Bill Ford, Jr. speaks at TED 2011 - Click above to watch the video after the jump

Most of us are aware of Bill Ford, Jr.'s obsession with green technology that will help conserve fossil fuels while at the same time preserving the environment, but what you may not know that the Ford family scion is also very much interested in the future of gridlock.

Ford spoke at the Technology Entertainment and Design 2011 conference (better known as TED) to discuss the growing problem, and it appears the traffic buildup has just begun. The Ford Motor Company Chairman said in the post-jump video that the population of the planet is expected to jump from 6.8 billion people to about nine billion by mid-century. And with other countries around the world continuing to prosper, we could see cars and trucks on the road grow from today's 800 million vehicles to between two and four billion by 2050. That's a big jump, and when you consider that the typical commute in Shanghai is now about five hours, you can see how big a problem gridlock can become.

Hit the jump to read Ford Motor's TED conference press release, then feel free to watch video of Ford's speech. Towards the end of the video, Ford shows that some solutions to gridlock are beginning to present themselves, including smart vehicles that can communicate traffic information to one another in real-time, but there is still a lot of work to do.



Show full PR text
Bill Ford believes sustainability is the biggest issue facing business in the 21st century. While breakthroughs made in recent years have made him confident that technology will provide a solution to the CO2 challenge, another issue – "Global Gridlock" – is quietly taking its place.

The problem can be defined by numbers. The world's population is growing and is becoming more affluent. There are approximately 6.8 billion people in the world today. Within our lifetime, that number will approach 9 billion. Today, there are about 800 million vehicles on the road worldwide but by mid-century that number could grow to between 2 and 4 billion.

If we continue to follow the personal mobility model that is now in place the world's roads are going to become too crowded. Commutes will become longer; traffic jams will become larger and more ubiquitous. Economic opportunity will be stifled. More time and resources will be squandered while people try to get from point A to point B. This all threatens the promises of both physical and social mobility which in turn lessens opportunities to improve the world's standards of living.

There's no single answer to this new threat to our mobility, and it isn't going to be solved by one person or group. It's going to take corporations, entrepreneurs, NGOs, universities, governments and other interested parties all working together to build a global, interconnected system of transportation and mobility solutions. Smart businesses, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists will see this as a tremendous opportunity and a job creator.

Cars, of course, will always be a major mobility enabler, but they will need to better work in harmony with other cars and other forms of transportation. We need smart cars and smart infrastructure that communicate and use real-time data to maximize their efficiency. We also need to tie in innovative solutions like new, ground up development models (city of Masdar), traffic management (34th St. in Manhattan) and smart parking. The good news is that progress is being made on all of these fronts.

At Ford, we are rapidly expanding our commitment to intelligent cars that can wirelessly talk to each other to help make driving safer, more efficient and more enjoyable. We're doubling our intelligent vehicle investment in 2011, and we've initiated a new 20-member task force of scientists and engineers to explore the technology's broader possibilities.

Just as we all embraced the green energy challenge, we must now start attacking global gridlock with the same passion. We are starting to make progress, but we've got a long way to go.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's 2011 and I live in a major metroplex of 6 million plus and we can't even get intelligent traffic lights installed nor can we build effective mass transit because it's socialist or something. Yes, there still is a lot of work to do indeed.
      BILL BONER
      • 3 Years Ago
      "when you consider that the typical commute in Shanghai is now about five hours" What? "t takes a commuter an average of 47 minutes to get to work in Shanghai, the third-longest time of 50 Chinese cities, according to a survey issued by China's Academy of Sciences. " Source: http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/shanghai/node23919/node23923/userobject22ai38831.html
      Kevin O'Neill
      • 3 Years Ago
      Teleportation.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        • 3 Years Ago
        [blocked]
      Design1stCode2nd
      • 3 Years Ago
      Very simple fix, which has been talked about for years, telecommute. Get fiber to the home, some robust network access, webcam, yadda yadda and a fair amount of white collar commute can be alleviated. Combine that with good mass transit and problem solved. See that took you 30 seconds to read and I’ve solved the problem, amazing!
      Healthy Chap
      • 3 Years Ago
      Global gridlock is a consequence of the commons.
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      10 years ago Bill Ford was busy pushing Ford to build more and more SUVs as its "profit base" whle at the same time deriding small cars and hybrids and gimmick in the US. He ran the company into the ground between 2001 to 2006. Now we're all supposed to **** ourselves because he's figured out the solution to congestion. bitch please
      Bryan Lund
      • 3 Years Ago
      At least Bill Ford doesn't appeat to be wearing lipstick in the picture at the very top of this. Good grief. The fags are ruining this country, little bits at a time.
      postpast
      • 3 Years Ago
      Multi Level Hyways. keep the bottom for truck large cars, second level for light cars, third level for walking, bikes. overlap then at intercections. It will be expensive but we need to do it.
        bvz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @postpast
        and what happens when you get to the end of the highways? You can't increase the capacity of the system in one place without generating congestion in another. The trend is to remove highways inside of cities now, and especially double-decker ones. Seems like the solution is to have better land management so that people don't have to travel as far to do simple everyday things like shop or go to work.
          postpast
          • 3 Years Ago
          @bvz
          If you took down the Gardiner in Toronto (which consultants have been suggesting for decades) people of Toronto would rightfully riot! Multi level roads are only ineffective when there are single level interchanges. We are in the 21 century and multi level interchanges are rare (BUT HIGHLY EFFICENT). Where would they go after the highway? To their bedroom community! To multi level city roads! To Mechanized 10-20 story parking complexes! To shops and business that are now on a major walking/biking route that connects a city. Land management to control city expansion is flawed. My town 100 miles for a major city doesn't deserve to be a city? My land (a year ago worth millions) that my family has been smartly managing for generations is now worth nothing (cause I don't own it anymore and development is forbidden.) Farmers Feed Cities!! Canada, and many parts of the US where built on farmers, while the occasional salesperson, mariner, construction worker etc… helped out a bit. Over 100 years ago there was a electric train that connected my little town with Downtown Toronto in 45 min. It must be nice to believe that smarter lights, or cars, or drivers, are going to cut down on congestion. 100,000 people from Barrie; 50 thousand from Newmarket/North and 500,000 from east and west suburbs are going to Toronto each and every day. To think you could reduce this number would be delusional. Cars and heavy cars/ trucks need to be separated. I would drive an Accent or Fiesta if I didn't have to share the road with trucks/SUV. A new dedicated roadway for light vehicles would greatly increase their usage. Car companies would build cars to comply with weight restrictions (that will be lowered over time( about 3300 today)). Roadways could be built lighter because they don’t need to carry the weight, and roadways could be kept smooth, greatly increasing light car comfort.
      m5nm3
      • 3 Years Ago
      we need more traffic circles, pronto
      tipdrip215
      • 3 Years Ago
      So he claims to be an environmentalist. I work in a tire shop; I'm going to start keeping track of all of the Fords that show up that were made when Bill was president. At least 80% must be Explorers, Expeditions, or F150s. Sure enough, he doesn't put his money where his mouth is.
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