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Discussions with Vikash Chandra
June 16-19, 2009
Sustainable transportation expert
Vikash Chandra from Bangalore,
India visited met with Community
Solutions staff and local transpor-
tation experts during the week of
June 16-19, 2009 to discuss the
vision of a low-energy transporta-
tion system and implementation
steps for a local pilot project.
2 Lxplorihg IhhovaIive 1rahsporIaIioh SysIems: Discussiohs wiIh Vikash Chahdra
Table of Contents
Innovation for Transportation Systems: Snapshots of High Quality Mobility Services for 21st Century Realities
1. Rationale ....................................................................................................................................................... 3
2. Description ..................................................................................................................................................... 3
3. Other Examples .............................................................................................................................................. 5
4. Philosophy/Benefts ........................................................................................................................................ 6
5. Objections/Responses ..................................................................................................................................... 8
5. General ......................................................................................................................................................... 11
6. Marketing Ideas ............................................................................................................................................ 12
7. Yellow Springs Ideas ...................................................................................................................................... 13
8. Travel Diary Study ........................................................................................................................................ 14
9. Partnering with IT Companies ..................................................................................................................... 14
10. Applying Technology Solutions to Plan C Options for Housing and Food ............................................... 15
11. Vikash Assumptions and Philosophy ......................................................................................................... 15
PowerPoint Presentation – “Innovation for Transportation Systems: Snapshots of High Quality
Mobility Services for 21st Century Realities” ................................................................................................... 17
© 2009 Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions, P.O. Box 243, Yellow Springs, OH 45387
Phone: 937-767-2161 Web: www.communitysolution.org
Lxplorihg IhhovaIive 1rahsporIaIioh SysIems: Discussiohs wiIh Vikash Chahdras 3
Innovation for Transportation Systems: Snapshots of High Quality Mobility
Services for 21st Century Realities
• Addresses the problem of depleting petroleum fuels and depletion of carbon sinks. The need to incorporate
the costs of depleting resources. Price depleting resources in a way that covers the costs of setting up the new
system. We need road-usage charging rather than fuel surcharges. If we don’t have the gasoline, or if we have
an all-electric feet, then who will pay for the roads?
• IPCC reports are conservative and outdated by the time they come out. It’s getting worse faster. Melting of
the Antarctic and increase in sea level of 30 feet. Because of the Asian brown cloud, higher altitudes are more
affected than lower ones. If the rivers of the Himalayas run dry, a few million people would die. Tigris and
Euphrates rivers are down 75%.
• The carbon/climate change situation is extremely dire. There is an attempt to create a consideration for how
more serious and urgent the problem is from the highest levels of government. Is this viable when we regain
our senses about how bad climate change could be?
• The current model of creating this division between public and private transport is false and leading to
waste, ineffciency and misallocation. This is also leading to the fact that our current systems are bursting at
the seams. Public roads are bursting. To maintain such a huge network of public roads is going to cost much
more money than we’ve allocated. Bitumen costs are increasing. We need a chart on the skyrocketing lifecycle
costs of roads. Auto industry is collapsing under its own weight (forced obsolescence and early models not
• Affordability of cars is degraded. Costs are not coming down to meet the household allocations. Also death
and injury rates increasing. There is customer/user dissatisfaction with the kind of offerings. They are getting
boxes rather than mobility services. There are the societal costs of noises, destruction of community due to
increased spaces between houses/roads, etc.
• Last mile problem of mass transit – getting from the last stop to your home. People don’t walk more than
0.75 miles. Last hour problem of ridesharing – sometimes people get in early, stay late and you can be fexible.
Then there is the errand problem. You can do diversions on your way home from or to work to go shopping,
etc. Associated with this problem is the space for buying and lugging large amounts of products.
• Create a metro rail system using roads. You create a seamless network of arterial roads. There are pockets
called home zones, which could be residential, commercial, mixed. For any heavy motor vehicle to enter there
would be access control. They would be serviced by different kinds of vehicles.
• The goal is to get the best of rail and road usage. While rail needs fresh capital investment, most roads don’t
need much and are underutilized. Rails are useful for single origins and destinations, but not with our kind of
development, where the adaptability and fexibility are required. When we want desired speeds, it’s useful to
use air traffc control-like routing, which is very useful particularly for cities. Also using intelligent systems to
give the speed needed to go to make a green light.
• It’s a sophisticated rental car choice. All you have to do is book a seat and depending upon the value plan
you select, it gives you a time window. For a premium plan, it could have a small window (e.g. 2 minutes). So
there is a certain predictability of the service.
• It creates a diversifed, distributed mass transit network. We need some kind of new vehicles, like the people
mover, which is very cost effective for the feeder. It’s a membership booking plan. You pay by point to point.
You get a bill. Which in our overall scenario would be a multi-modal bill. Assignment of who is driving is the
driving profciency. This improves the overall driving quality.
4 Lxplorihg IhhovaIive 1rahsporIaIioh SysIems: Discussiohs wiIh Vikash Chahdra
• Creating a honeycomb structure, which is a series of networks of arterial roads. To connect each one to each
other, you have a bridge for walkers and bicycles. Limit the amount of cars with a fee or making it only for
emergency use. The use of feeder vehicles is better and for creating pedestrian and bike-only roads. Pedestrian-
ization of main street.
