Saturday, October 14, 2017

Cities are ruining our cars

An article in Verge claims that "Self-driving cars are on a collision course with our crappy cities" as if to say cities are ruining the possibilities for our fancy new self-driving cars.

¡No! Au contraire, cars are ruining our cities! Letting Google be the driver won't change that. In fact, it could get much worse.

Consider the author's statement of the obvious: "[R]ide-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft, are shockingly creating more traffic problems than they are curing," as if to say this fact could somehow be fixed if cities would only do things differently.

¡No! An on-demand taxi service carrying one passenger will deliver less than 1 person per vehicle-mile (km) by definition: the back seat has to be empty ("dead-head") en route to picking up the fare-paying passenger. 

I will have more to say about this with some pictures. Please stand by...



Previous Posts from Ron Swenson

9/26/2015
Recently I was invited to watch a TED Talk by a passionate social reformer. She spoke first about "changing and controlling the narrative." I propose a new narrative for transportation planning: Streets are the Commons. Searching for some local indicators of passionate concern for protecting chil... more
9/22/2015
Once Bucky Fuller told a story about being at MIT, talking to some of the brightest people in the world. There he asked to see hands: would anyone deny that the sun rises every morning? Of course there were no hands. Then he pointed out that they were all wrong — we have known for centuries, if not ... more
9/22/2015
In 1824 Elizabeth Heyrick published a pamphlet in England arguing for "Immediate, not Gradual Abolition." Respecting her genius, in like fashion I propose Immediate, not Gradual Liberation from Fossil Fuels. In 1824 the cry went out — Oh, we must be practical and do it gradually. Let's simply stop ... more
9/8/2015
Building on the achievements of San José State students over the past three years, forty San José State Mechanical Engineering students have just joined the Spartan Superway project, together with several more including several grad students working in Solar Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrica... more
8/3/2014 Here are some news articles about Spartan Superway at Intersolar in July and Maker Faire in May. 2014-07-15  Automated Transit Network (ATN) at Maker Faire 2014 An interdisciplinary team of engineers, industrial designers, urban planners, and business students are de... more
4/15/2014
The term conservative has more than one meaning. In politics, conservative means "disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change." In risk assessment and decision-making, conservative means: "cautiously moderate or purposefully low... more
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