There are at least 254.4 million registered passenger vehicles, 830 numbered highways and somewhere around 121,446 gas stations in the U.S. today. U.S. air traffic controllers oversee somewhere around 64 million takeoffs and landings each year, and there are approximately 87,000 flights in U.S. airspace every day flying out of the 19,820 airports of all types. All these numbers add up to a lot of people going a lot of places.
The landscape of transportation has changed dramatically over the past decade. Travel in a post-9/11 world has implicated heightened security measures that have, in effect, caused us to question how we view our constitutional rights to privacy. Sam McCann’s article about the new full-body scanners explores how the illusion of safety may be more vital than actual protection when it comes to airport security.
Flying might be a pain in the ass, but more people than ever are jetsetting across the world. For other means of traveling, Isabel Braverman writes in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to America” about how going on an adventure can be as easy as stricking your thumb out. In a globalized world with people moving and doing things across the universe, transportation is becoming more and more a part of our personal lives. Sometimes, people embark on trips more for the experience than for the mere purpose of reaching a destination. As Chris Zivalich writes in “Fixing the USA,” cross-country road trips can create fond memories and also jaded revelations about Middle America.
Even with these changes to the transportation scene, we should look at what hasn’t changed. We’re well into the 21st century, but we have yet to experience the grand technological inventions predicted by numerous sci-fi movies and TV shows. Sure, hybrid cars are neat and all, but where are the hoverboards? Mariana Garces’ article, “The Future Just Ain’t What It Used to Be,” analyzes the scientific community’s lack of ability to live up to movie producers’ lofty transportation expectations. We personally think scientists will perfect the time machine within the next century. Trust us. We’ve seen the future.
Anyway, donations to our Buzzsaw car can be made in the basement of Bogart. Leopard-print steering wheel and seat covers are acceptable, too.