Q: What Will The Puget Sound Region’s Transportation Landscape Look Like in 20 Years?

A: This. No this. No this. No this. OK, I give up.

If you’d be interested in hearing some far more cogent and nuanced perspectives on that question, you may want to take your lunch this Friday May 1 in the Bertha Landes Knight Room at Seattle City Hall. There from 12 to 1:30pm you’ll find part one of a Town Hall series on “Visioning Puget Sound Region’s Transportation Future,” featuring these panelists:

Jan Drago, Chair, Transportation Committee, Seattle City Council
Kevin Desmond, General Manager, King County Metro
Chuck Ayers, Executive Director, Cascade Bicycle Club
Carla Archambault, General Manager, Zipcar Seattle
Eric de Place, Senior Researcher, Sightline Institute
Carla Saulter, Transit advocate and author of the Bus Chick blog on Seattle PI.com

My friend Eric de Place was kind enough to provide hugeasscity with a preview of his current thinking on the topic: “Oh, dude, you don’t even know, man. It’s gonna be crazy: jetpacks, freaking conveyor belt sidewalks, and lots of segways.” (Now, the cool thing about blogs is that there is zero accountability, which means you the reader can never be sure whether Eric actually said that, or I made it up. Truth be told, Eric is one of my favorite Seattle blogstars — cause though he’s a certified wonk he also writes things like this: “I’m glad they started a blog because now instead of waiting for one big annual reminder of my mortality, I can find frequent updates about how my life is passing.”)

Twenty years. Something like three quarters of a million more people in the region. Peak oil peaked. A few degrees warmer. That should be more than enough to put some serious fog in any crystal ball.

Looking back 20 years, nothing much changed in the transportation landscape of the Puget Sound region. Yes, there was incremental change along the established trajectory (i.e. more cars and roads), but nothing transformational. The prospects for transformational change appear to be much greater in the coming 20 years. But that’s what they all say.