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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 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:


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

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