Good article. What Uber did is broaden the spectrum of personal transportation, whereas the car industry is still venturing in terms of making and selling cars. You mentioned San Francisco. In that city crowdfunders started Chariot — on demand shuttle services where community transport was lacking. IMO, there’s still way too little attention for the way we transport ourselves in the first place. Cars tend to weigh approx. 18–30 times more than its usually only occupant (the driver). To make things worse, most cars are as wide as the driver measures lengthwise, causing the sort of gridlock witnessed every day. With Uber it is no different of course. Public transport is great during office hours. But when a bus (tram or metro) only has to carry a few people, then the standard bulk and weight causes it to become energy-inefficient, costly and environmentally unfriendly. The solution is simple: use ‘big(ger) carriers’ when you need to transport many over main routes, use considerably smaller vehicles (than is the case now) to be able to provide door-to-door services to smaller numbers (Uber’s average occupancy is 1.2). ‘Small’ (therefore lightweight and preferably sleek) works also best when you want to implement zero-emission propulsion and self-driving. Let city governments, transit authorities and private entities like Uber work things out between them.

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Identify how high-tech bypasses common sense to sell us a solution that frequently misses the point | country: Netherlands

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