Where’s my jetpack?

From page 24 of Traffic In Towns, the 1963 Buchanan Report to the Minister of Transport:

The future of the motor vehicle

[…] it would be foolish to embark upon drastic and expensive alterations to towns to accommodate motor traffic if there were any serious doubt as to its continuance as a means of transport.

The possibility most usually canvassed is that within a measurable time some kind of individual jet-propulsion unit will be developed, of which a rudimentary form has already been tried out in the U.S.A. for military use.  This may well come about, but the problems of weather, navigation, air-space and traffic control appear so formidable that it may be questioned whether such a device would ever be practical for mass use, for either freight or passengers, in the crowded conditions of the modern city.  One only has to think of the rush-hour conditions in any large city to realise what would be involved.

The history of transport is a history of revolutions — cart horses on tracks, narrow boats on canals, steam engines on rails, and cars on roads.  I guess in the 1960s, era of progress, revolution, and invention, it was obvious that this periodic replacement of one technology by another would go on forever.

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6 responses to “Where’s my jetpack?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Where’s my jetpack? | At War With The Motorist -- Topsy.com

  2. I remember hearing somewhere that part of the logic for the lack of investment in the railway network was due to the belief that people would have their own helicopters by now rendering commuter trains unnecessary. This was the era in which many of our town centres were designed, the era when ideas such as ever-expanding road capacity to “ease congestion,” started. It is a shame we haven’t made much progress in transport planning since then.

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