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Bill Ford Jr.  (Source:
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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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
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.

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