Global Doubling of Cars Versus Doubling of People

The World population of people is not expected to double by 2100. There are currently 7.9 billion people and this should reach 10 billion in 2050 and maybe 11.2 billion in 2100. This assumes that average world life expectancy increase from 72 today to about 80-85 in 2100. If world life expectancy increased by 10 years from the UN baseline to 90-95 then there would be 400 million to 800 million more people in 2100. If world life expectancy increased by 20 years from the UN baseline to 90-95 then there would be another 400 million to 800 million more people in 2100. If there was a leap in radical life extension starting in 2040 and this was distributed to most people in the world by 2070 then there would be about 3-4 billion more people from the UN baseline in 2100. The same resulting world population in 2100 could also happen in households in Africa still had about 4 children instead of decreasing to family sizes of two children as expected in the UN baseline. The maximum human population that is possible in the world is a doubling of the current population-based upon a radical life extension scenario combined with the expected natural population increase.

There were 1 billion cars in the world in 2010. This figure represents the number of cars, trucks (light, medium and heavy-duty), and buses, but does not include off-road vehicles or heavy construction equipment. The world vehicle population passed the 500 million-unit mark in 1986 and 250 million motor vehicles in 1970.

The world population of humans has doubled since 1975 but the number of vehicles is up about 5 times. The US, Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia have over 700 million vehicles today. The places in the world where the population increased by about 50% or less still had more than a doubling in vehicles since 1975. The average mass of the vehicles has increased. There were a lot of 4000-pound vehicles in 1975 but there were also 1800 pound Beetles. Many of today’s trucks and SUVs are 5000 pounds. We shifted from smaller vehicles in the 1970s to SUV, Trucks and minivans. The total global vehicle fleet mass is about seven times more today the global fleet in 1975. Global oil consumption only doubled from 1970 to today because of more efficient engines.

Air travel was relatively rare in the 1970s and is now common. Houses and apartments were smaller in the 1970s. Those have all grown faster than the population increase. Per capita income is increasing and about 70% of the world will be middle class or richer by 2060.

Between 1950 and 1970, the vehicle population doubled roughly every 10 years. World light-duty motor vehicles will reach 2 billion units in 2035. World vehicles could reach 4 billion in 2060-2080. This scenario might be avoided if full self-driving enables robo-taxis and self-driving trucks. The self-driving scenario could reduce the world fleet of vehicles by a factor of 5 to 10. The self-driving reduction of vehicles would have less of a reduction in vehicles if people were in mobile offices and still had low occupancy in vehicles.

The amount of energy and resources used is less a factor of how many people there are in the world than the technology we have, the vehicles we use and various aspects of per capita wealth.

There are many other options for having a lighter and more efficient environmental footprint than reducing family size.

People could choose not to drive 2000 to 3000 kilogram SUVs and large trucks. SUVs and heavy trucks are about 60% of the new vehicles in the USA.
People could still drive vehicles but lighter and more efficient vehicles.

If the world increases from a life expectancy of 92 from 72 today then this would be about half of the maximum population increase from a radical life extension scenario (by 2100). A life expectancy of 92 is natural and is already achieved by Asian women in New Jersey. There is no super medicine involved. There is also no talking about any “horror” than Asian women in New Jersey eat well, take care of themselves, are affluent and live to 92.

The 1970s film and science fiction book Logan’s Run had the premise that people had to be killed at the age of 21 or 30 to manage resources. The consumption of resources are maintained in equilibrium by killing everyone who reaches the age of thirty. The book had the age of mandatory death at 21.

If vehicles and industry no longer use fossil fuels (but solar, wind and nuclear fission and nuclear fusion) and we have advanced additive manufacturing (3d printing) and full recycling of products then we can support 100 billion on Earth with less impact than 8 billion people today.

Even with virtual immortality, the world population would not reach 100 billion until about 2300-2500.