• It minimizes the concretization of the land, allows space for children to play freely, localization so that kids
can bike to school, work district with a business center for telecommuting. The radial range should be two
miles, so 6 to 8 square miles. The travel time down the roads should be about the same time (approximately a
minute or two of difference) as taking your car. Short trips are trips to a station and local trips.
• Parking could be done vertically if space became an issue. GM could buy up space and rent out cars on
the edges. There are various levels of services and types of vehicles, depending upon the service plan you’ve
selected. You could get good time estimates of how long it will take.
• A lot of businesses could be in the area of the station. This is transit oriented development. With transit
moving masses of people and people as customers, you want retail shops near where people are getting on
and off. This system combines a lot of thinking. When you talk about transit-related development, you mean
residential and commercial development within a few miles of the transit area.
• When does the private car disappear? It doesn’t disappear at any time. You pay for use of public infrastruc-
ture. The price of ownership could go up two, four or ten times. Like the ownership of an aircraft or beach
resort. We increase the snob ownership of cars. Car companies could come up with limited private cars for the
top 1.5% of the population. There is an understanding by the transportation economists called transportation
• It naturally induces you to think about how you can make it very impersonal and system-based where all
you have to do is call up a call center where it could be like a 511 and you tell them your start point/time and
destination/time. You can set preferences about kind of vehicles you like, or whether you want to travel alone,
drive, take a backseat ride. Hands free time is usable time. With more people sitting in a vehicle, you split the
operating cost. There is complete ticketing, so you get door-to-door connectivity. It simulates the private car
experience but it is even more effective.
• Fine tuning the system to allow you to pick and choose when you are making a shopping trip, and then you
can choose a large vehicle. You want to check those whimsical purchasing patterns. Booking a vehicle gets you
to respect time. There may be fees if you cancel, for example. If you plan ahead, there could be discounts (like
• The auto loan is replaced by the MetroLITE credit line (which would also be a buy back of your existing
vehicle). If you don’t give up your car, there will be some charging for having your car on the road. As highway
administration costs become too high, that is around the corner. Road metering has been talked about in the
U.S. for about a decade. Gas tax (for highway upkeep) is no longer a good proxy for road usage due to hybrid
and more fuel effcient cars. Also, when you have a more effcient car, you drive more.
• The delivery model is that consortiums are created. Cards are issued as a substitute for car loans. They may
be one quarter the cost of a car loan. The cards are used as multi-modal transport options. There are different
levels – premium, gold, economy, etc. The bank could buy back your car and you settle the amount. You pay a
usage-based fee every month. It’s like a telephone or utility bill.
• Every road stretch can be looked at as an asset which gives out access. You only pay for what you use. Just
like households have electricity meters, water meters, etc. Telecom and IT companies have a huge interest in
balancing the power of the old oil and automobile companies. These companies are impeding future progress
by blocking new initiatives.
• What emerges is a system best represented by thinking about rail and using roads. We wouldn’t construct
much, just ftting cars with new communications systems. Current metro stations because MetroLITE stations.
We need to create new hubs around our current bus stops, etc. You will need space to park your lighter vehicles.
Lxplorihg IhhovaIive 1rahsporIaIioh SysIems: Discussiohs wiIh Vikash Chahdras 5
• All public roads create a priority to the ridesharing systems. Private, single-occupancy cars pay certain rates
for the privilege to drive on roads. You have much fewer seats idling either in the parking lot or on the streets.
YS might have a ring loop around the area with stops are around the community. It could have four person
vehicle on off times and eight person vehicles on busy times. Keep fexibility for inbound traffc, expansion,
• We introduce a new set of vehicles that are small, silent and less polluting. These are good dogs for the
neighborhood. We can set up a manufacturing facility for this eight-seat vehicle that could be light industry.
There are 3,000 Gee Whiz vehicles in London alone (pure electric). This only possible when you have done
away with the stray dogs. Heavy vehicles are no longer welcome in this district. There is a cost associated with
them because they are a hazard and they are not free to drive on the public roads. People feel much safer and
secure in biking when the cars are no longer there.
• Neighborhood cars that go slowly and then larger cars for long trips. There are people movers that take
you the rest of the way (swipe your card). More street side malls, so you take your cart from your home to the
• The people mover could be a mini-bus that circulates around town. They can be automated. Talking to a
robotics company about this. There is just an emergency lever for people to pull if they need to. These are so
easy to drive, and people could get free mileage points for driving. Buses are high capacity. Rather we would
want high frequency. An eight-seater would be more useful. They could also be demand responsive. There are
collision avoidance systems that could be put on the faster moving vehicles.
• The two-seater car is Reva Electric Vehicle Company is the best available. Free charging stations in the UK,
so the car pays itself back in two months. The idea is to encourage and induce more and more people to take
to lighter vehicles, which has its own dynamic and rub off.
• Then you have the home zones that don’t allow the stray dogs. The entire area is pedestrian and biking
friendly. As a result you have the charging stations (with solar panels). Also have cycling tracks that cross over
to other home zones.
• The notion of sharing the road had something hidden – that is someone decided not to share very nicely,
the hazards are huge. Debilitating accidents are common. Also, you shouldn’t have to lock the bike all the time
– there could be electronic locks at bike racks. You don’t even need a bicycle. You don’t need to own anything
– you just need access with your plan. There could be a locator for bikes.
