Travel in the future

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by majormajor, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. majormajor

    majormajor One Too Many

    I see that the UK government are a step nearer finalising their plans for a high-speed rail link between London and the north of England.

    They say it will knock one hour off the travel time, and thus encourage more business meetings outside London. The thing is envisaged to be working by 2032, and will cost £30 billion ($45 billion).

    Does any politician REALLY believe that you will need to travel by train to have a meeting by 2032??

    Some kind of holographic smell-o-vision Skype will be installed on every device by then - maybe even implanted into our skull! Virtual meetings will take place at the push of button, or maybe just the mention of a word.

    How to waste £30 billion.........:eeek:;)
  2. esteban68

    esteban68 Call Me a Cab

    or high speed hover boards will get us where we want to go?
  3. esteban68

    esteban68 Call Me a Cab

    seriously though i work in a field that requires plenty and i mean plenty of meetings with clients of all types and we ve tried phone conferences, phone calls , text messaging , video conferencing and there is no real substitute for a face to face meeting where you can see the whites of their eyes see their body language and smell their fear and you need this to get a real feeling for the person ... To gain their trust and to trust them....its to easy to be lied to over the phone etc! IMHO
  4. majormajor

    majormajor One Too Many

    I agree entirely esteban. Right now, we do not have good enough technology to replicate face-to-face meetings.

    But consider how technology has changed in the last 20 years, and then (bearing in mind that the rate of innovation gets faster all the time) consider how it will change over the next 20 years.

    To spend that kind of cash, on a system that could well be out of date by the time it is finished, just seems a waste[huh]
  5. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Also, I've found that it takes 10 times the amount of meeting time over electronic means than a face-to-face meeting. There's just plain some times you need to see each other face to face to get stuff done. Sometimes a day of travel time is less time wasted than in electronic meetings.
  6. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I've just spent six hours battling over the phone with a remote "technical support" technician who instigated an unauthorized software upgrade over our network that nearly shut us down for the night. It's a good thing for him it wasn't a face to face meeting, or he'd be carrying his head home under his arm.

    Technology is a long long way from being foolproof. Sometimes it's all fool and no proof.
  7. Old Rogue

    Old Rogue Practically Family

    Eastern North Carolina
    Add me to the list of those who feel you just can't replace face to face meetings. I regularly use video and tele conferences at work to communicate with colleagues around the country. They are useful tools, but just don't allow the full range of interaction, teaming and communication that occur in a face to face meeting.

    PS: I do agree that in most cases it ludicrous for the government to spent outrageous sums of money on projects such as high speed rail. If there is a genuine demand for a product or service the free market will figure that out and supply it, and it will almost always do it far more cost-effectively than a government project.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  8. vitanola

    vitanola I'll Lock Up

    Gopher Prairie, MI

    Like the trans-continental rail road, or rural electrification.

    Of course.
  9. majormajor

    majormajor One Too Many

    As I said at the beginning, I agree with everybody that video conferencing is not currently a viable alternative to face-to-face meetings.

    But what I am saying is that in 20 years, it probably will be.

    20 years ago, no-one carried mobile phones - I remember an item on TV about new phone-box designs. Now, that would be completely redundant in our smartphone equipped present day.

    By 2032 (when the new railway is planned to be finished), I could well be able to have a conference video call with you, and if I prodded your "virtual" self, you would feel it.

    If video conferencing becomes as ubiquitous as making a mobile/cell phone call, the rail link will be a very expensive white elephant.

    And that is not even considering what advances might be made in Air travel. We went from the Wright Brothers first flight to the Boeing 747 in a little over 50 years. I think they might just improve a touch more by 2032.:D;)
  10. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    London, UK
    Be interesting to see how long this thread lasts, outside forum topic!

    I don't see remote meeting ever fully replacing face to face. A lot of what I do involves students and professionals from all over the world. In many cultures, particularly China and India, I find that the face to face meeting is still highly valued. With our project in Beijing we do use video conferencing between London and China when necessary, but it is no replacement for physical presence at high-level meetings, meet and greets with alumni, graduation ceremonies, and the likes.

    As to air travel, I would love to see trains improve to the point where air travel becomes redundant. Already there is no major city in Britain travelling to which by air offers any advantage over the train (aside from price in some instances - certainly the crazy cost of train tickets needs to be addressed). I regularly travelled to Glasgow for some years and the train was a superior experience on every level. If that could be replicated Europe-wide with a high speed network, flying could become largely redundant, which I would welcome. Flying within Britain is environmentally irresponsible - I hope it will eventually become so redundant across Europe, replaced by cleaner, greener and all-round more pleasant train transport. Now if only someone could create a high speed train link to Glasgow with a corresponding chunnel-like service between there and Belfast...
  11. LaMedicine

    LaMedicine One Too Many

    As someone who already lives in a country with high speed rail service from north to south for a total of 2177.5km (1361 miles).
    Shin-Aomori (north) - Kagoshima-Chuo (south) takes a total of around 11hours with train changes twice, at Tokyo and Shin-Kobe. Whether one thinks this is vaiable or not depends on the person, I'd guess.
    However, if one lives in Tokyo, Kyoto (476km/298miles) is only 2hrs 14 minutes away, and Osaka (515.4km/332miles) is 2.5 hours away. It's quite possible to take a day trip if you're up to it, which I have done numerous times in the past.