We will have mass-produced fully reusable space vehicles by 2030. Full solar system colonization will be trivial by 2050-2080.

The solar system has 1 billion times the resources of the Earth and the solar system can support a population over 1 billion times more than the Earth.

SOURCE- Wikipedia, UN population forecast, Logan’s Run
Written By Brian Wang,

57 thoughts on “Global Doubling of Cars Versus Doubling of People”

  1. In fact, the increase in the number of cars is a very urgent problem, even I would say, an urgent challenge to the global ecology of our planet. It's all about harmful emissions into the atmosphere. But fortunately, many people use hybrids or fully electric drive. So the situation is getting better!

  2. I see now, the closers were mistakenly made part of the URL. Did not matter this time, but can easily be a prob.

  3. (( Yes and no, depending on points of views. The editor's output does not represent average/preferences of intention/volition, what wasn't connecting parentheses to link? Feedback without obligatory email address would be more progressive? ))

  4. A spinning cylinder can be escaped by going *uphill* the radius of the cylinder, with g decreasing to 0 at center. You get more g if you go *outwards/down*. To launch from Earth or Moon? "under a few miles of rock" why have you not done that, on Earth? All you have to do is take the inner 3 ft or so of the cave interior walls, do the same in Space, and you get the best of all, protection AND access.

  5. I do think high population density will return, when there are transportation systems that are personal, direct, and have no or modest issues with vehicle storage.

  6. (( while off-topic, it might be of use, analyzing, why people like down-voting and if down-votes correlate with increasing implementation of ai or doubling population interacting on www? is one of most interactive and transparent net sites and mature conversation habits, so even more controversively to discuss, considering value added, here?
    Interesting comments filter: ))

  7. Did we discuss this once before? I think it is a given that audio must also contribute to the illusion, or it would not be very compelling. They have 2D treadmills for VR. Theoretically, they could add some ground texture variability, even a few inches of water, if it was called for. They can use their canes, or walkers to navigate that, as well.

  8. A spinning cylinder is just as much a "gravity prison", just a more vulnerable one. I'd rather live under a few miles of rock protected from impacts and radiation in massive well lit caverns, with plant and animal life..and when I am feeling adventurous explore the surface, preferably flying to some area then landing and investigating with a geologist hammer, and 3D high resolution video recording. Or just lay down in my space suit and gaze at the stars, maybe at the Earth. Maybe make another smaller cave for myself away from the rest as a retreat, or refuge, in case something goes wrong.
    And I am guessing these spinning cylinders would probably rotate at 1G. The asteroids and moons are going to have much less gravity than that. I am not enamored of Mars, maybe because I am allergic to rust, and it looks like a big ball of rust to me. Although, the prospect of investigating lava tubes does sound very exciting.
    On whatever rock, people will excavate caves layer after layer of caves accommodating trillions of people on the Moon, trillions more on Mars, and all the other large rocks.
    These things take time.
    And I am not saying all these people will be from Earth. They will be born in these communities for the most part.
    And I think there will be billions of large spacships built on the Moon and other places and people will attempt to travel all sorts of places. They might have just a handful of people, for the riskier more distant destinations, yet still fly large ships.

  9. The lower half of the steering wheel will be removed, so the drivers can squeeze their gut under it, and car seats will be motorised so that the enfeebled legs don't have to carry them from park to house. Not sure how this life extension will go, if walking and cycling become as passé as flint knapping for arrowheads, though.

  10. Good point. When I think of government provided "Public Transit", I think all of the above quality issues. When I think of private sector, my first thought is, "Well, won't they want to provide luxury, just to compete?"

    But… it's automated and there's no one to see you chew the gum, and everyone (including both gum chewers and the gum averse) will know it.

    The driving commercial consideration will be how to keep it clean, and more importantly, how to visually communicate that it is clean. Like the outdoor seating at a cafe. That probably does indeed lead us straight to hard plastic seats.

