Aris Silzars Display Technology Consulting



A Ride into the Future…

I find myself in the fortunate position of not having to commute to and from work every day.   On those rare occasions when I have to be out on the road during rush hour, I find it difficult to accept that just about everyone else who is caught up in the traffic mess around me is having to do this each and every workday.  This seems like an incredible waste of human energy and resources.  During these daily “migrations”, what else is one to do except listen to some form of audio entertainment?  Fighting one’s way through the daily rush hour battle to get to and from work is not exactly a restful activity. 

Not only that, time spent driving is in direct conflict with our newly discovered fascination to be in constant electronic contact with everyone we know.  How can we check for and respond to all those important messages -- each and every minute of the day -- if we have to spend all this time paying attention to driving our cars?  And of course, if we take a longer trip by car, the problem just gets worse.   A really bad solution is to try to combine communicating with driving.  That can and will lead to a bad outcome for sure. 

Had we as a Society been a bit more astute, we might have seen a new opportunity emerging.  If instead of driving ourselves to and from work we let someone else do it, then we could spend all those wasted hours doing the constant communicating that has become so important to us.   No, I am not suggesting that we all hire personal chauffeurs.  What I am suggesting instead is an increased use of public transit – a trend that has apparently already been happening for several years now.  According to the National Household Travel Survey the vehicle miles traveled by those ages 16 to 34 fell by 23 percent from 2001 to 2009 while passenger miles on public transit increased by 40 percent.  Until I read about this, I had no idea that such a trend has already been occurring.

A well-run public transportation system could solve all sorts of problems.  We would no longer be frustrated in our needs for constant communication, we would be less tired when we arrive home at the end of the day, there would be fewer accidents, and there would be less pollution.   In effect, the world would become a nicer place for many of us.

The missing piece in this puzzle is the need to make public transportation more enjoyable.  Busses could be made more comfortable.  But the real opportunity may be in what could be done to improve train service in the US.  The shorter commuter train routes seem to be getting some attention already but progress is painfully slow.  The longer routes that need high-speed trains are in total disarray in the US.  We seem to be stuck in all kinds of political and economic issues while the opportunity passes us by.    

Are self-driving cars perhaps the answer?  They only resolve part of the problem.  Even if they work perfectly, they will not reduce the congestion on roads.  Clearly, it takes a lot more space and consumes more energy to move one person and the 3,000-pound car in which they are sitting than it does to just move that person.

As is often the case, the world changed in one area and we missed seeing the effect of this change on another -- seemingly unrelated area.  With our newfound addictive love of staring at the display screens of our electronic gadgets, more of us would prefer to spend our time communicating rather than driving our cars.  What a great opportunity this then becomes for those working to improve our mass transit networks.  If they could respond with a better product, i.e. more comfortable conveyances and improved schedules, the rest of us will respond by jumping on board.  This may not be so good for the automotive industry but it could be a very nice new direction for planet earth. 

Should you have some ideas that you would like to share on this topic, or others, you may contact me directly from this site, by e-mail at, or by telephone at 425-898-9117.    





19916 NE 30th Ct. Sammamish, WA 98074 Call 425.898.9117

Site by