• What about making a 5-mph speed limit? It would not be energy-effcient to have cars go at that speed
because they’re designed to be optimal higher than that. Cars would pollute far more if they were forced to go
at those speeds. What about imposing that just within the home zone.
• People may then start selling there car and seeing that the bikes are fne for them, that that’s all they need.
They can then buy a subscription plan which allows access to the various multi-modal vehicles. You could
replace all the vehicles of YS at some time. The frst people could get a better price. The auto companies could
use a buy-back of certain cars, for cash down or towards a mobility service subscription.
• Kelly’s Island in Ohio and Hilton Head in North Carolina have a model of disallowing or deterring car use
so that walking and biking is more prominent. Places can choose what they want to be – if they want the buzz
of city life or if they want to be fast paced with cars running through. The choice must be with the people
through a process which allows them to become aware of what the various possibilities are. It increases the
sense of consumer options across a whole range of lifestyle issues. This model doesn’t take things away, it offers
a larger palette. It is an enrichment model, enhances quality of life.
• Bob: Chautauqua, NY is an enclosed walkable community. There is a parking lot on the edge of the gate.
When they enter, they cannot take their vehicles. Once you’re there it becomes only walking and bicycling.
6 Lxplorihg IhhovaIive 1rahsporIaIioh SysIems: Discussiohs wiIh Vikash Chahdra
There are small grocery stores, pharmacies, youth center, etc.
• Community in Germany is car-free. Most cars on the outside are private rather than shared. It wasn’t a
green feld but it was easier than putting in good roads within the community.
• You are looking for a system that can reclaim public roads and re-write the rules so that private vehicles
have no inherent right to use public roads. There are all sorts of examples where this is happening incremen-
tally. The new transport director in New York is taking cars out of certain areas of the city. They have before
and after pictures where before it was a tangled mass of cars and now people are reading books in the middle
of the street. It’s now a concrete park. She is getting push back primarily for commercial ventures. There are
examples of where people are taking back the public roadway. There is the complete streets movement in the
U.S., which means whenever you look at a public thoroughfare; it should be safe and accessible for all transit
options. That’s gaining currency in the U.S. right now. Finding the place that has the political mechanism will
be the challenge.
• Rather than waiting for people to believe that ridesharing has become a necessity, offer attractive travel
options, broadening the palette of offerings beyond private vehicle and public transit. Rather than creating
ridesharing options, creating attractive alternative transportation options.
• There is a disconnect in today’s transport systems. There is nothing called private transport, because there
are not private roads. The whole business of allowing private cars unbridled access to public roads doesn’t
hold certain tests of objectivity. By that argument, there is nothing called public transport that’s about pulling
people out of cars and into buses. It’s not the public that transports; it is always about personalized transport
systems. The debate needs to be shifted to how we can provide personalized mobility/transportation services
• One fallacy premise is to replace the car with the bus (misleading and counterproductive). You’re asking
people to do something they don’t like and unless they are forced, they won’t. If they have attractive, personal-
ized transport options…if you make sure the one kilometer walk is not intruded, not severanced. You don’t
want to defer people from walking because they might get hit by traffc.
• A biker or pedestrian would like a route that is safe, uninterrupted and pleasant. Today when we walk or
bike its right next to traffc so its not pleasant. It should induce them to walk an extra mile. It would be that
there are more people that are taking that route. Peer-to-peer rub-offs. It becomes a social phenomenon.
Instead of working at the gym, we would do a nature walk. This would be a health beneft. This would radi-
cally bring down healthcare costs.
• We are sharing the planet. The need for sharing the car is that it has four or more seats. If there were single
seat private cars, there wouldn’t be a problem.
• The model can adapt itself to be density agnostic. It could be in the range of a few thousand. Presumably
you could have an upscale community with 500 people. It would have things for every purpose and taste. You
could create new communities to ft your taste. We wouldn’t shift the physical infrastructure. The frst thing is
to use your current infrastructure and create a landscape that is meaning.
• Creating a chart of good growth and bad growth model for transportation. Annual models versus biannual.
Cost of car is 0.6 and benefts in terms of utilization and occupancy is 10 times (so 16 times). More accelera-
tion versus more effciency.
• There are ideological prop ups in terms of my freedom includes free, uninterrupted, unbridled access to
roads, which makes cars more like stray dogs in terms of system regulation. This creates problems because you
can’t manage it because you don’t know where it’s coming from. Cars are like second hand smoking in that
they are a hazard. They can bark, defecate on your property, bite you, etc.
• Horses are for courses. Automobile doesn’t do well in neighborhood trips. Rather than a source of freedom,
Lxplorihg IhhovaIive 1rahsporIaIioh SysIems: Discussiohs wiIh Vikash Chahdras 7
it is a source of deprivation. You don’t have that luxury to drop your car anywhere and walk back home. The
stray dog keeps following you and you don’t want it.
