PM , Rating: 2
I don't even think you could get 1200sf for that price in NYC. BTW, nice setup. We have 2.5 acres, a couple of horses, 2100sf house, probably 800sf 3 stall shedrow barn, an arena and round pen. Our monthly payments are $2400. We sold a horse a couple of years ago to a couple from Calabasas. They were amazed at the cost of housing in our area. They said our home would easily be worth $8 million in their area (and Calabasas is still relatively rural but only 20 mins or so from LA) as opposed to 1.5 hours (or more..traffic) for us. Even if we got the same setup just 30 mins down the road almost doubles the price.

No thanks.


RE: Urban mobility...
By Solandri on 2/27/2012 1:18:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
However, the fact of the matter is that urbanites actually have a much lower "footprint" than rural dwellers do. Like it or not...large, densely populated cities is the only way we're going to have any chance at supporting our burgeoning global population.

That isn't really a problem. The vast majority of the world's population growth is in undeveloped countries. Most developed nations are very close to zero population growth. Some are even in population decline (e.g. Japan). The U.S. is about the fastest growing developed nation (something like an average 2.3 kids per family), but even that is a very sedate rate of population growth.
http://www.wrsc.org/sites/default/files/images/201...

The population growth you're seeing in developed countries is mostly immigration, and a population shift from rural areas to urban areas (makes the population of prominent cities increase faster than the country overall).


RE: Urban mobility...
By JediJeb on 2/27/2012 2:18:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
burgeoning global population.


I did the calculations a while back to counter some crazy post about population growth and found that even if we grow our population to something like 112 Billion people on Earth we could still fit them all on a land mass the size of Greenland.

The total surface area of the Earth is 1.603e+15 sqft which is 1.6 quadrillion sqft. Even at a population of 100 billion people that still leaves everyone with 16,000 sqft of living space. Greenland has an area of 23,315,542,272,000 sgft(1.47% of the Earth's landmass) which would leave 100 billion people 233sqft each. To put it in another perspective if you covered the entire area of Greenland with 3,300 sqft houses the entire worlds population could have one of those houses each and still have room left over.

In other words, we are not going to run out of room for our population any time soon. And if worse comes to worst and we do hit over 100 billion(which would take a few thousand years at current population growth) we could put all of them comfortably on Australia while using the rest of the globe for producing food. Plenty of room and cropland to support them all. Power and such might be a little more of a problem, but in a few thousand years hopefully we will have that worked out too.


RE: Urban mobility...
By Paj on 2/28/2012 8:01:01 AM , Rating: 2
One small problem - the whole world's terrain isnt flat.

One more thing I just thought of: not all the world's land is arable.

Yet another thing: most of Australia is desert, and is close to supporting all the people it can currently.

Few more things: fresh water? resources? transport? infrastructure? geology? temperatures?


RE: Urban mobility...
By bigdawg1988 on 2/28/2012 2:25:49 PM , Rating: 2
Plus Australia is full of deadly creatures that want to kill you to death!!
Would solve the population problem though....


RE: Urban mobility...
By Spuke on 2/28/2012 4:54:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yet another thing: most of Australia is desert, and is close to supporting all the people it can currently.
There's already few million people living in the desert just in SoCal. With the theoretical 100 billion people in Australia, money for infrastructure, transport or anything else would be a non-issue.


RE: Urban mobility...
By Dr of crap on 2/27/2012 10:45:05 AM , Rating: 1
Well what Bill is talking about is the part that goes in between the car as we know it and some form of mass transit that is car like.

Yes we all want the ablility to drive WHEN and WHERE we want. What we need is a computerized system that takes control of our car and gets us to where we want to go. And this will be faster since the congestion problem will be worked out by the computer controlling the "cars" on the system. The upside is no stop and go traffic, no accidents, no slow pokes in the left lane, no speeders in the right lane, no problem with merging.

What this is working towards, and there will be those that don't like it or want it, is car like mass transit. Busing, but with individual cars. Maybe a electrical drive system. You get in it in your garage and then "hookup" to the system down the raod and let it take you to where you are going.


RE: Urban mobility...
By stimudent on 2/27/2012 12:44:43 PM , Rating: 2
The concept of the single-occupant-vehicle will have to come to an end eventually. It's going to take at least a couple of generations to change the mindset we currently have. Too many small to mid-sized cities are too poorly laid out(sprawled out) for subways and trollies to work effectively.


RE: Urban mobility...
By raabscuttle on 2/27/2012 1:13:49 PM , Rating: 2
for me, mass transit is neither cost effective nor time effective. 7 miles to work one way and takes me 15 to 20 minutes to commute. The nearest bus line to my home is about 1.5 miles away, and it'd drop me off about 1.5 miles from my workplace. So, basically I'd be walking 3 miles, riding the bus 4 miles and taking about 45 minutes to an hour each way for this pleasure. The fare for a month pass is $59.00. The gas I'd burn is around $86 (my car is not too effecient in city driving), so I'd come out $27 ahead dollar wise, but lose 14 hours more in commuting. I think I'll keep the car.


RE: Urban mobility...
By Paj on 2/28/2012 8:04:04 AM , Rating: 2
What about the exercise you could get? Walking 15 miles a week would be great for your heart. You could even get a bike, depicting on the terrain and traffic, 7 miles could be done very easily.


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