Public transportation has come a long way since the very first oversea ferry transports of antiquity. In fact, public transportation has come a huge distance in just the past century since urban mass transit really began to develop. With non-renewable fuel sources like oil becoming more rare, expensive and problematic, and more of the world’s population moving to urban areas than ever before, public transportation is in high demand, as are solutions for better transport technology. These are some of the most exciting things now happening in the world of public transportation.
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Buses have long been a huge facet of both long distance and local public transportation. However, traditional buses share one of the pitfalls of traditional automobiles, a reliance on fossil fuels. While a full bus may be more fuel efficient than gas-fueled private vehicles, transport systems throughout the world are looking towards bus electrification. While electrified trolleybuses have been used for over a century, these are just some of the growing list of cities using modern hybrid or all-electric buses including Seoul, South Korea, Montreal, Canada, Madrid, Spain, Turin, Italy, and Beijing, China. In addition to the transition from gas to electric-powered buses, exciting things are happening in the world of electric buses, including the development of bus batteries that are exponentially more efficient than current lithium-ion batteries, as well as charging pads at stop lights as well as experimentation with solar-charged bus batteries in Australia.
Similar to driver-less cars, technology to create driver-less trains is being developed. The advantage of this would be a more efficient system with capabilities to more quickly dispatch trains to keep up with schedule and demand. While this could potentially create concern over the loss of jobs, experimentation with driver-less trains in Europe proved so successful with the public that jobs were actually created to meet the demands of increased ridership.
Smart Fare Cards
At one time riding public transportation meant having to deal with a mess of currency, tokens, tickets, or transfer tickets or sometimes all of the above and more. While many transport systems require their riders to deal with these elements, the development of smart cards in places like London and New York City would greatly simplify things for riders. This type of technology is already being tried with great success elsewhere.
Public transportation is only going to grow as the 21st century progresses, and the promising, rewarding career possibilities helping to develop this crucial technology are also growing throughout the world. It is also working to expand the number of civil engineering degree programs and education systems the world over.
By Brooke Chaplan