Have we reached the pinnacle of car usage? The average LA commuter wasted 81 hours sitting in road traffic in 2015. According to traffic intelligence company INRIX, this feat of endurance was only topped in London, where drivers sat through a soul-destroying 101 hours. And that’s before considering the devastating losses associated with our increasingly busy roads: one million people are killed in traffic accidents yearly, and another seven million are thought to die prematurely as a result of air pollution in part from cars.
Unsurprisingly, some cities are aspiring to become car-free: Oslo has pledged to ban cars by 2019. China is drawing up plans for its first car-less city. Meanwhile affordable e-hailing services like Uber and Didi Kuaidi have both passed the one-billionth-journey mark and show no signs of slowing down. But do these trends signal the decline of our beloved automobile?
We’ve visualized what’s happening to car ownership around the world and what lies in store for future travel.
Looks like cars might be here to stay, but with two-thirds of the world’s population set to live in urban areas by 2050 and with connected technologies making our cities more intelligent every day, the way we use them will probably dramatically change. Maybe building high-speed rail networks to get into cities will reduce time wasted in traffic, and cycling networks may ease travelling around, but we won’t be waving goodbye to the car anytime soon. With a smartphone constantly in hand, a wide range of on-demand car services and autonomous vehicles will be at our fingertips, designed for maximum flexibility and convenience.
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