There's a small town that needs a new road. The old road is pretty worn and full of potholes, so it's time for a change.
First plans look promising. It’s really nice and modern. The old road had sidewalks and a bike lane, but these don’t really fit in with the new design and take too much time to build. Nobody on the planning committee knows any pedestrians or cyclists anyway, so the project doesn’t really focus on that.
Soon people get to work. Instead of regular concrete though, the construction crew decides to use a new cutting-edge synthetic asphalt. It was developed by a big construction company from the city that uses it to build a 12-lane highway in the nation’s capital - but they say anyone can use it.
Everyone in construction is very excited to work with this new material. You can do amazing stuff with it, and the team needs less time to get things done. They say this process will make the new road a lot better than the old one, and every modern construction crew does it this way now.
The friction point of the new asphalt is quite high though, so people will need a bit more horse power to drive on it - and it also takes about five times more fuel than usual. Luckily everybody on the construction team earns a very nice salary and drives a big BMW, so that isn’t really an issue. They do a couple of test drives and it all works fine.
The road is almost finished and everybody is really happy with it. But it was expensive to build, and the town wants to get that money back in some way. They don’t really like to put up toll booths, as these tend to scare drivers off. Instead they make a deal with some of the bigger advertising companies to put up some cameras.
Every car that drives on the new road will be photographed and analysed, and the ad firms can then decide to put up billboards in the middle of the road that are perfectly tailored to each driver. That is a bit distracting and slows the cars down somewhat, but it will generate revenue for the town. Plus, all these photos of drivers will tell the planners more about how it is working.
Finally, the road is finished.
There are fewer people using it now. That’s ok though, the new road isn’t for everyone.
Some might even feel that the old road was better in a way, potholes and all. It didn’t have all the fancy new features, but it got them where they wanted to go.
But that’s the nature of progress - just how these things are done today.
It’s the future.