Nothing underscores how we do not live in the future as much as the daily commute. If travelling by car, then chances are the vehicle is running on a combustion engine – around since 1886 – that is emitting carbon and hastening climate change. The morning headlines blaring from your speakers are transmitted through radio waves, a form of communication that alerted people on land that the Titanic was sinking back in 1912.
Elsewhere, the insult of public transportation is fairly universal. Timely, clean and reliable buses and trams are not the norm, but still the hallmark of a well-managed, well-funded city. And for those lucky enough to catch the breeze in their hair by walking or biking to work, well, those simple pleasures are more timeless than they are ultra-modern. Whichever mode of transport you use, the daily commute today does not look all that different from how our grandparents got to work. The pandemic has changed that, however, all at once but not for all. Now, more attention is being paid to places that make the commute more sustainable, safer and, in some cases, more fun.
The National spoke to more than a dozen experts in urban planning, economics, transportation and real estate to understand the changing shape of this global necessity, which has been around since Ancient Greece.