“Getting excited about technology is often a way of distracting ourselves from the actual problems before us.”
I’m not known for the glorifying mass disruption, but I guess I’m a disruptor now. Matt Ward’s podcast The Disruptors interviewed me this fall. We talked about driverless cars, flying cars, Uber, scooters, “super mini micro smartcar pods,” and whether the whole interview was a Turing test. Matt asked me especially tough questions about what might be possible in the future.
Something about Matt’s style got me talking a little fast, but it was fun. It starts at 5:15 with John F. Kennedy pretending to be me, and then I get going at 5:30. There’s one irritating ad early on, and then it’s uninterrupted.
You DISRUPT the DISRUPTORS!
I have a question about the “average length of a trip by bicycle” e.g. in The Netherlands.
It seems in some sense it’s easy to interpret this as “people only ride their bikes 1 or 2 miles per day” or “people live within a mile of their job” (with the undertone of “aren’t they lucky” / “that isn’t true in many cities in the US”)… but couldn’t it really mean that people are actually riding their bikes several miles every day, and that they are just making lots of individual “trips” along the way… e.g. a short trip from home to a cafe before work, then another short trip to work, then a short trip to lunch, then a trip back to work, then a trip to the supermarket, then a trip to the post office, then finally a trip home?
My point is, I think it’s easier for people living in cities to totally get by just fine with microtransit, even if they don’t live within 1 mile of their job… because in most real urban environments, all of the types of activities that I mentioned are usually very close to home such that they could all be on a route with stops that average 1 mile or less between each destination, even if the total trip might be 5 miles every day. It seems like the anti-microtransit people like to blow the “need” for cars in urban environments out of proportion much more than is justified.
> “that isn’t true in many cities in the US”
This trope drives me nuts. I live in a third-rate Midwest rust-belt city; and I know the data. More than half of the working residents of my neighborhood work within the city limits. And the city is ~45sq/miles (not large). Easily half of the working residents of my neighborhood could use bikes or transit for their commute; if those systems were prioritized. No vast grand investment would be required.
> all of the types of activities that I mentioned are usually very close to home
Yep. Everything from grocery store to eye doctor to butcher and baker to hardware store is within a ~1.5 mile radius of my home.
> blow the “need” for cars in urban environments out of proportion much more than is justified
Yep. As if somehow American cities are magically distinct from cities anywhere else; much of that is playing merry hop with the definition of “city” and “suburb”.
Good podcast. Host needs to … think transportation problems through in the geometry space and the physics space. Probably not going to buy any of his products. 🙂