Cellphones – not cars – drive the future of the American road. Children are the foretellers of the status of car ownership. Car companies are seeing the writing on the playground walls. Unamused manufacturers are taking to the playgrounds to study trends of future car buyers. Toy fantasy is directly tied to auto desirability according to a recent NPR story (http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2013/07/09/199085090/pedal-power-to-horsepower-toys-point-towards-future-of-cars).
If reading the tea leaves that are Tonka Trucks is for real, children are telling us that they’ll choose not to sit in line at a toll booth in a real car if they have the choice to be online on a portable electronic device. Unlike the generation of Baby Boomers before them, this newest body of population is lacking the desire to own a car. Why would they want to own? From their view in the back seat driving is looking dull. Automobiles, they hear from their parents who shape their developing minds, are an unnecessary expense and dangerous to boot.
It appears children are following the trend being set by today’s hipsters who are choosing to be online en route to a shopping plaza while riding the rails hands free instead of inline at a toll booth plaza. It’s as if kids are saying to us: Think transit – not traffic.