    Yeah, I agree that I'd prefer to own my own, as long as there is somewhere to park it. Perhaps it can drop me off and then fly to some out of the way parking garage, then come back when called.

  11. As a libertarian, I value those who choose to be different. I am not claiming any particular person will want to do anything, just presenting the *laws of Physics* for civilization. The small world view is strong enuf without further support. There are far more rocks than those who will seek gravity prisons. The small worlders do a service by presenting the end result of your theory being correct. These are important things, highly relevant to current NASA and SpaceX, not to mention Blue Origin, plans. Will check the movie, Thanx! edit: yes. saw on tv, but many interruptions.

  12. I certainly think the Solar System can support trillions of people, we just disagree on where they will want to be…and where they will be.
    And the ones that settle on rocks are not going to give those rocks up for others to process them into space bubbles. That means the bubble builders will have to get materials from places too hostile to live…like Venus…after all the little stuff is vacuumed up.

    "…perfect glass sphere in Space…" Perhaps you saw the 1985 movie: The Explorers?

  13. The only real problem I see is if robo taxis become too cheap then people will move away from public transport and that would mean many more cars on the road. A congestion charge may become appropriate.

  14. The limits to growth was never production. It is pollution. And pollution is difficult to control because corporations will fight tooth and nail against doing so because poisoning the commons is more profitable for them.

  15. "2050-2300/2500" we should have good start on Space Solar soon, and by 2050 anything is possible, esp with Musk cargo Starship, let alone crewed version. Texas will be ok physically, with wind and solar to power beam to rest of world, plenty of pipes for H. The current political mess is so uninformed about these things it is appalling.

  16. Sorry, if criticism touches wrong audience, but within 2050-2300/2500 time frame national fossil resources option is none of a future perspective. For 2030, save fuels in summer, put some cash into renewables locally and shift most energy savings to cold season? Seems no bad recommendation.
    Maybe Texas should order wood from clearing bushes and woodland close to settlement in California for next winter?

  17. Live in Austin since '73, but had an easy time myself this freeze. "call to the carpet" is when the boss calls you in to stand there and take a tongue lashing. The reason I had power was perhaps that my hood had the brunt last time, '11 I think. So we may have been down the list this time. The ONLY major cause of this is failure to fix a known problem. Oklahoma, where I was born, had 1% power down rate. Texas does not like to be bested by Oklahoma. This is bad for right wing socialists in Texas. But my main concern is power beaming, H pipes instead of wires, Space Solar. libertarians are bored with the left v right socialist squabbles. Sicko power addicts all. edit: I was not saying that you should have provided the coverage!

  18. (( Sites only to enable up-voting seem to be more progressive considering social development (well, if scripting is suitable therefore)? ))

  19. Did not know about the situation in Texas when writing above comment. Seems there have been multiple influences on supply side (no suitable preparing for winter time on power stations, denial of gas import (costs reasons again) from other state, no recommendations for early setting up resources on customer side, because of weather forecast?, exceptional weather situation, etc.) that are not (only) caused by energy supply transformation towards renewables. Planings for seasonal storage and states interconnections should be reviewed instead of political blame games. There should be immediate support to citizens through local authorities with today's possibilities of means of communication, logistics, fuel supply chains, disaster recovery and Civil Protection.
    "is it too red to call to the carpet", sorry, didn't get meaning of that phrase.

