But there will be big changes. How those changes develop, Leight says, depends on one question: "Will St. Louis turn back in and redevelop our core, or are we going to continue to expand outward?"

If St. Louis expands outward, cars will still rule the day — we just won't be driving them.

"The personal vehicle won't go away. There's too much freedom, too much independence there," Leight says. "A really big change that will happen in the next 20 to 30 years is automated cars."

Neurosurgeon Eric Leuthardt.
Theo Welling
Neurosurgeon Eric Leuthardt.
Sex therapist Linda Weiner.
Theo Welling
Sex therapist Linda Weiner.

By the year 2114, Leight predicts, all cars will drive themselves. Accident rates and fatalities should plummet, but the city's roads will be changed as well.

"Today, most lanes are twelve feet wide. If cars drive much more precisely, then we won't need lanes that wide," Leight says.

This is all great news, but self-driving cars also mean no more highway-patrol officers writing revenue-generating tickets. More sustainable fuel sources mean fewer funds from gas taxes. So if St. Louis sprawls, how will we pay for those new roads? One major idea that's being debated in the federal government is charging people a per-mile tax.

"The concern of that is Big Brother," Leight says.

Cars of the future are expected to be data-collecting supermachines. It's happening now. Little black boxes that record mileage, speed prior to accidents and other data are installed in more than 90 percent of new cars. As the data-collecting technology improves, revenue-generating uses for that data will increase. Privacy experts are wary of the potential for abuse.

"In 100 years the worst-case scenario is our cars will know where we are, where we've been and where we're going," says Nate Cardozo, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "They'll be sharing our data with private companies, advertisers, insurers, law enforcement, jealous ex-spouses, you name it."

If St. Louis turns inward, on the other hand, the future of transportation doesn't look quite so dystopian. Leight — whose firm currently consults with the Missouri Department of Transportation — says the development of north city will play a crucial role in how transportation changes in St. Louis.

"Infill developments, like Paul McKee's North Side Regeneration Project, are a big deal because redevelopment in the city results in higher densities, making public transportation — buses, rails, trolleys — much more effective," Leight says.

Despite the rapid changes in technology that are in store for the next 100 years, Leight says, the way St. Louisans get around won't be that different — it will just be better.

"People think transportation 100 years ago was fundamentally different, but it wasn't really," he says. "Back then we had steam- engine trains, trolleys, Model T's. Now we have diesel-electric trains, the Metro and, soon, automated cars."
Ray Downs

The Future of Biking
One could say the future of transportation technology is already here.

"The city can stop waiting for flying cars — or even electric cars — because the transportation mode of the future taking hold in prosperous cities around the world is the humble bicycle," says Tom Fucoloro, a St. Louis native who now runs Seattle Bike Blog.

St. Louis has a twenty-year plan to connect the city, county and urbanized St. Charles County with 1,000 miles in bike lanes, which cycle enthusiasts say will drastically reduce the need for car travel a century from now.

"Fifty years from now, 100 years from now, it won't be a big deal to ride your bike home or to work," says Susan K. Trautman, executive director at Great Rivers Greenway. More bike lanes and trails will make getting from neighborhood to neighborhood easier and safer. "I think St. Louis in 100 years will feel very different. You'll be able to connect in ways you can't right now."

Trautman and Fucoloro imagine a future where a typical St. Louis child could rely on her bike, not cars and buses, to get to school. By the time she turns sixteen, she'll already be able to get around the city independently without getting her license.

Biking will also go a long way toward fighting the public-health concerns — diabetes, heart disease, obesity — that plague us today.

"All of a sudden, you've got this very vibrant, happy place where people are getting around and mixing it up," Trautman says.
Lindsay Toler

The Future of the Brain
By day, Dr. Eric Leuthardt is a neurosurgeon and the director of the Center for Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology at Washington University. By night, he's a science-fiction author — his first novel, Red Devil 4, just came out this month. That means he spends his free time imagining all the future applications of the devices and procedures he uses in the lab now.

"Right now a common term people love to throw around is 'quantitative self.' That's kind of the whole movement where people wear electronics to monitor their physiology — Fitbits, FuelBands, Google Glass, cameras and video feeds on our faces," he says. "I think that we're going to get closer and closer to the point when it becomes very low risk to have either a procedure or something noninvasive done to you where you can access your brain."

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39 comments
egolterman
egolterman topcommenter

From these comments can you understand how 'out of touch' your publication is with the reality of St .Louis, and how inappropriate it is for you to go to the dishonored history

museum for any assessment of the future? You know why St. Louis was 'taken down' and who took it down, and who is still taking it down.

egolterman
egolterman topcommenter

Burdened with the same over-bearing power brokers over the last 30 years, none of whose top down initiatives have even begun to recover this City, St. Louis has no future. If it can

'con' its way into the County it buys may be another 5 years, then they both go down.

