Pod Cars in Rural- yes, please!

Blog Artist: Kayla Schnuelle
kschnuelle@nebraska.edu

When I think about ‘pain points’ for rural people living across this great nation usually my mind goes to: access to healthcare, quality daycare, community infrastructure, community leadership…the list goes on. But let’s take a ride into the future because many of the pain points in rural would be lessened if only we had a quick and affordable way to transport humans from the eastern border of Nebraska to the western edge of our state in 60 minutes. The tagline would be: “anywhere in Nebraska in 60 minutes or less.”  Sound impossible?

Dream with me… if you have a job in which you commute long distances it usually takes up several hours of your week. In my life, I estimate that on an average week, that requires no additional work travel, I’m in my car more than 10 hours. This is one entire day of productivity plus an hour for a nap!!!

Pod cars are a possible solution! The wide-use of quick, energy efficient pod cars would get us where we need to go, but also open options to access points for products and services. Imagine your grandma going into surgery in Scottsbluff, NE and you finding out at 6AM and being able to make it to the hospital by 7AM. Or envision working for Sandhills State Bank in Valentine but being able to visit all your branch locations on the same day to talk to your team about a new product that the bank is releasing. What if your child is sick in the middle of the night and you can make it to the pharmacy and back in 10 minutes when it used to be an hour drive.

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Does this change the rural landscape? Does it provide a turning point in how we do business, find products, work with talent–yes! Are there risks? ALWAYS –I can think of several reasons why having quick travel across our state would be viewed negatively, but the world is changing quickly and we need to think out 10 years and dream big about what might be in-store for rural people and places around the world.

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Now come back to 2017! Did you know that pod cars are already ‘on the streets’ in gated communities in Singapore. Read more here!  Some of these pods can hold up to 24 people.

Is this the next wave of serious change for rural America? Thinking back to Lewis and Clark, the gold rush of 1849, the invention of the telephone and now cellphones, the internet, wireless service in remote areas…I’d say anything is possible!

I hope that my post has challenged you to think forward and dream ‘a little’!

 

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