Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Suggestion for Detroit

Just a thought. I'm not at all sure if it's practical but, what the heck, I'll toss it out there anyhow:

One type of vehicle for the automakers to consider manufacturing might be minibuses. Not for the normal consumer market, but in anticipation of a new type of transportation business, made possible by the proliferation of cell phones and internet connections. These would be a bit like combination buses and taxicabs. They could cruise the city streets, soliciting business from people at bus stops. And they could have built-in wi-fi internet connections as well as cell phones. If you needed a ride and were on a computer, you could go to the company website, which would have a map of where each of these minibuses were located. You could then contact the dispatcher, either via the internet or phone, tell him where you are and where you're going, and he'd use specialized computer software to calculate which minibus was best positioned to accomodate you. The software would be designed to maximize the number of passengers at all times. Such vehicles could be a lot more efficient than taxis and open up significant new markets in many cities, like my own, where cab service is difficult to get and often unreliable. They'd also be a lot better at maneuvering through traffic and cause far fewer tie-ups than buses. AND, since they'd be designed for localized travel only, they could be fully electric powered.

I dunno. They say they need some fresh ideas, so how about considering this one? The minibuses would be more efficient, tie up less traffic, create new businesses, create new jobs, provide a badly needed service, and encourage people to leave their cars in the garage, which would mean significant fuel savings AND a smaller carbon footprint.

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