A Folding Car?

Today, the impetus for many of the most futuristic technologies is the ever-pressing need to cut CO2 emissions while addressing the large scale transportation challenges that face modern, high-density cities. However, it is precisely the city’s scale and density that make otherwise inconceivable, radical innovations in transport feasible.

Accessibility is the key to creating transport systems that work. A system that responds to the needs of its users will likely gain more users, which in turn can promote more sustainable transportation. Researchers at IBM recently proposed a redrawn system of bus routes in the African city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, that would provide greater efficiency, convenience and cost savings for passengers. They were able to do this by collecting data from over five million cell-phone users and analyzing their patterns of movement.

Philips’ designers in Singapore have reimagined a public transportation system in which passengers input their destinations into smartphone apps that relay their location and their preferred destination to bus drivers. Drivers can then map dynamic routes in response to real-time demand.

While the need for improved public transport is a necessity of all growing cities, innovations such as the Hiriko, a small electric fold-up car, are revolutionizing personal transport in the city. The brainchild of the MIT Citycar project and Denokinn, this car folds down from 100 inches to 60, making it possible to fit 3 Hiriko’s into one parking stall.

Even more revolutionary is the A-MoD or Autonomous Mobility-on-Demand car-share system of self-driving cars. Thanks to the U.S. Defence Agency and MIT, a self-driving car that delivers itself to your door and returns to a charging station or to pick up another passenger is no longer just a figment of science fiction.

From radical new approaches to public transport, to fold-up electric vehicles and, self-driving cars, technology is being harnessed to create innovative transport systems that will thrive because they are accessible, convenient and user friendly. These new systems will leave us with little excuse not to adopt sustainable transport for every trip we take.

Do you have ideas to improve transportation in your city?

July 31, 2013 | No Comments (yet!)

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