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Saturday, June 16, 2012

ReThink London: World leading ideas needed

This is going to be a busy day. No time for blogging. But, I want to leave you with a thought or two.

London wants to be a world leading, well run community. According to what I understand from attending ReThink London events, the city want to be known for its innovative approach to urban living.

O.K. Here are the little bits of sand, the irritants if you will, now to fashion the comforting pearls.

1. Mass transit is a challenge almost everywhere for a number of clear reasons. One being that, if given a choice, people like cars.

2. Google has spend a bundle perfecting robotic cars. I believe they have logged more than a million miles without an accident (while under robot control. One car had an accident caused by a human driver and another was rear-ended in traffic.)

3. Some places in the world have, or are, experimenting with community cars. These are cars that are available to those who have paid a fee to be able to access the service. Pick up a car and drive it from one community lot to another close to where you were wanting to go.

4. There are cars being built in the world, but not offered for sale in North America, that are very interesting when it comes to urban transportation. e.g. The Volkswagen Up. Read about the Up here;

- Reviewing the Volkswagen Up (New York Times)
- Just passing through impressively (New York Times)

5. There is an unused automobile assembly plant on the south edge of London, the closed Ford St. Thomas Assembly Plant.

6. Some communities have, or are, experimenting with computer controlled bus routes which can deviate from established routes to pick up and drop off riders. An older, failed, non computer managed system was the Dial-a-Ride Service in the '70s in Santa Clara, CA or the Dial-a-Bus run by GO Transit briefly in Toronto in the early '70s. I lived in T.O. at the time and recall the pluses and minuses of the GO Transit plant. Adding today's computer power to the Santa Clara or the Toronto systems would change the dynamics of the experimental operations.

7. Ultra small cars could be run on narrower-than-normal lanes dedicated to the ultra small vehicles.

8. Somewhere in the above there is a creative, imaginative, not being done anywhere else in the world, idea on rapid transit and if a company like Google and/or a car company making a suitable, ultra small, urban car (an automatic would be, I believe, a requirement and this puts the UP out of the running), could be convinced to conduct a community-wide experiment using London as the test bed something could be achieved that was unique and not break the bank costly.

I apologize for any typos but I've got to get going.

Cheers!

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