Part of being a parent is passing along your values to your children.
One thing I seem to have passed along is my love for, and belief in, mass transit systems. This includes the idea of transportation that is sustainable, a part of city infrastructure which is otherwise walkable.
By the time The Girl is the age I am as I write this, it will be the year 2049. This is one year before the big alternative energy target year in Europe – the EU energy roadmap for 2050 – that will completely discontinue dependence on fossil fuels, and nuclear power. By then, alternative energy will not be alternative. And mass transit won’t be a “nice to have”. I don’t know what the world will look like by then here in Canada, stuck as we are in 2013 having to endure subsidized propaganda about how oil pipelines are the future of economic prosperity, and as safe as mother’s milk.
If I’m still kickin’ by 2049, I’ll be 80, and still against all that!
In the meantime, a lot of the people in The Girl’s life live apart from each other; friends, relatives, and of course parents. It takes a while to get places sometimes. As is well documented here, I went without a car for a while, crossing bridges and making pick-ups that were often challenging. And even since I’ve had the car, we’ve talked about ways to use it responsibly, to take transit when we can, and definitely to walk places when it’s possible to do so.
In any case this sparked a discussion about mass transit as the Girl sees it. This isn’t just about her, and her immediate circle. We’re talking a global solution here!
Here it is: The Passway.
It’s an electrically-driven “elevator”-like public vehicle, that seats up to ten people, with room for bathrooms. You go into it, and decide on a destination – anywhere in the world. That’s how it’s kind of like the elevator idea, walking in and pressing a button to the floor you want to end up on. Only, with the Passway (so named because you are “passed” from one location to another), there is a central “brain” (her words!) that is accessed by way of a map interface – maybe like Google Earth or something (must confirm). You plot your course, and away you go. The Passway is supported by a network of wires that intersect all over the world.
“You can go to China!” asserts the Girl.
I haven’t asked her how much it costs (“why does the world need so much money?” she was quoted as saying last week, to which I had no conclusive answer …), or how long it would take to build. “I might invent it.” she says.
I’m hoping for a drawing. We’ll collaborate on it, as she also suggested. And I’ll post it here.
In the meantime, here’s a picture of the two of us; the burgeoning civil engineer, and her loyal draftsman.