What Will City Driving Look Like in the Future?

The year 1984 came and went, and while George Orwell’s novel did not come to full fruition, there are still a lot of things the English novelist got right. Our every move may not be monitored by the government (that we know of…), but for a novel written back in 1949, Orwell got more right, than he got wrong. Nearly 70 years after Orwell’s novel was published, the world looks incredibly different. Cameras are indeed everywhere, and “big brother” is listening in likely more ways than we realize – but the roads, buildings, and general way of life are largely the same as they were back then.

One aspect of our daily lives that seems to be in a constant evolutionary state involves how we get around. I’m not talking about how we physically move about on our own, but rather how we interact with our vehicles. New technologies are introduced daily, with many of them picked up for mass consumption. It doesn’t matter if your family drives new SUVS or used cars. Or whether you’ve chosen Louisville, Cincinnati, Chicago, or Miami for your residence – the world of driving is changing, and the future is here.

Ideas That Will Change Driving As We Know It

Each and every day, new technology is brought to life that is designed to increase our productivity, convenience, and our ability to multitask. I’m not talking about the newest smartphone, or the latest Apple iWatch – but rather, our cars. More specifically, the environment in which we drive our cars. As automakers are racing to the autonomous driving finish line, there are plenty of tech companies racing to introduce new systems that make navigating through city streets easier than ever before.

This technology may not be prevalent today, and I’m no George Orwell – but I would put money on the fact that self-driving cars, and the future of city driving, will be here sooner rather than later. Without further ado, let’s take a look at six ideas that will change city driving as we know it. Sit back, relax, and take a peek into the future of driving.

  • Cars that Talk: Okay, maybe this title is deceiving. Let’s get this clear right out of the gate – you will not be able to have a lively conversation with your car on the way into the office. Although I’m certain some people would benefit from such a conversational companion, talking vehicles will be only able to communicate with one another – not with you. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication, or V2V, is currently in development by various technology companies in America. The United States Department of Transportation has already proposed rules and regulations regarding this impending change in our daily driving, which will outline standards for how V2V is legally allowed to work. In an autonomous driving world, cars will have to communicate between one another in order to safely get from one destination to the next. Virtual discussions regarding location, speed, direction, and more – will give these independent cars the ability to get you to your destination without incidence.
  • Cars Communicating with Traffic Signals: This title is straightforward, and essentially means what it says. While V2V covers communication between two vehicles, vehicle-to-infrastructure or V2I, describes a car’s ability to talk to traffic lights and other similar features on the road. To put it into understandable context, think about how an emergency vehicle has the ability to change traffic lights from red to green in the event of an emergency: This is V2I at work. While your car won’t be able to direct the flow of traffic for your benefit, V2I technology will work by taking in your vehicle’s data, and adapting speed limits, and traffic lights to increase flow and break up traffic jams. Rather than wait for an officer to arrive on the scene of a severely backed up intersection to direct traffic, V2I will automatically make these adjustments to increase on-road efficiency.
  • Zero Emissions Zones: The United States may be far off from successfully implementing these types of “fuel-based discrimination laws,” but other countries around the world are already setting goals that will help cut down on air pollution by the year 2025. Norway plans to set up “zero-emissions zones” in two of their largest cities, which would ban any gasoline burning vehicle from traveling into city limits. Other countries plan to ban diesel-burning vehicles within their major cities by 2025, a bold, yet wise, move. Paris, Madrid, Mexico City, and Athens are just a few of the major global cities to set these future laws into motion, but I would guess that plenty more countries will soon follow suit.
  • No City Driving: Park-n-Ride programs are implemented as options in nearly every major U.S. city. While these programs are not required today, it seems that they will be in the future. The idea is to keep congestion, emissions, and smog out of large cities – and the number one way to combat all of those things, simultaneously, is by setting up a vast Park-n-Ride system. Rather than drive all the way downtown, commuters will be asked to park at a central location, and finish their daily pilgrimage via a ride-share carpool, trolley, train, or bicycle. The number one goal? Zero city emissions.
  • Charged for Driving: We all pay annual license plate renewal fees, and other yearly taxes to keep our vehicles under our ownership – but this future of vehicle charges is a separate entity. Since 1975, Singapore has been charging drivers “congestion pricing” for driving their cars on busy city streets during peak traffic hours. This may sound extreme, but not to London and Riga, who are following Singapore’s lead to help keep city traffic down. In these scenarios, larger cars and SUVs will likely pay a higher tax or toll to enter onto city streets during peak driving times, than other smaller cars.

It will certainly be interesting to see some of these ideas implemented on a large-scale basis. With the drive to keep emissions down, and productivity up – it seems that the only viable answer is to enact some of these ideas and future regulations. Here at online.cars, we know that the climate is changing, which is why we provide shoppers with the opportunity to find and purchase their used vehicles online. It’s only a matter of time before every other realm of car ownership gets “smarter” as well.