Future mobility in the citySigns that change messages as curb demand flexes, autonomous school buses that also deliver packages, car-free downtown cores, and friendly delivery robots are among the revelations a prominent futurist predicts for urban mobility in the not-too-distant future.

Devin Liddell, chief futurist at Teague, a Seattle-based company working on transportation, outlined his predictions at the Seattle Interactive Conference last week and expanded on his thoughts for GeekWire. Among them:

  • Redesigning drones so they don’t resemble wasps–or scary images from science fiction movies–will be key to getting people to accept them for deliveries and other urban tasks.
  • Dynamic signage that changes curb use from delivery to drop-off and pick-up to parking to other uses as demands change will make a big difference in how the limited space is used.
  • Artificial intelligence will transform the way people get to and around airports, up to and including TSA screening aboard shuttles rather than in long lines.
  • A new form of transportation that’s “faster than walking but lighter and smaller than bicycling and — here’s the rub — makes me look like cool while I use it, or at least not uncool,” will change the way people get around.
  • Delivery robots will help people trust autonomous vehicles, at least once AV technology improves.

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