Wednesday, October 14, 2009

MAU and Sustainable mobility

Sustainable mobility is one of the biggest problems that we have yet to face. We have the technology to create sustainable transportation. But the problem is how can we take existing structures and design an efficient transportation. The segway is a cool invention but how can you implement a safe path for segway users along side the cars, trucks, pedestrians, and cyclists who are all currently fighting for the same space. Side note: As far as respect to other people on the road, I would put some cyclists and taxi drivers in the same category. I saw a cyclist yell at another biker because he didn't run a red light and the guy was pissed because he had to stop and wait. I can't imagine what some cyclists would do if they had to share a lane with segways. A segway just doesn’t make sense if you’re a commuter. The things are huge compared to a bike, they can’t be carried on to a bus or a train. I agree with Dean Kamen that, “cities were meant to be a pedestrian place”, but most cities are not designed to be pedestrian friendly. I think Kamen is relying a little too much on technology, and previous uses of technology has only raised the threshold and not created a solution. I know I talked shit on the cyclists earlier but biking maybe the most sustainable transportation next to walking. This is why I liked Jaime Lerner Ideas over Kamen, Lerner said that bikes should be designed more like umbrellas. In this sense a bike could easily fold up and be taken on the train or bus, maybe stored in your office. While design is a major component to sustainable mobility, changing peoples mind set is even bigger. People have to realize that driving, even if it is a prius, is not sustainable it is just less harmful. Unfortunately people’s mindsets are not easily changed, they probable will not change till something as fast, convenient, and personal as a car is invented.

1 comment:

  1. I think you are right in pointing out the difficulties in shifting the mindset of entire societies and this is why I think political action is necessary. There is a newer concept behind reforming the current transportation systems in cities called the green transformation hierarchy that I believe to be efficiently designed. It basically places priority on the modes of transportation that are the lowest costing, and most space and energy efficient. Pedestrians and cyclists are highest then public transit followed by commercial trucks (because they are providing services for the city) and ending in order of priority with taxis, high occupancy vehicles then low occupancy vehicles. Ideally, with this concept in place the distribution of road space, funding and resource allocation would reflect this designated hierarchy. Cool concept and NYC is currently in the process of implementing aspects of the hierarchy.