• Auto has been a wonderful innovation. But it turned bad because it got carried away. It was a good dog
at some point of time. We didn’t take care and it is coming back to haunt us. The car also deprives you of an
exchange with people that you have while walking. Car to car exchanges can be less pleasant. Even if you just
see other people’s faces, you can see how they are and care for them. It deprives the intergenerational exchange
• It will allow lots of people to cross the chasm and induce people who have been thinking a while about
giving up their car to do so. When you’re doing regular biking, it needs to be clean, because you’re breath-
ing deep. Enthusiasm is one part and you have to be practical during a longer period. A big factor that deters
people to biking and walking is the street experience. Bike paths are sometimes not very attractive. I would
rather have more space. The bike paths are choked for space. I would prefer some lateral space. If you took
roads originally made for vehicles, you would create more width.
• Re-retailing, creating these horizontal malls, is one place where jobs could be created. It requires lots of fne
tuning of the street confgurations. It also suppresses the cost of living as it creates more disposable income.
• Pre-automobile village life with the advantages of connecting to another village within a half an hour. You
get the pace of life and agrarianism and localization of pre-auto village life. Without as many capital expenses,
incomes don’t need to be as high and people could recreate locally more. You don’t have the isolation of pre-
automobile village life. Sections of urban areas would be more village-like and involve more interaction among
the people. You can set the pace of the place. The place must refect the aspirations. Different locations could
set different speeds. As soon as we do that, we need to distribute these services so that you don’t have things on
the outskirts; you have it in the neighborhoods.
• All confgurations are possible and the community determines it. How decentralized or centralized is
decided. The biggest problem when having too many people in a place is too many cars, parking, etc. Many
people walking creates a certain vibrancy. You can have village life which has a lot of empty streets possibly.
There is a sense of distress and need to do things quickly.
• There is an implication for small, local communities that we can now envision in a way we couldn’t before.
The only thing we do now concretely for small, local communities is gardening. In India there are 44 stores
per 1,000 or 10,000 people and in the U.S. it’s 3. We used to have small, local businesses and now we go to
strip malls and Wal-Mart. In history, looking at people living at low energy level you have India, Indonesia,
etc. This allows us to go into the topic of localization at the level of commerce and household small produc-
tion manufacturing and maintenance skill. Village-level commerce can be envisioned much more easily.
Prosumer – we shouldn’t just be consumers. It’s more like do-it yourself.
• If you go back 100 years you had street cars that had freight trailers for delivery. There were freight street-
cars that ran at night. In the north of Norway, they run buses that are half a bus and half a truck. People sit in
the front and in the back are huge palettes. 100 years ago the progressive transportation was streetcars.
• The reason why there is congestion is not that people make bad decisions, it’s because they don’t pay for
congestion they cause. If they have to pay for it, then they would be able to choose the routes for themselves.
Whether to make, when to make, where to make and how to make the drive and the route choice.
• It mimics everything a private car does and tries to do it better. It leapfrogs over the Bus Rapid Transit Sys-
tem. The system doesn’t mimic people wanting to have a mess and leave the mess. There is a price to retaining
your car and the whimsical value. We should pay for what we use. You want to make judicious costs. It costs
you more every time you book a trip because you have to pay for road maintenance. It is inclusive of all whims
and fancies. Keeping a private car will be much more expensive – it will pay its true costs (congestion, parking,
roads, insurance, etc.). It shouldn’t be fxed costs and then marginal costs are just $0.15 so you overuse it.
• We take a full cost, full benefts objective. Comfort, convenience, accessibility (all other needs) has to be
8 Lxplorihg IhhovaIive 1rahsporIaIioh SysIems: Discussiohs wiIh Vikash Chahdra
taken care of. For the car to work for you, you need the freedom to drive or to take a backseat ride. You need
the freedom and value added of choosing co-riders. The freedom that comes from being hands-free and having
access to internet, music, etc. The driver has voluntarily opted for doing this and gets rewards. Driver prof-
ciency helps create a ritual around it and creates game play.
• Land use will change in the system because prices have full cost. When transportation becomes more
expensive at marginal costs things change. Land use is a bigger problem than transportation. Real estate crisis
is a land use crisis. Exurbs will collapse – they only make sense when gas is cheap. Suburbs will be ghettos and
cities will be revitalized.
• Benefts/Features of the MetroLITE system:
1. Advance Travel Information – No Waiting
2. Better Vehicle
3. Better Roads
4. Better Driver
5. Green Corridor
6. Fewer Signals – Foot/Cycling over bridges
7. No Congestion
8. Right of Way
9. Turn-by-Turn Navigation Assistance
10. Real-time Incident Management
11. Reserved Parking
12. Smartcard Payment
13. Option to Ride or Drive (earn Mileage Points)
14. Passenger Telematics
• Diffcult to understand. Smart Jitney is much easier to convey – that you give up your car or park it more
often and ride with others.
• Is it legal? What about liability? Would there need to be legislation? Could there be a lawsuit? There may be
provisions for referendums. In Sweden, the laws were tweaked so that those who lived in the community had
the say, not the outside visitors. There may be a compensation issue for those who have invested in parking
lots, meters, etc. There are zoning laws that say that a certain number of parking spaces with each business.
o But those may be business risks. We need to learn about the state, local, federal laws and the precedence.
We need a lawyer to come up with new legal frameworks.
• What about Zipcar? ZipCar has lost lots of money. It has been propped up as a showcase.
o Zipcar does nothing for increasing the occupancy of vehicles. It just deters more frequent trips. Neuride
offers reward points for drivers and riders who coordinate their travel plans in Houston. The numbers of users
don’t cross one in ten thousand in terms of ridesharing.
o We belong to a similar fock of organizations doing ridesharing projects, but we specify a whole new system.
