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Creating “A Better Tomorrow” in America with Sustainable Transportation

Check out this video from America 2050, as part of its “A Better Tomorrow” project to create a “positive vision for the future of America built around investments in sustainable transportation and livable communities.”

No, the futuristic vision of a journey from Chicago to Detroit does not include jet packs or mile-high monorails floating above dystopias. Instead, it involves sidewalks, car sharing stations, high-speed trains, bikes, and light rail projects that average middle-class Americans can easily use because the public spaces that connect to the transportation modes are nice, safe and well maintained.

Imagine this: A day trip from Chicago to watch the White Sox play the Tigers in Detroit is easy to arrange because you can book your travel reservations and monitor transit connections using your smartphone. And of course, the 300-mile journey is much faster than it used to be, because of a new high-speed rail line that connects to a light rail system in Detroit, leading you straight to Comerica Park. (See what I had to say about inter-city rail travel here.)

Since all of the technology needed for this nice journey from Chicago to Detroit is available today, this short film helps us focus on what is really important: investments in infrastructure that will improve quality of life in cities and strengthen the connectivity of transportation infrastructure between cities in a low carbon, highly sustainable way.

Here’s a message from America 2050:

With the reauthorization of the surface transportation bill seemingly stalled indefinitely in Congress, we’ve been thinking lately at America 2050 about what is needed to get Americans excited about transportation. Last week’s announcement about high-speed rail was a start, but generally, the public dialogue about transportation tends to focus on the negative — congestion, cost, and deterioration of our infrastructure. Given the tremendous need to invest in coming decades to accommodate America’s projected population growth, wouldn’t it be nice to focus on how a 21st century transportation system would benefit America?

In line with this theme, America 2050 is launching a video competition in April 2010 for people to share ideas about how we will travel in 2050. The “Journey to Detroit” video was produced in collaboration with PBS Blueprint America and WNET. It will be aired in excerpts on PBS tonight at 10 p.m. EST as part of the documentary, “Blueprint America: Beyond the Motor City.” According to PBS, “The film examines how Detroit, a symbol of America’s diminishing status in the world, may come to represent the future of transportation and progress in America.”

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