  20. Agreed. but its much more than the logistics but the Values and Expectations of People at that time 2 – 5+ generations (which I suppose loses meaning with long-lived people and arbitrarily-timed families) hence. It seems to me that these Suburbs in Orbit/ Space are nothing more than the bland manifestations of dead-end first world values at 1000x times the price per unit volume. It reminds me of a north California 1970s-90s suburb -or worse- a Florida/ Arizona seniors gated community — the least inspirational and most backward-thinking of all 'modern' human settlements – a testament to those souls who have everything going for them but need to live in an Ikea showroom installation – utterly anti-individualistic. Totally safe and sensible but completely without meaning. I would like to think that people who would be living 120 – 150+ years by 2099 are fiercely-individual without being anti-establishment, ambitious, tremendously-knowledgeable, and itching for their own path given the endless access to ideas, materials, and an army of AI doers ready to make it happen. Living in space will be a temporary and constantly changing experience (variety with challenge is the highest form of human endeavour) where people will likely inhabit a wide variety of hollowed-out NEOs, inflatables, subterranean lunar nooks, orbiting nodules; followed by pristine-world visits; sometimes in human form, sometimes as an uploaded remote, sensing algorithm within a sundiver probe; alone, groups, etc

  21. I have never been completely blind, so I'm wildly speculating here. But could you do audio-only VR for blind people?
    A pair of headphone speakers, with the sound altered precisely depending on head position? You'd need super high quality sound, seeing as that's all the person will experience.

  22. I don't think of downvotes as anything other than proof that I am ahead of the crowd.

    "The solar system has 1 billion times the resources of the Earth and the solar system can support a population over 1 billion times more than the Earth." Now, you and the author have a 10^9 disparity to talk about. That covers most of your points. edit: there is not just one O'Neill Settlement edit: for modern designs

    Balance is with counter weights on cables, or just move the hanging buildings up or down.

    Many years before reading O'Neill, I would dream of being in a perfect glass sphere in Space, with my 'scope. No atmos or planet in the way. I'll bet we can figure out a way to that!

  23. Living in orbit means little access to more materials. Sure you can drag stuff from asteroids, but they are not close, so there will still be quite a bit of energy investment in that. It will also be like the most extreme HOA. Everything brought to it must be weighed to maintain balance. People/businesses could be moved if they accumulate too much mass and swapped with someone else. Pet laws will be extreme.
    There may be parks but no real wild nature. On the Moon or Mars you have geography and the unexplored. You can't even use a telescope to see the stars or the planets in a tube because you are spinning too fast, even if you could find a window.
    And if someone wanted to kill everyone, there are only about half a million ways they could do that. A shared environment in a cylinder is just asking for it…even more than the Earth. Unless you are going to have AI in their heads monitoring them. And that only protects from attacks within. A little missile will pop your $100 trillion pop can.
    The down-vote was not me.

  24. Exactly. The point of a road network isn't to be uncongested. The point is to allow people and goods to be transported around.
    If more lanes, better traffic management, SDVs allowing closer vehicles, all result in more traffic, that isn't a failure, that's a success.
    More people going where they want. Which was the original aim.

  25. Parking is such a hassle that people will prefer public transport… in the CBDs of large cities.

    The rest of society don't really get much out of the idea.

    And if our current rush to working from home and telecommuting doesn't reverse itself then the CBDs will be less important going into the future.

  26. You must build hundreds or thousands, like Starship, sort of. But that is just one possibility. O'Neill is about EVERYTHING we do being better in orbit.

  27. Sure, but you still have the issue of storing that pod when you are at your destination. The people angling for public transit and robotaxis are trying to avoid the parking issues.
    The main issue I see is just the lack of exercise. I actually have an inter-modal thing something like this in a system I designed. It is not enclosed like a "pod" and it also works with shopping and such, so people don't have to lift heavy things off shelves and into their carts, out of carts and into their cars, and then out of their cars (or whatever) and into their homes.
    Parking itself I think will be solved by automated parking structures that pack vehicles tightly.
    I am not happy with the technology yet. I think we can pack tighter. And, of course, urban sprawl is adapted to the automobile. Parking in the suburbs is not that difficult normally. I envision something like an awning over most parking lots. That is where the people carrying drones would land and park. They will be lighter than cars, so it does not have to be built with the strength that would be required for cars if they were up there. And there would just be a second floor entrance/exit for the store or workplace.
    These parking areas for flying drones can also be built between buildings in dense cities straddling the roads maybe 3-6 stories up.
    I also invision larger drones that carry 12-40 people using heliports. They would have a human attendant, fly faster and further.

