It seems that in the neatest future the American dream will be no longer look like we tend to imagine today. A house in the suburbs, stable job that gives you good money and a car for every adult member of the family, these are the things that make Americans move forward. But kids born in the 21st century might live in a different reality, where car ownership is no longer an attractive thing.
A recent report by the McKinsey Center shows that transportation comes to a crucial moment. Supercities such as New York City, London, and Moscow are already overcrowded and suffocate brcause of car emissions. If nothing changes, by 2030 car ownership can double. The young people of today will enter the middle class tomorrow and will buy new cars. This will make cities even more congested and will cause more problems with human health due to the increasing pollution.
The solution for this problem comes in four directions: car-sharing, in-vehicle connectivity, electrification, and autonomous driving cars. Basically, it means that new vehicles will have smarter electronic systems, they will cause less pollution, and there will be no use in owning a car as you will be able to join someone else who goes the same way.
Just think, most of the time cars are standing parked, but the moment you join the traffic you become a little part of a heavy flow that is dangerous both for your health and for the environment. What if you could still own a car but also lend it to someone you trust while you do not use it? What if you could commute to work and back home on a hybrid bus that could deliver you with a decent speed avoiding any traffic jams? What if taxis were self-driving vehicles that could be programmed to choose the shortest, fastest and safest way?
All this can not only reduce traffic but also save quite a lot of money. The report analyzes the difference between owning a car and using any of the solutions to the traffic problem described above. For an average San Francisco citizen who travels 5,000 miles per year it can be thousands of dollars. One can save even more if they would have access to driverless vehicles.
Of course, all these calculations are theoretical. And we should understand that apart from the mobility function the car can be also a status symbol. We cannot expect this situation to change fast, but changes usually happen organically, so sooner or later the solution will be found and become a reality.