There’s more interest working with AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, etc. What we’re trying to do here is not rideshar-
ing. Unless Zip Car was able to incorporate ridesharing, it wouldn’t make a difference. If it doesn’t make a
difference of more than one percent in ten years, then it doesn’t make a difference.
• Even though Zip Car had a limited impact on the environment, it changed people’s minds – get some people to
give up their car and have a good experience with doing so. So people gained a lot of experience and learned a lot.
• What about the obstacles of legacy, inertia and ideology? Old habits and feets of vehicles in which we’ve
Lxplorihg IhhovaIive 1rahsporIaIioh SysIems: Discussiohs wiIh Vikash Chahdras 9
sunk the investment. Inertia in terms of breaking out of the habits. The role of preference reversal in our lives.
If our car is in our garage, we will use it. We get in our car because it’s there.
• What about bad weather?
o During extreme weather conditions, there could be exigencies. Wind chill factor in cold weather is not as
elevated due to low speeds of the vehicles. Also, you can allow vehicles to come in for some days/seasons.
• Can this be implemented incrementally? I am picturing that this is in fact happening incrementally. I could
picture the Hyde Park neighborhood or some areas in San Francisco. The early adopters would be the frst to
do it, but not everyone would get on board immediately. Some would give up their cars.
o No. That’s the biggest challenge, you almost need a conversion point. You need to fnd the neighborhood
that is ready to convert.
o With an incremental approach, you don’t create that auto-free (safe) zone so it loses momentum very soon.
• It’s not going to be an easy sell to anyone around the world, not just the U.S. YS has lots of people who
consider themselves environmentalists, who have the longest commutes in the region.
o It has to be a multi-pronged approach. You can also get federal attention to how it’s integral to get a hook
on a two billion dollar defcit. If you can see that picture, you would appreciate how to create a model, if YS or
the Miami Valley region decides to be a frst mover. It would set it up for worldwide attention and be looked
at as a hub. It could become it’s bread and butter and it becomes an investment.
• The challenge is that there is no YS to decide. No elected body could make the decision for the commu-
nity. The kind of scenarios that popped into my mind were abandoned college campuses that are going out
of business. It would seem easier to re-populate with like-minded people, these campuses. We wanted to buy
a bankrupt college campus and create a multi-generational community. People chose to buy cars, the auto
infrastructure wasn’t imposed upon them.
o People didn’t choose in a referendum to abandon the tram lines, they were bought up by GM and
destroyed. What do people really care about and what do they need. This is one of the most likely propositions
that comes closest to refecting people’s aspirations and that marries the communication technology that has its
own attractiveness (peer-to-peer messaging, etc.).
• Why do we need mobility?
o There has to be dissemination because individuals are not self-suffcient in terms of creating and achieving
their goals. We want more cosmopolitan than parochial. We want to move out of our box and expand the
boundaries. Humans are explorers. We can have the best of both worlds in a way we can enhance both worlds.
• But there is a political system. You can only get something through if the median voter elects that. The
median voter likes their car very much right now.
o They don’t. Why do cars have to be sold so hard, using all the tricks in the book?
• This would only work if we had a dictatorship and we implemented it, and then in 10 years asked people, if
they would like to continue it. They would have learned, and have had different experiences. Then give them
the choice to go back to the old system, or keep the new system. Right now we have a system of everyone hav-
ing their own car and this is just an intellectual exercise.
o Another way this gets done is that you run a campaign and you let people see in clear light how they are
• Seems to be much easier to implement and sell in China and India to skip over the private car ownership
period. It will be hard to overcome the learning in the U.S. This will make people better off than not owning
a car, but hard to convince people in the U.S. who won’t see that they’ll be better off. But they still have an
aspiration to own a car. Why better in the U.S.?
o No, it’s not because the source of the memes are here in the U.S. The system requires GPS. You need more
than the Germany truck systems.
10 Lxplorihg IhhovaIive 1rahsporIaIioh SysIems: Discussiohs wiIh Vikash Chahdra
• Some say that there should not be separation between bikes and cars.
o The issue if you have lots of bikes, they should be separated because it will be too many. If there are a few,
then you have to protect them. The likelihood of people biking and getting hurt gets so low that many more
• The reason why car-free neighborhoods (like in Freiberg, Germany and some cities in California) are so
controversial is because no one knows about re-sale value because what if parking is not in front of your house?
In Germany the contract comes that you have to sign that you will never own a car. If you don’t sign it, you
have to move out. They don’t know how to enforce the contracts. What if a child becomes an adult and wants
to own a car?
• Do these radical models have they been able to infuence more people? There is a pattern of stunted growth
in a lot of these initiatives and there is not an organic growth. They are still in combat mode, those who persist
with notions of owning a car versus not owing a car. This tango is an underlying philosophy.
o No intention to undermine these projects, but they haven’t moved to the next stage in due course. They’ve
stagnated and dragged everything with it. By creating hub and spoke is how you increase occupancy. But then
it is a land use question. You won’t mimic the car 100%.
• You still have to deal with people. Look at the YS Village Council. The devil is in the implementation.
