We Can Change Our Future!
Sustainable Transportation for All, Not Just Me
It took a while to phase in, pedestrian area by pedestrian area, but, by 2029, most cities no longer allowed any personal cars or trucks within city limits. A typical city reconfigured its designs by dedicating every third or fourth street to green electric or hydrogen powered trains or gondola lifts, which are managed with “smart” information and communication technologies, so they move quickly and efficiently and with adequate capacity for rider demand at any given time.
A leader in that movement was the Unified Arabic Emirates. Earth Citizen Principles and Values were consistent with Islam, and the UAEs was the very first to declare itself an Earth Citizen Nation in 2024. As part of that announcement, it declared it would phase out fossil fuel use for any government or civilian purposes. Though they had massive oil reserves, Allah had blessed them with enough resources to convert to renewable energy and be a good example to the rest of humanity.
Their already intense heat was becoming even more unbearable. They would use their oil money to invest in a new future, independent of fossil fuels. With reliable sun, they became 100% solar powered by 2026. Doobai was only a year behind. With electric train, vehicle, cooling and other systems, their energy systems were almost carbon neutral as a society. They raised taxes on their own petroleum sales and devoted a large portion of that money to helping others make similar changes. Perceptions of Islam greatly improved around the world as a result, and that was part of reduced radical fundamentalist Islamic terrorism, and suspicion and bad feelings toward Islam in the rest of the world, which is now largely seen as a source of peace, shared prosperity, goodwill, high spirit and generosity toward others.
We figured out that promising technological development devoted to creating self-driving cars would yield much higher returns and efficiencies if it were focused on shared public transportation systems, which would be much cheaper for us as a whole than requiring individuals to continue to buy, insure and maintain even electric cars, and the challenges were much simpler. Traffic problems would not be eliminated with self-driving cars, especially as population growth and densities increase in our cities. The environmental returns were also much higher. Trains run on time, and users know exactly where they are at any moment and how much space is available on which cars through apps on their phones. No stopping is required at intersections, because traffic is now negligible, and flows are well-managed. They are quiet and clean. They use minimal lighting and require little street lighting, which has changed.
It was far cheaper to deploy city and regional trains by reclaiming surface routes from roads that had previously been dedicated to cars than to bore underground systems. Nobody is more than two blocks from a reliable shared train or gondola route, which are optimized to be available as needed 24x7. Gondola routes are much loved for the views they provide over beautiful gardens that occupy what had been ugly, noisy and dirty, vehicle-clogged streets. It turned out the gondolas were even cheaper, quieter and more reliable than the trains, though they do have fixed rather than variable capacities.
The 2/3 to 3/4 of city streets without trains or gondolas have paved paths about 1.5 car widths wide for bicycles and electric delivery and service vehicles, with walking paths beside them. All products have delivery options via public goods distribution networks, using clean vehicles, so people don’t have to carry goods in personal vehicles. The rest of street and sidewalk spaces have been recovered for individual, family and shared gardens, which people take great pride in and make beautiful, so we enjoy spending time in them and are outside and active far more than before. On average, 2/3 of formerly paved city areas, which had occupied 1/2 of city lands, or 1/3 of total lands in cities have been reclaimed and converted to green spaces, with trees and gardens producing huge benefits in cleaning the air, restoring soils and water flows and creating beauty. Parks on former highway overpasses are stunning.
Most of the old-style bright lights on poles have been eliminated, replaced by ultra-low power, 1-watt solar-powered lights, which can be tuned to desired frequencies to produce almost any desired color. Those are deployed widely, cheaply and beautifully as pathway lighting and accents in plants and trees. They create lovely night-time environments, not brightly-lit, but artistically lit, cutting skyglow and glare. It is possible to make out the Milky Way in most cities now, and views of the heavens again impress us. Walks through some city-street-gardens are reminiscent of Pandura scenes from the 3D movie Atavar.
These changes have had outstanding health benefits. Just walking and bicycling as part of everyday lifestyles provides a level of exercise that ensures basic fitness. Air and noise pollution from gas burning vehicles has disappeared, and all kinds of health problems have disappeared with them. People choose to be outdoors in cities much more often, because it’s pleasant and beautiful. We like walking, biking and exploring, appreciating beautiful gardens and art spread throughout the cities. Electric bicycles are ubiquitous, making it easy and pleasant for people with differing physical conditions to ride together anywhere at the same pace, getting the amount of exercise each desires. E-bikes make it possible to bicycle for miles in the summer in a suit, in many cities, and arrive without sweating, if that is desired. All public transportation options can carry bikes, and E-bike charging stations are ubiquitous and free.
Smart high-speed regional green electric or hydrogen powered passenger train systems connect cities and towns, with optimized efficiency, also relatively inexpensively, using reclaimed street, highway and bridge routes formerly dedicated to cars. High-speed national, green electricity and hydrogen powered trains connect far more locations than before, and people enjoy using them. There are wonderful entertainments on trains, all have free high-speed network connectivity, and there are now a variety of car configurations, which allow options for affordable sleeping in Japanese style sleeping cubicles, suites, playrooms for children, business meeting spaces, working areas, bars, small performance venues, glass walled viewing platforms and restaurants. All regional and national train and highway routes now include safe passage, ground-level crossings for wildlife, pedestrians and bicycles at least every 10 miles. Now we have so much more free time, less stress, and our environments are so much more beautiful, many of us choose train travel over alternatives, because the experience is so pleasant and rewarding.
