The Top 14 Transportation Stories Of 2013

From the electric-car charging highway of the future to the Hyperloop, take a look at how the year shook out in cars, cycling, air travel, and the quest for a cheap, non-polluting fuel source.


Our modes of transportation haven’t changed radically in decades. But how we get from Point A to Point B could look very different in the future, based on developments we’ve seen this year. The hard part will be making it all practical.


Traditional car makers have joined Google in developing driverless car technology–but how soon will it be before we really are willing to let our hands off the wheel? Visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk put forth his grand vision for the future of transportation, a hyped-up plan for a self-powered train that travels twice as fast as an airplane. But would anyone ever build it? Or perhaps, as oil prices rise, we’ll one day all be driving around cars powered by air batteries?

At minimum, in the future, maybe TSA will start lightening up and air travel could get fun again.

Look below for more of the best ideas for the future of transportation (and, if you’re curious, check out last year’s list here).

1. This Giant, Floating Airship From NASA And The Military Gets Closer To Flight

The helium-powered Pelican will be able to carry 66 tons of cargo, and doesn’t need a runway to take off or land. It recently made an important step: getting off the ground.


2: 100 Ideas To Improve New York City’s Subway

Because every public transportation station could use some skylights and odor detectors.

3. The TSA Is No Match For This Mad Scientist And His Gun Made With Junk From Airport Stores

Evan Booth hacks together working weapons–like a shotgun, a grenade, and a crossbow–with purchases anyone can make after they go through security, to show that the TSA is more spectacle than real protection. And the FBI is taking notice.

4: This Starship Enterprise Of The Sea Will Launch Its Exploration In 2016


The SeaOrbiter will allow researchers to swim into parts of the deep ocean, where no one has gone before.

5: Is This Solar-Powered Half-Electric Bicycle With A Roof The Future Of Transportation?

The Elf combines the best elements of an electric car, a motorcycle, and a bicycle, and it’s manufactured right here in the U.S. There’s something for everyone to love.

6: A Two-Wheeled Electric Vehicle To Zip Through City Streets

The Citi.Transmitter is an adorable single seat modular transportation device, designed to solve our urban traffic problems.


7: The Airport Of The Future Is Actually Fun To Be In

Instead of crushes of humanity and bureaucracy, airports are starting to get more personalized and more civilized, as the fantasy of what an airport could be gets real.

8: Take A Trip Down The Glowing, Electric-Car Charging Highway Of The Future

A new “smart highway” being developed in the Netherlands has lane lines made by lights that can be altered and even lights up a warning when it gets icy.

9: Here’s What Elon Musk’s High-Speed Hyperloop Will Look Like


The man behind Tesla and SpaceX has released the plans to his highly anticipated new mode of transportation that can take you from L.A. to San Francisco in under an hour. Will this change transportation, or should we call it a “don’t believe the hype-r loop?”

10: How Much Did This Hyperloop Lookalike Inspire Elon Musk?

Two weeks before his Hyperloop announcement, Musk quietly met with the founder of ET3, an even-faster, already patented tube transport system.

11: This Air-Powered Car Gets 81 Miles Per Gallon

Peugeot Citroen’s new C3 VTi 82 will have what they’re calling an air-hybrid system. Will it be the first car to take air power to the mainstream?


12: The Safest Suburb In The World Did It By Ending The Culture Of Cars

The difference between this Dutch city and most North American commuter towns is that it actually makes good on its promise of safety, security, and good health.

13: Audi’s Cars Can Now Park Themselves; Driving Themselves Is Not Far Behind

Move over, Google. Audi just became the second company to be licensed to run autonomous vehicles in Nevada. As we saw at an exhibition of the tech from its Electronic Research Laboratory, its cars are already well on their way to ditching the driver.

14: The Beauty Of New York City’s Giant New Subway Tunnel


Most construction projects aren’t much to look at. New York’s new 2nd Avenue under-construction subway line is an exception–a truly impressive monument to human ingenuity.

Read more of our best stories of the year in these categories: Top stories, infographics, photography, maps, buildings, design, cities, food, transportation, innovative workplaces, bikes, collaborative consumption, energy, crowdfunding, robots, environment, health, education

About the author

Jessica Leber is a staff editor and writer for Fast Company's Co.Exist. Previously, she was a business reporter for MIT’s Technology Review and an environmental reporter at ClimateWire