    On another note, my husband's home town is a city called Fukui, which is located along the coastline of the Sea of Japan, and is 315km/197.5miles due west of Tokyo.
    By air, it's a 65min flight from Tokyo International to Komatsu, then an hour by bus into the city. It takes about 75 mins from our home to the airport. Add to that the time allowance for security and boarding on/off which can take up to an hour total, which totals 4 hours or so.
    By train, because of the Japan Alps, it's a round about route that totals 508km/317miles. Tokyo-Maibara (408.2km/255miles=132mins) by Shinkansen (bullet train) and Maibara-Fukui (99.9km/62.4miles=63mins) by local express that takes 3 hrs 15 mins, plus 40 minutes from home to Tokyo Station. About 4 hours.
    Plus, the number of trains and the number of passengers one train can carry, compared to planes, give trains an edge over air travel here.
    So, we prefer to travel by train as it feels like less of a hassle than travelling by air
    In fact, last fall, we went back for a family service, which we made a day trip due to our work schedules. We left our home at 8 in the morning, and came back just before midnight. We were able to spend the afternoon and early evening with family, before hopping on the train to head home.

    KILO NOVEMBER Practically Family

    Cheapeake Bay Drainage Basin
    The trans-continental railroad (that's in the US) was built by private capital. I will grant that the right-of-way used by the private railroad firms was provided by the US federal government, and that the railroad would not have been built without that aid. But the railroad itself was built and operated by private capital (albeit using bonds backed by the US federal government). Keep in mind, federal government creditworthiness wasn't as substantial in the mid 19th century as it became in the mid 20th century.

    In the case of rural electrification, that couldn't have been done without government cash because, as the OP put it, there was no "genuine demand" for it. By genuine demand, I mean customers with money willing to provide enough of it to entreprenuers to induce them to take the risk with their own capital to build the system.

    Like any government project, economic considerations are only one factor, and most often not the most important factor, going in to the decision.
  13. vitanola

    vitanola I'll Lock Up

    Gopher Prairie, MI
    Well, private capital alone was simply not availle for a transcontinental road in the '60's. The road received considerable capital infusion from the governement guaranteed bonds in amounts varying $16,000 to $48,000 per mile, and the grant of every alternate secton of land for ten miles one either side of the right of way, anout 6400 acres per mile of track. This road was actually a sterling example of what we would now call a Public-Private Partnership. The guaranteed bonds assured that the capital would be available to build the roas, and the extensive land grants were really a rather canny move, for the very presence of the railroad brought value to the lands which the government retained far in excess of the undivided lands without the railroad. The increased value of the portions of the land retained by the Government consideraly outstripped the overall costs to the Government of this most necessary of internal improvements.

    Private capital was no more ale to build the transcontinental railroad than it was alble to build the interstate highhway system, the National Road, the Chicago Military Road or the TVA precisly because these internal improvements had a value which was not entirely expressile in pecuniary terms
  14. J.W.

    J.W. A-List Customer

    Here in Germany, they had plans for the "Transrapid", a high speed monorail train system. They sold the blueprints to China last year or so, because that project would never materialize here. We're not very good at transport projects at the moment (the new airport in Berlin is nightmare, they still don't know what to do with the new station in Stuttgart). Imagine a train capable of traveling at 500 kilometers per hour/300mph, linking the European capitals and major cities en route! That would have made inter-European air travel superfluous. I'm really sorry that they scrapped the idea, because I'm a huge fan of public transport systems. The should have asked all the airlines to get involved, in order to spread the costs.
  15. 1961MJS

    1961MJS My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Norman Oklahoma

    The problem with high speed rail (and most government transportation projects in the past few decades) isn't the transportation itself, it's the way the Government(s) do things. The right people have to be given the work, for the right unions, in the right cities, and the land must be purchased after the right people own it. (But I'm not jaded...)

    When I worked on the Space Station program (jobs program for engineers), I saw something I was really ticked off about. One of the congressional districts had a $100 million portion of the program. Since the internal systems had to be finished before they were installed into the cans, then launched, the subcontractors had to get done early. The congressman reliably voted for Space Station until the jobs in his district were successfully completed, then he voted to cancel the program. In short he voted to blow $100 million in his district to buy something which he then voted to NOT USE and throw away.

    Gotta love politicians.

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