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Cities and cars – a love affair or a marriage gone bad?
In cities around the world, cars are a prominent feature. No more so than in the US where coming of age was quite often marked by the acquisition of the personal driver’s license. But could this be changing? It appears so. In 1978 nearly half of all 16-year-olds and around 75% of all 17-year-olds had licenses. By 2008 those numbers had dropped to 31% and 49% respectively. The long-term result of this trend will hopefully be a better city, a cleaner society and a more effective use of time by all. Let’s take a closer look.
Individual car ownership is an insane model – one that no investor would ever say had good ROI. Just look at the facts:
• On average, cars sit unused about 22 hours per day
• In some USA cities, parking lots cover more than a third of the land area
• MIT Media Lab estimates that in congested urban areas, about 40% of all gas consumed while looking for parking
And where are most people driving to? An office – where they will spend most of their day communicating with people in other locations. The connected city and the Networked Society will enable its citizens to communicate and interact with anyone, anytime, anywhere. . The new generation believes that time spent driving is lost time. It’s time when your interactions are limited. And why own a car when, as ZipCar and others are showing us, you can share one.
In the future, let’s replace the habit of yesterday with the shared intelligence of tomorrow. Welcome to the Networked Society.
Ps. 80% of all car accidents are due to human error but we trust humans to drive more than machines. I leave you with one final food for thought. Don’t text and drive. Just text…
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