I was trolling ThinkCycle this morning, and came upon an old link for Dan Luke's Radiocar proposal. It's a concept based on car-sharing, and it doesn't yet exist -- but could. The writeup of Radiocar is heavy on scenario and short on business plan, but it's still a pretty cool idea:
“Radiocars are located throughout the city, so when I need to go somewhere, I can see the location of nearby Radiocars on my GPS equipped PDA. I can reserve any available car at which point I walk over to it, use the Bluetooth on my PDA to gain access, get in, and drive away. It’s like having your own private fleet of taxis except you’re the taxi driver. But it’s more than just this. Radiocar has partnered with transit services. They’ve been able to put all surface transportation under one digital umbrella so that whenever you need to get from point A to point B, you can see the locations of not only Radiocars, but also, busses, trains, and boats. You can input two coordinates and get back data showing the most efficient way to reach your destination according to where various modes of transportation are located relative to your location when you query the system."
The scenario addresses many of the more obvious concerns about Radiocar, including privacy issues and how to make sure the used cars don't get scattered all over the place. There are elements of the scenario that seem a bit off -- the pricing is way low, for example -- but it's a nice example of how ubiquitous wireless networks could be used to promote new models of social interaction.
Reminds me a bit of the transaction networks in an odd little Sterling story . . . "Maneki Neko", thank you Amazon.
You could encourage cars to get returned to high-demand starting points by making trips there free or very cheap.
I find it very top down, and very dangerous. The idea of a corporation (or a set of corporations) owning those cars, and dictating to the comunity where THEIR special parking places should be seem to me worth the best og G. Orwell.
A down up approach would be that people own their own car, but permit other users to use them. This would be psicologically unacceptable for most people UNLESS the cars are bought from the people for that specific purpose.
All together seem more something to pay attention to, than something to look forward to.
It doesn't seem so dangerous to me; the article is just describing a next-generation Flexcar, which itself is just a rental agency optimized for trips measured in hours rather than days. The point is to think about cars as *part of* the (public) transportation system, instead of as an *alternative to* the (public transportation) system.