TransportationCamp East and the Future of Transportation

This weekend is TransportationCamp East, a two-day unconference in NYC about urban transportation and technology.

In leading up to the (un)conference, I’ve been doing some thinking about what the future of transportation in urban areas is, or should be. (See Microtransportation is the Future of Getting Around in Cities, Want to Revolutionize Traffic? Open a Cafe in Your Neighborhood, and Designing Transportation for 2060).

But regardless of individual visions about what’s coming next, one thing that is clear to me is that the future of transportation should not be more cars and SUVs stuck in traffic on congested roads like the ones to all sides of my apartment here in Brooklyn. That’s the past of transportation – it doesn’t need to be our future as well.

Another thing that is clear is that there is a huge opportunity right now for entrepreneurs, including scrappy upstarts on small budgets, to rethink transportation entirely, and to make their ideas into breakout hit businesses that reshape our day-to-day living patterns entirely, for the better. (SoBi is the latest scrappy upstart I’ve found doing this, and I love their idea.)

The next step in transportation is not going to be designed by some modern-day Robert Moses, building freeways for the masses. We’re past the age of the “master builder”. The next era is going to be built by a million people, all coming up with ideas, blogging about them, building and launching them, vetting them in the public, and ultimately changing the world around them.

This is already underway in fact, though I think we’re just at the very beginning of the process. The next five years will see some real inroads for new ideas, new practices, new enterprises to change how we get from point A to point B (or equally important, how things get from point A or point B to us, allowing us to stay where we are). I think we’re looking at a major disruption of the way transportation works in the next several years.

So, it’s an exciting time to be thinking about all of this, and it’s a good time to be going to a conference called TransportationCamp. I’ll be there, and I hope to see you there too.

(And if you can’t make it to TransportationCamp East, you can also go to TransportationCamp West, two weeks from now, in San Francisco).

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