Regional and national freight train systems have been radically improved. All are green electricity or hydrogen powered, and smart information and communication technologies optimize transportation throughout train networks. There have been incredible improvements in modular goods transportation packaging, with various payloads that stack and pack efficiently. Loading and unloading systems are mostly automated, using massive robotic systems. These efficiencies have greatly reduced costs.
These tie efficiently into multimodal ship and barge systems, where there are also massive, robotic cargo loading, unloading and transfer systems. All ships are powered by green electricity or hydrogen. These changes have had big positive impacts on air and water pollution. Ships and trains include hybrid technologies that use micro-turbines on outer surfaces to produce electricity. Infrastructure upgrades on canals, inland waterways, harbors, locks and dams have greatly improved efficiency.
Overall volumes of goods shipped have been reduced about 50% globally, because people are consuming much less, and consuming far more from local economies, especially food. Cities are served by large, local distribution centers which warehouse most goods by manufacturer, instead of distributor, so orders filled by any seller are coming from the same warehouses, reducing inventory costs and space, and reducing goods flown and shipped all over the country in small lots by big merchants like Azamon. All deliveries in cities are made for citizens via local green vehicle distribution systems.
There have been radical improvements in the efficiencies of airplanes, which are now hybrid vehicles. Takeoffs, which consume large amounts of energy, are largely powered by electricity from batteries. These changes allow takeoffs to be much quieter and quicker, producing no air pollution and much less noise pollution. A genius engineering team working with micro-turbines figured out how to cover exterior plane surfaces, not with pinwheel-like fans, but with spinning tiny barrels that produce electricity without significantly increasing drag or friction. Otherwise, planes are hydrogen powered.
Long-glide descents now produce enough electricity to fully charge batteries for takeoffs. Many planes now include inexpensive Japanese style sleeping cubicle configurations and options, so it’s easier and more affordable to sleep comfortably on long flights. Zepolin airships made a comeback. Much safer, covered in solar cells, they provide stunning green transportation. All transportation offered to the public now includes free high-speed network connectivity, which is considered a basic human right.
All airports are connected to cities through green electric train grids. Airport security is much less burdensome also. Basically, following the shift to Earth Citizen Principles and Values, we’re all one. People’s lives are better, and we’re happier, more fulfilled and satisfied everywhere, so there is much less resentment and hostility directed toward any by any. Without the hatred and desperation of being badly wronged, few people are motivated to cause others harm, especially at the cost of one’s own life, which people now feel good about and enjoy. Terrorism is essentially non-existent. We are peaceful.
Business travel is greatly reduced. People are more focused locally, and connections through information and communications technologies and networks are such high quality now that people generally do not find it as necessary to travel in person for simple business discussions or transactions.
While personal vehicles are no longer needed in or between cities and urban environments, people in rural and remote environments do still use them. It’s not feasible or efficient to try to connect every location with public transport. In those environments, electric and hydrogen fueled vehicles are used.
Gas stations have been converted to hydrogen fuel and battery swap and charge stations, and hydrogen is mostly produced on- or near-site, using green electricity from solar, wind or water. Ride and vehicle sharing systems allow many the benefits of personal transportation, without having to bear the full cost of vehicle ownership personally. Many rural roads have been reverted to gravel, because it’s not worth it to maintain pavement. Green hybrid busses serve areas where it is inefficient to deploy trains, and there are great long-distance luxury green bus options for traveling in areas outside of train networks.
There have been no new fossil fuel vehicles produced since 2029. Some older gas-powered vehicles are still allowed, as collector’s items. There were amazing trade-in incentives to help people make the transition to green vehicles. The last fossil-fuel powered auto race was in 2029. It’s estimated that about half of all roads in the U.S. have been decommissioned, removed and the land restored.
Agriculture and food changes have enormously reduced our consumption of beef, and millions of miles of barbed-wire fences have been taken down, with grazing lands restored to natural ranges and forests. Wild animal populations have rebounded, and there are vast migration networks of land for them.
Combined, these changes have radically reduced human contributions to global warming. They’ve also radically improved people’s quality and enjoyment of life. We have much more time for purposes other than driving ourselves around in cars. An average U.S. metro dweller has recovered almost 2 hours/day from these changes, plus 2 months/year of work/person previously devoted to paying for vehicles.
Systems are so efficient, and safety in cities has so improved with changes in values, improved lives and reductions in social unfairness, harms and crime, that parents usually feel quite comfortable allowing children to freely travel on public transportation systems and spend unsupervised time outdoors alone and together in cities, urban and rural areas. Youth benefit hugely from being able to be together outdoors in wholesome settings, without suspicions, supervision and oppression.
Contribute information, articles, comments, suggestions, ideas and discussion on this chapter.
How do you feel after reading this information? Why do you feel that? What values are impacted? How can we change? What can we do? Where can we get more information? (Please submit any discussion on the entire We Can Change Our Future! section here.)
Please provide only constructively intended interactions addressing ideas and content, not persons. All mean-spirited interactions will be deleted, especially anything disrespectful directed toward persons interacting with this site and their qualities, rather than ideas and content. Thanks!