It is time for the future of mobility.

COST Commentary: This article is another example of mobility transformation being propelled by rapidly advancing technology. The potential, near-term mobility improvements in all aspects of our lives are enormous, including greater safety, reduced congestion, more cost-effective mobility, greater connectivity, more efficient land use, lower mobility related taxes, improved air quality, increased affordability and many more.

The stale visions of those projecting more of the same in mobility are not attractive, but, the reality of rapidly advancing technology brings the promise of major quality-of-life advancements for all. It is time to turn from old, outdated mobility approaches and address the transformative mobility of the future. If a “new” city in England can do this, surely we can do better in the United States. Mobility is a major factor in our greatness: Greater mobility is directly related to greater quality of life.

British “New City” Chooses Driverless Cars Over Monorail

BY SANDY SMITH, APRIL 1, 2015, NEXT CITY, Inspiring Better Cities

Milton Keynes Opts for Pod Cars Over Rails

At its birth in 1967, the English “new town” of Milton Keynes was designed to be a city of 250,000 when fully built out. Its population is now just shy of that figure, and borough officials have been weighing how best to move those 248,000 residents around.

Two related announcements reveal that the borough intends to stay true to its futuristic heritage by adopting a new form of transport over two time-tested ones.

The MKweb news site reported March 30th that the Milton Keynes Council has ruled out building a tram or monorail system to serve the city after a resident of the borough’s Hodge Lea district sent the site a map showing possible tram or monorail stations. A council spokesperson said that a tram or monorail “would need to be heavily funded from the private sector and even with large passenger numbers it would not generate enough income to justify it.”

The spokesperson went on to say that adding rail transit to the already-built-out city would cause “significant disruption” and “change the look and feel of the city.” Furthermore, “the new driverless pods provide a Personalised Transport System anyway for the city centre further reducing the need for a monorail or tram service.”

The “driverless pods” are self-driving electric minicars developed by the British Transport Systems Catapult. Officially unveiled in mid-February at a demonstration in Greenwich, the two-seat “LUTZ Pathfinder” podcars are designed to operate in pedestrian environments such as Milton Keynes’ “redway” network of bike and pedestrian paths. The Pathfinders will enter service as an “urban laboratory” test project in partnership with the Milton Keynes Council later this year. The demonstration project will also allow the British government to determine how driverless cars should be regulated, according to an announcement on the Catapult web site.

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