Costa Rica has a population of 4.7 million and covers 19,730 square miles. That is roughly bigger than if you were to combine New Hampshire and Vermont, and it is smaller than 41 of our US states.
I am told by my airBnB host that Monday traffic is very heavy and backs up on his block. He goes to the university in Heredia, which is just over 14 miles away. With traffic on a bus, this can take an hour and a half. To take a train, he has to arrive 45 minutes before his train to secure a seat and then the train is half an hour.
With the amount of space that is available, I find it hard to believe that these problems have not been resolved. Traffic is a world wide phenomenon and it needs to be fixed, particularly around the bottleneck of commuter hours. Note, I live in New York where the population exceeds 8 million and covers 321 square miles*.
Other larger cities face this problem have their own each varying solutions, such as
- Brazil’s Sao Paulo is the helicopter commuting capital of the world
- Japan has special train staff that pushes and packs people on to trains – I do not advocate this method, but it is worth watching
What do cities do when populations and jobs increase? How is it that as cities have scaled, people have not modeled themselves after cities with optimized solutions? Cities continue to grow and face the same problems. I have been thinking of this more as cities are growing world wide and in the US, they are growing faster than suburbs.
It is a big problem, but I like complexity and I love a challenge. I want to see more solutions approaching this problem. Today some people are working on different parts of the problem:
- Google tested a self-driving car, which you can consider how it can plan the best times for you to travel to and from work
- ET3 in Colorado is working on a tube network for world travel
- Recently Elon Musk announced Hyperloop to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes
I want the apartment featured in this talk.
* Note nyc.gov site claims 301 square miles total, but when you add up the boroughs’ totals you get 321.9
Video Source: TED.com