L.A. 2013

Posted by Rob

The Los Angeles Times recently revisited their ‘L.A. 2013’ cover story from April 3, 1988 by making a PDF of the story available for download.

One of the ‘futurists and experts’ they spoke to for the story was the legendary Syd Mead, whose drawings accompanied the piece.

Lots of bold predictions of course, like your usual 200 story ‘mega rises’ and a sports utility vehicle that can adapt from a 2 seat sports car into a beach buggy via a ‘plug-in module.’

But the one that stuck with me gets dropped right in the first paragraph: “about a third of the residents have already headed out to their jobs, as required by Los Angeles County’s mandatory staggered work plan.”


As an LA resident who had a horrible run-in with the 405 yesterday, I’m all for it. Make it so.

Side note: Tesla’s Elon Musk suggests we double deck the 405… thoughts?

11 Comments Leave A Comment


James MK says:

March 22, 2013 at 12:52 am

“about a third of the residents have already headed out to their jobs, as required by Los Angeles County’s mandatory staggered work plan.”

Somebody’s not read their JG Ballard! Have a look at the story Chronopolis at this link – – about a city where this was taken to extremes, different groups not only had staggered work days but set times to do anything – down to the minute…

“As the population climbed the first serious attempts were made to stagger hours; workers in certain areas started the day an hour earlier or later than those in others. Their railway passes and car number plates were coloured accordingly, and if they tried to travel outside the permitted periods they were turned back. Soon the practice spread; you could only switch on your washing machine at a given hour, post a letter or take a bath at a specific period.'”


R says:

March 22, 2013 at 9:57 am

405, double decked? No way, unless they’ve mastered a bridge or road that won’t collapse in an earthquake. Elon Musks doesn’t always know what he’s talking about.


Rob says:

March 22, 2013 at 10:03 am

@JAMES MK – thanks for the link, indeed I’ve not read it. Looks right up my alley though. What are your thoughts on a staggered plan? People would be up in arms…

@R – I hear you. There were some audible disapproval grumblings when he said it.


James MK says:

March 22, 2013 at 12:44 pm

@Rob – I don’t think anything mandatory would work, mostly due to the mandatory element of such a system. It would be perceived as inflexible, preventing people from doing what they wanted (despite that, generally, they’d only being commuting in the rush hour anyway), and nightmare scenarios like that depicted in the link would be thrown around, only angering people!

However, any efforts to encourage flexibility in peoples’ working days should only be encouraged. Telecommuting for those that can, flexible working hours and shift patterns – these can only help.

That last suggestion is basically staggering people, only without the mandatory bit…


H76 says:

April 9, 2013 at 7:03 pm

I find it ironic these ideas that try to bend peoples’ habits to compensate for an archaic system rather than change fundamentally. A staggered work week? Much better than more mass transit infrastructure to lessen the impact of single occupants stagnating on cramped highways in their cages of steel and glass.


Diver Software says:

April 12, 2013 at 8:21 am

I just want to say how much I enjoy this information. You put a nice twist to it. Another good post Rob.