Eleven Points To Nowhere, part 2

 John has responded to criticism of his eleven point plan to eliminate the private automobile. He points out that cars that can automatically drive themselves take away the feeling of being in control that drivers enjoy now. If you don't have to command the vehicle you might as well be riding the train. For someone like me, who enjoys the act of driving itself, yes, it is a loss of control and I would probably want a manual override for the auto-drive system, but to the average driver it gives them even more "control" over their life.

 No longer is your commute time dedicated solely to the act of driving, now it's extra work time, play time, you time as the advertisers would call it. It combines the independance of the personal automobile with the convienance of public transportation without many of the drawbacks. Forgot something at the office ? No problem, just turn around instead of trying to figure out which train you need to take. Staying late at work? Don't worry, you set the schedule, not some nameles transit authority. Going to grandma's out in the country? Just turn off the auto-drive when you get off the interstate. It won't drive peopke away from personal automobiles, it will only reinforce the attachment people have towards them.

 Now on to point #2...

 Expand car sharing programs (e.g. City Car Share) and make them more convenient. Car sharing is a step towards eliminating auto dependence entirely. Use RFID, GPS, and mobile phones to make sure shared cars are always available in convenient locations. Provide lockers where users can store child car seats, shopping bags, et cetera. Make a child car seat that's easier and quicker to install on the go.

Result: take the "private" out of the private automobile. People share cars rather than owning them. People who use car sharing programs also use public transit more often than car owners.

 Car sharing is a neat little program that allows you to "rent" a car when you need it instead of owning one. For some people it works extremely well, but it does have a problem when you try to apply it to a large portion of a population, scalability.

 The more poeple who use the system, the larger the infrastructure that is needed to maintain it. The more users, the greater the ratio of cars to users ha to become to meet demand. Ten people in a population may require that 15 vehicles be available, scale it up to 100 users, and you'll need somewhere around 200 vehicles, and it just gets worse the bigger you go. More cars per person equals less money made per user, requiring higher prices to maintain a profit. A neat idea, to be sure, but not something that is going to make a dent in private auto ownership.


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