Posts Tagged: volvo v40



Driver Assisted Cars – On the brink of a transport revolution?

The Volvo v40 offers an innovative "City Safety" system which includes features such as automated braking, pedestrian airbags and much more. Image from Autoworld.

Ever increasing urban populations are leading cities to focus more heavily on improving public transit infrastructure through the construction of rail, bus, and even cable lines. With such an extensive road network in North America, many cities and states find it difficult to further invest in additional infrastructure. Still, car congestion ensues — an issue that is further compounded by human error and “phantom traffic jams“.

So is there a way to make driving safer, less infuriating, and most importantly, more efficient during peak hours? We’ve heard of the Google Driverless Cars but these vehicles are not scheduled to hit the roads anytime soon. When they do, the transition surely cannot be immediate. Most likely there will be an in between phase — some sort of half-automated car.

Take for example, the Volvo V40 and Ford B-Max minivan. These cars offer driver assist features such as automatic braking. According to the Economist, the Volvo V40 essentially drives itself in busy traffic with the ability to maintain a safe distance between itself and surrounding vehicles.

Vehicles that can automatically adjust their speeds may significantly improve traffic flow in gridlock. Imagine a gradual movement instead of the lurching stop-and-go traffic we are all accustomed to.

But what, (if any) impact does this technology have on public transit? If travelling in personal vehicles is easier and more comfortable in the future, all while utilizing existing road infrastructure, will the role of public transit become less significant?

Or maybe more importantly, will this technology change more than just car culture? Can we somehow integrate “driver assists” with motorized mass transit vehicles to improve operational efficiency?

This type of technological innovation could have huge implications on transit planning and transportation in the not-so-distant future, ultimately altering the way we think about transit and urban mobility.

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