The contrast between what other cities and regions did to recover beginning in the late 80s and what St. Louis refused to do is too divergent to ever come together.

tdwilliams99999
tdwilliams99999

Uh in 100 years we'll all be lucky to have food let alone mile-high skyscrapers.   I predict a more difficult life and extremely unpredictable weather extremes.  Glad neither I nor my kids will be around.  I feel for my grand and great grand children.

aaronmccoy242
aaronmccoy242

according to the above picture we will build a dome over East St Louis.  North city also?

Christopher P. Singler
Christopher P. Singler

Who's going to be riding all these bikes when it's supposed to be over 100 degrees all summer?

Mike Igleheart
Mike Igleheart

This futuristic view of downtown St. Louis is an artists rendering of the view from Spacely's Sprockets.

egolterman
egolterman topcommenter

City/County re-connect is a fact. Done without a vote over 30 years. Kind of 'got by' the people as they didnt notice County taxpayers (personal property and real estate) visitors (who pay hotel/motel tax) and all who shop retail pay 80% of every dollar needed to 

keep the City going, to programs and initiatives in the City-some good, some bad. The City's population is dipping dangerously close to an all-time low of 300,000, too much crime-so the front burner goal is statistical-to lessen the sting by speading the figures -countywide. Looks and sounds better. More important question-how long can the County last?

Ken Hood
Ken Hood

It's a city going no where. Time is an will pass this city by. Gateway to the west. You Have to think of Gate way to The world. No chance. Not This city or other....

Jesda Ulati
Jesda Ulati

It will look damn near the same, but smaller.

Genia Way
Genia Way

Between St. Louis and the Metro East, I don't know of one politician who is forward thinking. Can't even plan 5 yrs ahead then they want to tear up the roads and bridges when traffic studies should've already been done 5 yrs before.

Lin Staum
Lin Staum

At the rate we are going it will be a wasteland with trash and dead bodies all over. I am ready to move.

Kelly Roellig
Kelly Roellig

Well I'm pretty sure they some provision that no building be taller than the gateway arch in stl so I'm pretty sure it won't be stunted by giant skyscrapers and highways. Nope. Fantasy St. Louis. You'd have to get rid of all the trash down there anyway.

Ann Blazier
Ann Blazier

I predict mutant whore houses and snake charmers on every corner.

Doug Page
Doug Page

By the way east St Louis is in Illinois.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

pawn shops and bail bonds. we're too afraid to hurt the feelings of the scum ruining this city.

Casey Saunders
Casey Saunders

wait a sec... a sex therapist named Linda Weiner? you guys just made that up for the good of the article, didn't you?

Jodi Fox
Jodi Fox

Oh please, picture it, Detroit, 2014. They can't even fix that cancer they call East St. Louis.

tfucoloro
tfucoloro

I sure hope St Louis doesn't build elevated highways through downtown like the (totally awesome) cover image shows! And the fashion taste of those futuristic people on the roof, I hope I'm dead before that style fad drops...


And some of those trees are pretty tall. Doesn't that mean we need to plant those, like, today? :-)

TyroneJefferson
TyroneJefferson

2114 -----   St. Louis is the capital city of the Planet Of The Apes. 

Global warming has given the City the climate of Uganda.

Public Transportation is simply carjacking someone elses vehicle and dropping it off at designated Jack-Me-Jack-U parking spots .

The words ECO, SUSTAINABLE, and DIVERSITY are plastered everywhere in glowing lights and blared from loudspeakers round the clock. The government council has seized all private farms in the river valleys and forced the former owners to grow what the communal collective orders them to.

Bicycle riding will be the forced requirement for the Fedora Class people. Heavy rains and storms will be no excuse not to pedal harder through the jungle vines and decayed urban rubble that litters old Olive Street. Only light body armor will be required on bicyclist (under tight tatty spandex) and a legally mandated helmet (that looks like a swirly ice cream cone) must identify the rider or punishment will ensue with shock probes.

1/3 of the pale skinned population will be forced to work 12 hours a day 7 days a week to support  the other 66% of the Entitlement Class peoples .

The average STL City  IQ will be 89. 

The favorite sports will be revenge shootings, and throwing poop at each other.

sunofgod21
sunofgod21

yeah me too. This picture gives me a bad feeing..

TyroneJefferson
TyroneJefferson

@RiverfrontTimes @publiceyestl  

The essential item missing in this "futurist vision" is exactly who (or what) is going to PAY for this marvelous future. You know money , $$$$$.

Since STL was once home to many Irish , perhaps the lost pots-of-gold left behind by their Leprechauns will be found, and thus offer an abundant financial future for upcoming St.Louisans ?

Or, perhaps future STL residents can take the rusty Serra Sculptures and cash them in at Kingdom of Dubai pawnshops? 

As we are a City named after a religious Saint, I think the $wealth$ will flow shortly after the Rapture comes ,and nearby East St. Louis will be heavenly instilled as the New Garden Of Eden. Our proximity to the earthly delights offered by East St. Lous could be a source of such income......

PS --- Robot maids will need "rights" too. Must not oppress the "Metal Class"!

 
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