Infrastructure, Innovation, Technology, Transportation

Adapted from AECOM’s Future of Infrastructure report, Veronica Siranosian and Andrew Bui from our AECOM Ventures team imagine what life will be like in 2030 with the built world transformed — reshaped by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Many of us have envisioned a future filled with flying cars, homes run by artificial intelligence and travel at supersonic speeds. As new technologies make these ideas a reality and begin to revolutionize our infrastructure, we take a look at some of the emerging trends and imagine a day in the life in the year 2030.

Sustainable infrastructure designed for you

It’s 2030 and you’re asleep in your environmentally friendly home, constructed more durably, precisely and cost-effectively than those built just a few years ago, due in large part to 3D printing technologies.

Your home lighting and temperature controls automatically respond to the elements outside to create an ideal inside atmosphere. Every fixture and feature is designed to sense and react to your needs. Some, such as your smart walls, are made of programmable materials that respond to external stimuli. Others are directed by sensors you control with a word or a flick of the wrist.

Systems built into homes, offices and other buildings also capture, store and treat rainwater for everyday use. And more and more homes are powered by super batteries that store and use energy generated via solar panels and other renewable sources.

Alternate transit = space for living

More people rely on walking, biking, public transportation and mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) providers, who integrate multiple modes into a single transportation service platform, including fleets of autonomous electric vehicles. As a result, urban and curbside real estate once filled with vehicles is being reclaimed for communities.

Your home is located in a former multi-story parking lot, re-purposed in record time using 3D printing, providing sustainable, affordable housing for the city’s growing population.

It’s good to talk

Your transit agency app alerts you that your usual multi-modal journey is congested and advises you of a new plan that includes a shared, electric, connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) to get to the office.

The introduction of CAVs, combined with MaaS, improved “connected vehicle” services, shared vehicle use and sustainable fuels have revolutionized transportation, improving safety, easing congestion, improving air quality and increasing social inclusion and mobility options.

Connected vehicle technologies allow transport systems, roads, infrastructure and smart devices to speak to each other and process big data. Automated technologies enable vehicles to respond in real time to avoid potential dangers, such as missed red lights, speeding vehicles and sudden stops, as well as congestion or travel issues.

Charge as you go

Smart powered lanes help CAVs go the distance, using wireless technology that enables vehicles to charge their batteries as they drive on the road at full speed. Any excess energy generated can be used to power people’s homes, workplaces and communities.

As your CAV bus drops you off at the nearest mobility hub to your office, you complete the last part of your journey with a Pod on Demand (PoD). These next-generation PoDs are a sustainable, cheap and fast way to move around, helping people, businesses and communities better connect with each other.

Your PoD moves seamlessly from road to sidewalk, directed by connected and autonomous technologies, navigating around pedestrians and other vehicles efficiently and safely.

The only way is down

Urban real estate remains at a premium, driving many businesses to locate themselves in deep-basement offices. When you get to work, you go down. Energy-efficient trap lights, which run throughout the building, use photoluminescent pigments to capture and give out light. This, alongside a glass atrium, helps keep the structure bright.

Express delivery

In the morning, your packages are delivered via Hyperloop. This high-speed technology enables goods and passengers to be transported comfortably and seamlessly in pods capable of traveling at subsonic speeds through low-pressure tubes. Crossing hundreds of miles in a matter of minutes, people and businesses are no longer limited by their location. The Hyperloop system works in conjunction with other transit and pod systems, helping to balance and drive economic growth.

A virtual journey

In the afternoon, using augmented reality (AR) as part of your work, you digitally recreate a planned finished building, using photorealistic textures, materials and lighting to take a walk through an upcoming project. Incorporating digital building information modeling (BIM) data, you’re able to highlight potential delays and issues, and contact other team members to discuss possible fixes — weeks in advance.

You have a catch up with colleagues, who beam in from around the world as holograms.

Catching a flight home

At the end of the day, you take an aviation taxi home. The sky is increasingly populated by delivery drones, running alongside flying autonomous vehicles, and governed by strict air traffic control rules and initiatives, such as designated flight lanes and tolls.

After a short wait, your taxi — an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft — arrives to fly you home ready for tomorrow and what the future will bring.

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Originally published Apr 16, 2018

Authors: Veronica Siranosian , Andrew Bui