  28. I have had urban geography and this was discussed. I just am not buying it. Rubbish science in my opinion. It is like the old USSR selling bread. There are 50 people waiting for that bread. If they bring a lot out, word gets around and the line will grow to 300. That does not mean if you continue to mutiply the bread available, that the line will continue to grow to absurd proportions. 
    There are only so many people in a community. Only so many cars can be driven at any given moment. The idea that it is pointless to add more lanes on freeways is just wrong. That traffic increase is people improving their lives. People going to a better job. People being more productive. People actually working at the same time as their spouse, so they have family time later, or get decent sleep.
    What I see is that lanes come into a freeway from an on-ramp or an interchange and then those lanes disappear. If they continued, the traffic would continue to move as it was before these lanes came in.
    There are also places where they should have had more lanes, but they did not add them because a bridge would have to be modified or replaced. After the bridge, they widen the freeway and there is no slowdown. Do what needs done, and it will flow.

    But my main solution to crowded cities is to build large well-planned new cities (at least in the US, where there is still plenty of room). Those will attract a lot of people and traffic will be back to the way it was decades ago in the older cities.

  29. Despite a lot of people’s preference for their own car robo taxis may become the norm. Without having to pay a driver and little maintenance costs the fee may be negligible. Combine that with better entertainment options, much greater availability, no registration costs or parking requirements and it will be too good to refuse. Already many people choose not to own their own car in dense cities. So while traffic may stay proportional to population, the number of cars may get reduced significantly since parked cars may be rare.

  30. Yes. It opens options up for the elderly, the blind, and the young. But the power of these people to do things without transportation is also noteworthy. Shopping online, video chat, the telephone at your fingertip at all times, all greatly enhance what they can do. Flying drones will also open this up further. They will deliver warm fresh cooked meals, so the elderly with less energy/strength can still stay in their homes with minimal or no assistance.
    I also think there will be VR experiences like vacations where you can explore Paris or Venice in your living room. Hmm. Well, I suppose the blind will not appreciate VR. We have so solve the blind part first.

  31. When money gets behind things, things happen. The rich will want these, and the rich will own the companies making them. Diesel trucks make noise. Any effective push-back? 
    Trains still whistle at 2AM where I live. Most of the time the trolley has the track. The train used to come through at 2PM before the Trolley was installed. The Trolley does not shut down until after midnight. The trolley "whistles" too, but I can't here that living a mile and a half from the track. The whistle from the loco everyone in the city can hear.
    White noise.
    My grandparents lived not far from the San Diego Airport. Airplanes come and go continuously. You only notice if one is crazy loud. That does not stop people from paying millions to live in that area.

    The way I see it. The system would be all coordinated from an automated air traffic control. All the drones would be automated and relay their location, speed, altitude, and proximity to other craft. Many thousands can be in the air over a city. These should not be as heavy and thus not as loud as helicopters. Propeller tip speed can be reduced with more blades or wider blades.

    But, what will really happen is that where we live will change. Around 1820 they put in horse-drawn trolleys, and cities became less of a central cluster. It spread in a line along that track. Electric trolleys extended that spread. The automobile made the burbs. These drones will expand the commute further, increase property size, and open up more rugged terrain.

  32. They do mention Space Solar. I recommend power beaming first/also, as we see that conduction (mka(mistakenly known as) "transmission") lines are quite vulnerable. BTW, do we get coverage of Texas power probs, or is it too red to call to the carpet? One tenth of the Calif power coverage would be nice. “State leaders need to take the blindfold off and realize energy is not just about economics. It’s a life-and-death issue.”

  33. There *could* be a standard interface passenger pod that can wheel around a little itself, or drive up on a platform that would be a drone, a boring tunnel car, a hyperloop sled, a rocket(?!).

