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Can Technology Save Us From Our Car-Driving Selves?

hyper_loop.png

Courtesy of Elon Musk

A rendering of a Hyperloop pod.

Almost every area of technology seems to be advancing. Computers are faster. Factories produce more and more efficiently. Our phones have more functions than most of us know what to do with.

But one area that always promises big leaps, but seldom seems to deliver, is transportation.

Monorails across the country, including are own, are punch lines to jokes.

Our Clark County Commission is looking at the construction of double-decker highways to ease traffic around the Strip. But that form of highway building is so old, other cities are already tearing down theirs. The county commission this week even approved an extension of the monorail.

Despite all that, transportation and business overseers in southern Nevada believe we are on the cusp of a technological spurt that will lead the country.

Tina Quigley, general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, believes in the merger of technology and transit.

She told KNPR's State of Nevada that society hasn't really considered anything beyond a car, which aren't all that efficient. But she said the future of transportation could include a variety of ways of getting around from autonomous cars to buses that are ordered by smart phone.

"Traditionally, in our lexicon it's only been roadways for vehicles or mass transit, light rail type technologies," she said, "I really think we're at a tipping point where there is going to be a blend of lots of different types of approaches to moving mass amounts of people."

Support comes from

Steve Hill, director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, said not only is Nevada open to new technology for transportation of the future it is the home for it.

"The future of transportation is actually happening in Nevada," he said, "This provides an opportunity for a number of great jobs for Nevadans."

He said transportation companies like Faraday Future and Tesla will provide "meaningful diversification" for Nevada's economy. 

Hill and Quigley see improved transportation as a big component of the state's economic development efforts, but what that improvement looks like is a conversation Quigley believes the whole community should be having.

"I think what I like is what is best for Southern Nevada," she said, "That which induces economic development that which actually grows our capacity and that which provides a service that our visitors and our residents want."

Guests

Tina Quigley, general manager, RTC of Southern Nevada; Steve Hill, director, Governor's Office of Economic Development

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