Hard to judge the technical part of the MetroLITE proposal. It would be hard for people to accept it as a way-
of-life. Maybe in 30 years when/if we see the frst signs of global warming. When things become dire, people
will fght for their survival.
o Going back 50 years to anti-Communist and racist feelings in the U.S., those are not strong anymore. In
the future, it could be accepted but today it won’t be accepted.
• Seems like a socialist transportation system because it is one large system. Mega-systems have mega-inef-
fciencies and there will be very little room for innovation. There is no competition or decentralized decisions.
Private transportation is decentralized decision-making.
o Every stretch is up for competition – similar to how Telecom systems work. This is about customization
and personalization. Every one of these home zones will refect the personality of people living there. There is
a disconnect of people and their habitats. It will affect forms so that it changes the functions. There are aspects
of good capitalism and good socialism.
• If global warming turns out to be a bigger problem than wishing for, we would totally just get rid of the
car. We did it for thousands of years. The little step further to get rid of personalized transportation is not hard
after you’ve given up the car. But the consequences of getting rid of the car are much better than this system.
• Does it eliminate the auto mechanics?
o They could retroft the cars with electronic systems (for navigation and location identifcation) and airline-
like seats (armrests). There is a lot of engineering and design around it.
• What about privacy?
o Privacy issue is dealt with due to everyone carrying cell phones. There is non-disclosure even though the
data is there. Our notion of privacy has to get re-negotiated with cell phones, electronic banking,, etc. On all
the carpooling sites, you have posted people’s names and destinations, so there is less privacy here.
Lxplorihg IhhovaIive 1rahsporIaIioh SysIems: Discussiohs wiIh Vikash Chahdras 11
• Plan to create a consortium of banks, telecom, auto companies, media and entertainment and energy. Start
with the metro area, then scale up to states and the country.
• Need to connect with Wright-Patt and see if there are any Air Force applications that could be used. The
GPS system may need another 24 satellites in the next few years.
• The way we plan to implement it is by creating consortiums. Exploring who are the people who are gener-
ally concerned about doing good and addressing larger problems. Cuba flm is about how to anticipate the
crisis. Crisis-ridden responses are not effective because they are too late.
• We need to now get our gear together on creating specifc proposals and start calling up these folks at the
TIGER grant. Deadline extended to June 30. Great if MVRPC could partner with us for a DOT proposal. It
could be another track. We want to increase the reach and create a campaign where hundreds of local govern-
ments come to the table. DOT could front us to a tune of $10 million to do test marketing of this complete
campaign. I have fgured out where we get the skill sets from. We have to start working on a proposal.
• Need to call up the Naveen Lamba, the global ITS head for IBM (based in NY). They have a great initiative
for Smarter Planet where they have papers. One is called Smart Railroads which was used for a Danish project.
They might have money for a pilot project.
• Though it can be demonstrated in a small place, its best to implement countrywide. One of the criteria for
applying for TIGER funds is that you can demonstrate success by February 2012. This could save the auto
companies – instead of reinventing the wheel.
• Over land bridges could be built for roughly $80K – $100K each. Some of the larger ones may cost a bit
• Stimulus money will create a new legacy of carbon use putting money into roads. Raising CAFÉ standards
is a bad thing – if you lower the price of driving, people will drive more. The land use will suffer. We need to
increase the cost of driving. Government is dealing with the Great Depression rather than climate change. We
could put money into bus rapid transit rather than into cars and alternative fuels.
• This could be put into a New Solutions report and it might take months. Instead of 50 pages of notes, we
would have something. It would be a total transportation system rather than a quick fx for reducing con-
• Community Solutions’ primary function is getting new ideas out into the world. We need to decide if this
is a priority. When we talk about a one or two day workshop, if we can offer something like this, we can show
how deeply we think. The question is who runs the shops? We need to bring it back into the neighborhoods.
This is an expansive version of what happened in Cuba. It will sound outlandish to people and be shelved in
the short term. It will be necessary for local commerce to expand and we can show how it can be done and in
an orderly way, not haphazardly.
• Then you can create a competition between communities as to who are going to beneft the most by being
frst movers. Various communities could bid to become MetroLITE ready. This creates a buzz that spreads
over the entire region, so people don’t feel like they’re the only specimens being converted, especially when it
challenges their habits. It would be a well planned marketing campaign, as GM does a campaign. A personal-
ized mobility services campaign. It creates a draw rather than pushing it and tying our fates to people thinking
favorably of it. There are market forces (AT&T, Sprint, Microsoft, car companies) that have a lot to gain from
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• The frst chart of the presentation is that we have a serious resource problem (not that it will be fun). Then you
bring in the higher quality, that as we reduce consumption, we will live different but won’t be deprived. People are
more likely to make a change if they see themselves happier after the change. This system talks about the ways we
will be better off and how we can respond to the shocks and crises, unrelated to their probability of arriving.
• We need an animation flm, a usage scenario for the public. The presentation is for developing the consor-
tium. It’s for transportation planners, local governments, Department of Transportation, companies, etc.
• We tell people that they have their right to keep the car. We don’t even say that the prices will be high. We
tell them that the way you use it, you will pay for use. There have been objections from people who use their
car very judiciously who would like to pay only for car usage.
