Forget smart cities, you need to make your infrastructure stupid to survive the future


The instinct of many transportation planners is to make "smart infrastructure," and to try to make plans for it going out 30 years. That's impossible, nobody knows what smart will mean in 5 years. The internet solve this problem, and grew by making the infrastructure as stupid as possible, and it revolutionized the world. The internet teaches lessons for how all infrastructure planning must go in the future -- keep the physical as simple as possible, do everything in the virtual, software layer.

In this new essay on I summarize some of the key teachings from the internet that apply to planning the physical world.

Forget smart cities, you need to make your infrastructure stupid to survive the future


Love the idea of virtual traffic control devices.

One issue is that there's a lot of physical infrastructure that needs to be updated in order to accommodate the virtual infrastructure. (This is why it's so much easier to do with parking lots and other privately owned roadways.)

But once we get that sorted out, this will be great.

But the key is to understand to try to do them in ways that make things simple and flexible, and don't think you know the final way it will be used.

Definitely an important lesson.

Have you thought about if the San Joachim Valley high speed rail could be halted and what has been built be repurposed? Could it be used for tractor trailers or short trucks as one sees in Europe or vans? Perhaps allow SR99 be more car-oriented and get good or transit (not trains) onto the repurposed rail viaduct. Or an aquaduct or conduit for pipelines?

HSR does do something nothing else does, which is go very fast at a tolerable efficiency and on electricity rather than jet fuel. So if you have the line you would use it for that, by having other ground transport like robocars move people and cars to one end of the line, zip them along and release them at the other end. Only if it will make their trip faster of course including the transfer wait time. There are ways to make the transfer fast though.

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