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A Route 66 of the Future: Digital Travel

29 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 16 July 2013

Have you ever sat fuming in a car that was not going anywhere, as traffic ahead of you ground to a halt? You are not alone. Think of the passengers stuck in a jam three years ago in Beijing that lasted 12 days. We spend much of our lives on roads but they are often the least intelligent aspects of modern life, with arterial roads so clogged that at times, if an accident happens, far from sending an ambulance they might just as well have sent a hearse. But what if the road was intelligent and created its own energy to light up the motorway? What if you could take your hands off the steering wheel and let the car drive you?

We are all on the move, and arguably, transport problems are even worse in cities. Each week more than a million new people move to megacities. How do you move such huge numbers of people around the city on creaking, broken infrastructures? What can ordinary citizens do with hand-held digital tools to improve the transportation systems?

Click’s Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson, discuss the conundrum of technology and transport with a panel of experts: Marina Bradbury of the New Cities Foundation, NASA’s Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, the innovative designer Daan Roosegarde, and Tony Hirst from the Open University. They are given sat-nav guidance through the programme by Kathy Clugston; take the wheel of a driving simulator with Hamish Jamson; and are accompanied by Matthew Hainsby playing his song about the man who drives the most famous remote controlled car there is - the Mars Rover - Curiosity. Click joins forces with The Open University for a special edition at the BBC’s Radio Theatre, to debate on how technology can help to crack the gridlock that is too often a description of modern life.
(Photo credit: Solar Challenge car on Route 66 / Getty Images)


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