If you had to plan the urban transport system from scratch today, would it look the way it does now? This is a question that mayors, opinion leaders and entrepreneurs insist on not asking. Everyone plays the same familiar game of transportation and ‘moves the cheese’ only slightly each time. Urban transportation planning is fixated about modes and nodes. In fact … if there is anything more conservative than city transportation planning it is the design of the cars that travel in it.
Have you ever thought about the game plan of the big transportation companies conquering the world? Ride hailing companies like Uber or Lyft, bike and e-scooter sharing companies like Bird or Lime and more. All these have a unique Game Economics that determine their strategy. So let’s understand some of the rules that govern these companies. As usual, this is a very technical post, written for those that really need to understand the game.
We hear many bold claims coming from tech companies these days, boasting about how safe their autonomous cars will be and how much they will save us from those dreadful traffic jams. So many PR statements and so little common sense. It’s not that I do not trust autonomous cars, computer manufacturers or robots, those will work just fine. It’s us humans that will screw the whole thing up.
Is it possible that a technological solution to one specific transportation problem will result in another, different problem being created? How does Waze and other GPS tools contribute to traffic congestion and what does it say about the autonomous cars?
We are in the midst of an urban revolution, nothing less. It’s challenging for us to observe it and define it as such, being only human. With our short lifespans and even shorter-term memories. The signs of a revolution are already here. Scarce, subtle and slow as they may be.
The city is primarily a product of transportation. It has always been one. The size of the city and the width of the streets, everything is constantly adapting to the way we move. Even the height of buildings in the city is related to transportation, and was limited to four floors before the invention of the safety elevator – The most popular public, electric, autonomous and free transport vehicle in the world.