• Rather than circulating vehicles, you could say “hop ins, hop outs.” Need a better description of the transfer
experience. First you got your morning’s walk. Then you had your head covered in the people mover and saw
your friends. Then if you like driving, you get rewarded with free mileage points. You have a safe ride because
you’re with a good driver. If you’ve had a few drinks, you’ve ridden safely. Another beneft is that your child is
safer, the air will be cleaner, and there is less noise pollution. You’ll save money and won’t feel guilty about the
end of the planet. This is a narrative, illustrative approach.
• For transportation planners, I’d say here’s what we’re doing and why we’re doing it and the technology that
we have. For the public, there would be a marketing campaign (pump priming) that could be a presentation
with the narrative or a short flm.
• If we were presenting this to Council, we could develop the theme of the public roads and how they will
degrade with the current cost scheme. Then we could talk about the climate change impacts. We could explain
how it works and the benefts.
• “Who gets hurt” could be a chart. Could include businesses that need to shift and re-skill. Auto mechanics,
parking lot attendants, police? Could put where those who might lose their jobs get re-skilled in. Talk about
crime abatement as getaway is not as easy. Vehicles ftted with remotely controlled emergency response sys-
tems. There is a pool of service staff that are skilled in driving in case no one wants to drive. The producer and
consumer are merged (prosumer, do-it-yourself ). They could also be service mechanics, parking attendants,
shifting bicycles huddled up in one location, cleaning, up-keep, re-fueling, and charging customers. They could
be public or private employees.
• Road life will increase with less wear-and-tear. Roads can also be redesigned to become more porous so rain
can go through, walkways can have photovoltaic coverings, etc. Dependency on the grid is reduced.
• We need to simulate the amount of accidents, but we can say it will be a safer community because we’ve
improved the profle of driving, vehicles, sequestration and homogeneity of feets moving together on one corri-
dor, fewer vehicles, and fewer vehicles in pedestrian zones. Auto insurance is not needed because of reduced risk
of collisions. There could be chaperoned services for children (drops and pickups from school, sports practice,
• We need a brief presentation on how we are different from other programs. Then create something else that
responds to their concerns.
• Looking at MetroLITE versus conventional ridesharing systems. MetroLITE can give travel time assurance
due to monitoring all traffc on the road and knowledge of road capacities. There could be places where GPS
navigation moves cars to different routes. This is the national MetroLITE version, rather than the local pilot
• On road safety and road quality service assurance because you identify better drivers, there are fewer driv-
ers and fewer cars on the road. We create a feedback loop between road demand and supply. You know vehicle
miles on every stretch of the road and can decide to add lanes, etc. The government or operator gets a percent-
age of vehicle mile fares to maintain the roads.
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• Questions about the viability of conventional ridesharing: It’s hard to match start time, return time, etc., and
to do it over a closed user group is almost impossible, unless you try really hard or it’s a factory with a closing
bell. It’s not the case for most work that we do today.
• Enhancing the on the road experience, enriching your travel experience, not giving anything up.
• Focus on the distressed areas and what people aren’t happy with (gas prices, going without food to afford
driving to work, being stuck with larger cars)
• One way to tell the story is to take photos of “what’s wrong with this picture?” You could show people who
drive in with bike racks on their car to go cycling on the bike path. We need to persist with Judy’s kind of think-
ing. Our position is not getting rid of the car, but taming the car.
• Use of energy audit software to measure and report on your energy savings. Hara is a kind of software you
can use. It is one of the most powerful tracking tools. It allows things to be validated by different parties.
Yellow Springs Ideas
• Yellow Springs fts the bill and seems to be a good candidate due to the various economic, cultural, social
• Yellow Springs’ transportation problem is commuters coming in and out of town every day. Local employers
could help employees share rides. Many academics commuting to the nearby major universities.
• Economically, Yellow Springs has lost its industry – automobile parts manufacturer and Antioch College.
Antioch buildings could be converted to value-added agriculture production facilities and shoe repair and other
• Maybe Antioch represents new commercial spaces. Students could avoid debt if they make money and be
productive while they study. Antioch could be the school where this could be taught. The buildings become
the manufacturing plants the retail centers (light, non-toxic). It is a training session. Permaculture is about reuse
and wasting nothing and imitating nature’s ability to do it. Integrate soft permaculture with hard engineering.
Then we could have the vision and it’s a timely way to start.
• In Yellow Sprints, the transfer stations could be at the municipal building at the northeast, one at the south
end on US-68, and one at the western side at Dayton street around McGregor. Downtown would have no cars
moving through, as people would transfer on the edges of town.
• The visual element would enhance YS. Every weekend would be like street fair.
• Lots of people are traveling out of YS, could they log in into a business center which had desks, fax
machines, etc. Slots could be booked. It’s a combination of working from house and working from a business
center. Footprint is lower and relocation would not be necessary. Could be a survey of what the job require-
ments are and what people would need in a business center.
• Using the Smart Jitney for people that live in YS and work outside of town as well as for those who work
in YS and don’t live here. YSI and Morris Bean also likely have commuters coming from local communities.
Creative Memories promotes it and there is a group that regularly carpools but would like to see a broader
approach, including networking with other local companies.
• People already come to YS to ride a bike on the bike trail and enjoy nature. It seems like a tourist town on
the weekends. Whenever you go to the vacation spots, they have great options for shuttles, buses, bikes, etc.
There are technical aspects that are hard to follow.
