Green Update: Bill Ford Says Car Networks Are Coming

Bill Ford at Mobile World Congress

At a speech before the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, Ford Motor Co.’s Executive Chairman Bill Ford (Henry’s great-grandson) made some notable remarks about how the future will need to accommodate 4 billion cars on the road by mid-century. (We already have about a billion.)

While people around the world keep buying cars at a rapid pace, traffic jams are endemic, seemingly endless and growing: 100 miles in Sao Paulo, for instance, lasting 2-3 hours a day. You heard about the one in China lasting 11 days? Elsewhere, “the cost of congestion to the economy in England through lost time will rise to around $35 billion (€26 billion) annually by 2025. In Germany, sustaining a town of 300,000 people is estimated to require 1,000 truck deliveries daily.”

So Bill Ford proposes collaboration between public and private transport, government and the telecommunications industry, to develop an interconnected network whereby cars, bicycles and pedestrians will be part of some giant integrated system to control their movements, especially in gridlocked cities. A business opportunity here? Oh yeah.

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Gridlock in U.S. Cities Costs Over $100 Billion

The Beltway, Washington, DC

The city with the most gridlock in the U.S. today is Washington, DC, which is no surprise to me, having lived there for eight years in the ‘90s. The metro area has been growing apace for twenty years and, of course, the roads haven’t kept up.

Commuting from any point within 25 miles to the Capitol, say, will be an exercise in frustration, rage suppression and bladder control.

As many travelers will tell you, I-95 is frequently a creeping disaster from Baltimore to Richmond. The yearly Texas Transportation Institute’s study of gridlock put DC in the top spot, followed by Chicago, greater Los Angeles, Houston and New York.

Cities were ranked in terms of delay time, excess fuel used and congestion cost per commuter. See table after the break.

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