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What Judges Don’t Understand About Transportation

What Judges Don’t Understand About Transportation

There are no crystal balls, yet some judges expect planners and policymakers to
predict the future anyway.
August 1 2017
By Alan Ehrenhalt  |  Senior Editor

It’s tough to make predictions,” Yogi Berra warned us. “Especially about the future.” That is a true statement concerning virtually every field of human endeavor, but it is especially true when it comes to predicting the future of cities and the way people will be moving around them many years hence. We love to make bold guesses about how we will transport ourselves a generation or two down the road. These guesses have one thing in common: They almost always turn out to be wrong.

Back in 1894, a distinguished panel of New York citizens peering into the urban future issued a distant early warning. By 1930 or so, they said, the streets of Manhattan would be virtually impassable due to an exponential increase in the amount of manure dropped by horses pulling carriages. That prediction probably made sense at the time. It just failed to account for the invention of the automobile.

Fifty years ago, there were scientists at the nation’s leading universities speculating that by the end of the century, Americans would be commuting to work in personal jet planes they could park on backyard landing strips. It didn’t seem far-fetched. We may laugh about it now, but “The Jetsons” looked to much of the mid-century engineering elite like a glimpse into an inevitable future. Once again, it was a bit off the mark... FULL ARTICLE

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