Transportation Systems from the Flinstones to the Jetsons (Ohio State Univ. Knowlton School of Architecture lecture 2010)

Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture Lecture Series
Information and Travel Behavior: Is Change Possible?
September 2010

Dr. Gulsah Akar, an Assistant Professor, at the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State gave a phenomenal presentation using clever references of Hanna-Barbera animated TV sitcoms, which truly captivated the multi-generational audience of students, professors and visitors.

The lecture began with elaborating animated references of “traveling through time”.

First, the Flinstones series was a fantasy-version of modern day lifestyle during the Stone Age where cavemen ate, walked and lived life relying on dinosaurs and birds for operating machines, especially cars. Birds squawked to “work” the role of carhorns and cavemen “walked” their cars.

The Jetsons series was a futuristic-version of modern day lifestyle during the Space Age where robots, aliens, and whimsical characters played the power figure in machinery, technology and other functional activities to depend on.

These references of pre-historic and futuristic ways of living modern day lifestyle show ways in how inhabitants behavior would possibly adapt or change depending on the availability of resources to rely on, no matter which time period.

Ms. Akar excelled in animating the audience into grasping a better concept of change. She then carried us into the next idea of wondering if it is possible, then how can changes affect our current transportation system? First of all, congestion, inefficiencies, wasted fuel resources, and wasted time are predominately major impediments in allowing for any remote possibility of change.

Statistics and graphs were shown to prove studies that demands in improving traffic operations and management of control flow were to be experiment and needed to search for solutions before change were to occur. Multiple graphs compared activity patterns and human decisions with travel problems and attitudes. According to the graphs, travel decisions were made according to people’s responses in frustration of heavily congested travels and low expectations in enjoying their plans for destination.

These behavior changes studied resulted in the need for alternative ways in traveling less, becoming more economical, more efficient, and advocating “greener” solutions. The demand for highly-intelligent transportation systems would allow for a better means of coverging all incoming traffic at different locations in advance. This type of system would be an example of an efficient model for improved behaviors thus improved changes in our modern transportation system. Smart technology, reduced red light wait periods and more current flow of data on travel decisions would all be exceptional factors for improved behaviors.

Travel demands and how people make activity choices were highly studied throughout Ms. Akar’s research. She concluded that activity travels depend on external environments, lifestyle and other implications.

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