  34. NASA has tested a system that controls flight paths such that the *driver* of the taxi/drone is presented with a *road* image that he simply follows along. Or his computer driver does. The road is interwoven with others to avoid two being in the same place at the same time, not advised!

  35. Read "The High Frontier" by G. K. O'Neill. Trillions, as Bezos sez, an O'Neill understander for almost as long as I. hint: forget Mars

  36. There’s no chance cities will tolerate large numbers of “flying cars” any more than they do helicopters now – which are tightly regulated and prohibited from landing in most places. We have places with lots of rich residents that could afford personal helicopters – they ban them because they won’t tolerate the disruption, noise, risk of their neighbors using them all the time. They’ll be limited to emergency vehicles. People like having their own vehicle largely because it’s the only way they can now get the sort of personal freedom to travel that autonomous vehicle networks will provide even more conveniently and cheaper.

  37. Pardon me, but how trivial space travel will help with over population?

    Musk talks about a MILLION people to Mars. A BILLION people to Mars doesn't seem feasible at all. Much less 2 billion.

    Resources from asteroids might be helpful however.

  38. They can't make enough lanes. Decades ago the government tried that for a long time, but traffic continued to increase faster than the number of lanes could be increased and other things begin to get crowded out by more lanes. In addition to making more lanes more parking area is also required.

  39. "Full solar system colonization will be trivial by 2050-2080." This throws all the Earth pop info out the window, for 2100 at least, if not before. And this is Space, not Mars. So, the depression sown by "small world" thinking is a main obstacle to solving the problem by making the *world* bigger than the Earth. People get addicted to worrying about the small Earth, and often end up fighting against O'Neill Space Settlement, as just more of the same problem!

  40. People will want their own. If it is an automated taxi, then there will be hard plastic seats, no heat, gum under the seats and smell like cigarettes.

    The one you buy will have cushy seats, a drink making machine, music of your choice, tinted windows, massaging chairs…

  41. Self driving will be a huge boon to the elderly, at least those who wish to retain their independence. Losing one's right to drive is tantamount to losing the ability to live alone in many parts of the US. Many people drive much longer than is safe, for just this reason, risking death, and the death of others. My grandmother moved in with my family at age 85, because she had a cataract operation, and had to give up her license.
    She, and I were very close, so I loved having her there, but I could see how being dependent on my parents hurt her. Once I became old enough to drive, things got better for her.

  42. I think the growth in road vehicles is going to be much faster. There will be cheap batteries, maybe in a decade. Though, the technology for those cheap batteries may be inferior to the lithium ion we have today. First world will want nice batteries that go 700+ miles, and charge rapidly. For the rest of the World, price will matter much more. 300 miles would be my guess for these, and I would guess there won't be any lithium in them. Even if they are more prone to fires and such, these will be preferred as long as the battery itself is below $1,250 (in 2021 Dollars). They can then make vehicles for less than $5k with fair crash safety, decent durability, AC, power windows, and locks.
    That is cheaper than you can make an internal combustion car, that can go more than 50 mph, that people will buy, regardless of economies of scale.
    The only impediment I see is government trying to limit cars on the road for traffic reasons. They may have to pay steep license fees. This would probably be temporary, as people will demand more roads and more lanes.
    In the first World, flying drones will take over the daily commute. Just a matter of when the batteries are ready. It will start with the rich of course, but the adoption will be rapid. There will still be many that prefer the old ways. Probably quite a few. Fear of heights is very common.
    I don't think this robo-taxi stuff is going to be anywhere near as common as some Futurists are saying. People like having their own vehicle.

  43. 3-5 humans on a motor vehicle and world population can be moving all around the planet almost all the time (airway, railroad or shipping miles traffic not included). All of this possible, but not on fossil fuels. Don't complain about people on hunger leaving development countries towards vehicle industry countries. It's individual decision what to support?

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