How our commute to work will look in the future – words Al Woods

The future of the daily commute to work hangs very much in the balance. Elon Musk’s hyperloop completed its first ever trial just days ago, and that means we are one step closer to travelling at speeds of well over 1000km/h through near-vacuum tubes – à la Futurama.

2017 marks an increasingly important juncture in the history of transport – self-driving cars are nearing fruition, and a surge in interest in healthy living has accelerated the introduction of e-bikes to the world. But how do these competing modes of transport stack up, and which are set to emerge as the most popular, and more importantly – the most environmentally friendly?

 

Hyperloop

The hyperloop is, by far, the most ambitious in scope. And its precocious speed makes Los Angeles to San Francisco (381 miles) a feasible commute, cost-permitting of course. By car, the journey takes 6 hours, by hyperloop, just 35 minutes. The premise behind the hyperloop is this:  a 400 mile vacuum tube train that magnetically levitates. The low pressure and resistance allows the train to travel at very high speeds with comparatively little power. According to primitive predictions, it is six times more energy efficient than equivalent air travel, making it a greener and cleaner alternative. If it can negotiate its way past the web of financial and infrastructural obstacles, hyperloop is a promising, environmentally friendly mode of transport.

Self-driving cars

For the most part, autonomous cars technology isn’t holding back self-driving cars, legislation is. The complexities surrounding liability alone are set to stall their introduction onto UK roads by a matter of years. Regardless, with the backing of billions of pounds, there have been a number of successful tests of fully autonomous vehicles. It is thought that the mechanically consistent approach to driving offered by autonomous cars will reduce emissions because of a reduction in unnecessary acceleration, and the steadier traffic that comes with it.

E-cars

Two weeks ago, the UK announced a ban on cars that run on diesel and petrol by 2040. With it, they signalled their intent to not only increase the number of electric/hybrid cars on our roads, but to make them the only car on UK roads. By eliminating carbon emissions, electric cars are capable of fighting back against the pollution that is causing climate change. While they occupy just a fraction of the overall share of UK cars currently, this announcement, bolstered by the widespread production of lighter, more durable solid state batteries, points to a greener future. They are sure to feature as part of our daily commuting.

E-bikes

E-bikes resolve the two problems that have traditionally prevented many from cycling to and from work. The first is that the exertion of the commute will leave you exhausted, and unable to work at your optimal level for the rest of the day. The second is that the aforementioned exertion will leave you drenched in sweat, and in an altogether unsuitable condition for interaction with other members of the human species. And the post-commute shower that is a necessity is bound to undo all of the good energy-saving work you had hitherto completed. Unless, of course, you have a circulation pump, which cuts on heating costs by providing an instant supply of hot water.

Regardless, the helping hand provided by an electric motor renders these two barriers obsolete. Less effort is required to travel, leaving you fresh and ready to work sweat-free. For this reason, e-bikes are swelling in popularity as of late. And because e-bikes emit no more emissions than their motor-free counterparts, they are also a great choice for the environmentally-conscious.

How our commute to work will look in the future – words Al Woods

 

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