Take the Earth and subtract just two things: roads and wires. How much more pleasant a place would it be? No asphalt arteries carving a dense grid throughout the world’s grass and trees devouring tax dollars. No endless rows of poles and towers draped with miles and miles of wires coming between our eyes and our skies. Imagine the makeover the space around and under your desk would receive!

Actually, the vision may not be as far fetched as it seems: we just need personal flying vehicles and wireless power & communications.

8 Responses to “A world without roads and wires”

  1. Step 1: Let’s change the ratio of motorized to non-motorized vehicles on the roads.

    Check out this picture:

    cars-bus-bikes

  2. Soon after posting I realized at least one contradiction (of many I’m sure) in my logic: millions of PFVs might blot the sky far worse than wires draped on towers.

    Still, roads are not just unsightly they’re terribly inefficient, confining travel to one-dimensional strips, forcing us to wait one behind the other, take turns at intersections, etc., when there is plenty of space to maneuver around each other in our three-dimensional world.

    Thanks, Daniel: another proof that a picture is worth a thousand words.

  3. FoolsGold says:

    The skies are NOT crowded; the airports are crowded.
    Free-Flight would allow someone to go From Where He Is to Where He Wants To Go rather than following these invisible roads in the sky defined by the locations of various navigational beacons.
    Do-Gooders are always trying to get people to use Mass Transit in urban areas but those Do-Gooders never seem to realize that decent people do not want to ride on a slow and noisy bus driven by a surly jerk and carrying weirdos, winos and wackos on a schedule and route that is not of their own choosing.

    Ofcourse once you lose the “bricks” that house the markets, you no longer need the roads that carry goods and buyers to those markets.

    An 800 number, an email account, a FedEx account, a fax machine … Who needs bricks for factories, stores, or roads?

    Ofcourse, as the need for brick structures and brick roadways lessens so too does the taxbase for the political entities that now value those bricks very highly.

  4. adrian says:

    Once, while driving across Canada I wondered aloud about how cool it would be if we didn’t have those long asphalt veins mucking up the landscape. The driver turned to me blankly and just said “do you know how $%$#ed up the landscape would be if people could just drive anywhere?”.

  5. Anders Eriksson says:

    this vision is possible without wireless power,
    using existing technologies and simple DC generators in every home and workplace.
    the wires that ruin our landscape carry AC current, since low voltage DC current cannot travel through wires over long distances due to high resistance. but the only reason electric current travels so far through wires is because the generators that supply the current are centralized, rather than in the homes and workplaces themselves.
    if power generation became personal power, it would have the same liberating effect as personal computers have for communication.
    we would control our own power,
    and no more wires across our landscape.
    as for roads.. hovercraft technology has been around since the 50s, it’s simple, safe and reliable, and falling from an altitude of 50 cm is no big deal. electric powered hovercraft would be the ideal transport in a world without roads.

  6. Thanks Anders: good point. I look forward to that day. You’re right: we are probably closer than I think using existing technology. Still, don’t we need a little more reliable personal and renewable power generating stations? As for hovercraft: can they work over natural and somewhat rough terrain?

  7. Here’s a plan that, rather than scrapping roads, turns them into giant solar collectors.

  8. A roadless world.. That is Matternet’s vision, leapfrogging roads by using a network of unmanned aerial vehicles!

    Check http://www.matternet.us for more details, you might like the project!!

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