• This could be presented to the village. It would have to be an investment for fnding routes, dividing up the
community, creating paths, etc. The diffcult part is changing the behaviors of people that don’t care. Whatever
they care for, as long as it’s not harming others, we will take care of. Demonstrating that it will beneft and
possibly enhance their lifestyle will give you the buy-in from the larger audience. Money spent for bike paths
connecting larger cities should’ve been spent on bike paths within communities.
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Travel Diary Study
• Start with the Yellow Springs travel diary study. There should be no objections to collecting good quality
data that will help with decision-making.
• JAVA-enabled mobile phones are required to develop a travel matrix study from travel diaries. JAVA is an
operating system for cell phones (an applet that can be downloaded).
• You key in your time sign, so the time stamp gets recorded. At the end of the day, it gets uploaded. The
system takes the time stamps and the geocodes/location (GPS enabled phones). The time stamps and location
codes then get mapped.
• It appears on a GPS map as where people are starting and going. This lets us establish the location of hubs,
where ridesharing hubs could be located.
• Several thousand devices would be required for Yellow Springs, and they could get re-used in other commu-
nities to do studies there. They take two weeks.
• There have been good response rates – in one UK example, it was 72%.
• You could offer two options – download the application for your current mobile phone or rent out a hand-
set for two weeks.
• To buy the devices, then rent them out the payback would be 24 to 30 weeks. They cost around $80 to
• E/I labs has procured some of these devices. A Yellow Springs study would be the frst on a comprehensive
scale in the U.S. Similar devices exist in other areas.
• This was discussed briefy at the MIT conference, though pen and paper diaries were used more widely.
MIT is more interested in understanding what would motivate someone to give up their car and share rides.
Partnering with IT Companies
• AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, etc., have a big stake in doing this because it enables the satellite system to become
more viable. The advantage of shifting from 3G to 4G will be important. Phones will not just receive but
relays calls. This increases the bandwidth and it’s all IP-based. The applications have not come forth yet, but
this will be combined with GPS systems. Our frst phase initiatives will be sponsored by Telecom companies.
Getting this cooperation (and the TIGER grant) will challenge our marketing skills. Nokia is developing a
phone you can just tap to other phone or kiosk to transfer data.
• Logica is a new Dutch company that wants to be international. They have $4 to $5 billion in annual rev-
enues and are the third or fourth largest IT company in Europe. There is an offce in Houston and New York.
• Intelligent Transport Systems is one of their focus areas. Vikash met with the head of intelligent transport
systems, Cees Dewjis. Also met with global innovation director
• Logica has been able to focus on innovation, rather than Indian companies which are focused on outsourc-
ing, so they can’t productize solutions. They need to front end solutions, innovate solutions.
• Logica would be a good innovation partner for housing, food and transportation. Vikash would be an advi-
• Should we do a frst approximation of how much energy would be saved by moving to this system? IBM
could help with these metrics. We have done this groundwork – would you like to come in and strengthen our
capacities to deliver? IBM would come in as the IT partner. They would sit down with us and determine how
many handheld devices we would need for the travel diaries? We would then fnd a manufacturer. They would
set up the database management and monitoring. We would co-own the system and do a negotiation. They
would put in money for the early stages of the pilot.
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Applying Technology Solutions to Plan C Options for Housing and Food
• Would like to learn more about air fow dynamics and standard operating procedures of a Passive House.
Passive house cost is 5 to 10% more How do the energy savings amortize over the period of the house? Sees
weatherizing millions of homes as a part of the stimulus agenda. Weatherizing multiple times is very diffcult,
Better to do it once at 90%. As a new idea, Pat said that this is getting a lot of resistance. U.S. Green Build-
ing Council is promoting LEED buildings at 25% energy savings. Passive house says to focus on the envelope
before the appliances. $50K per house needed to retroft, for $100 million houses.
• For the Passive house, the technologies and methods could be automating. Automating them could save
a lot of costs. For organic farming to become as productive as conventional, you could do weather and soil
monitoring. Some of the processes of tilling, seeding could be automated. We need to make farming more user
friendly, while trying to de-chemical the use.
• The German software is not user friendly – it’s a tech based spreadsheet. We should be able to marry a three
dimensional model of building with the specifcations and air fow dynamics. We can co-create new solutions
would help us tap the funding from the economic stimulus.
• 3D solid object compression in a few kb of information, and do simulations of passive houses. Creating
computer based training for passive housing is a big opportunity. Whenever we have to start writing there is a
hard amount of work. There is a whole sector that serves this called E-learning. They specialize in taking down
specs and looking at the whole nature of learning. Some of their visualizers and program designers would
attend the sessions. There are lots of companies that work out of India. In a more collaborative mode, we
could start out with some sort of agency we know of, with a lower cost estimate. Logica is not into e-learning,
but many are – Upside Learning is one. They could also create e-learning manuals for farming.
• We could take up Rob’s farm as a pilot. We could study how things look. At the beginning it looks messy.
We could help people with how to take out drudgery towards reproducibility, scalability, etc. It sounds like
we could apply systems thinking to farming. We could talk to Albert Bates. Soil tests and plant tissue tests
(because even with some minerals, if there aren’t enough microbial elements, then it’s not available to plants).
Determining if the plants are able to withstand disease and be the most nutritious. We could talk to Peter
Bane and Sharon Astyk as well.
• Systems review of organic farming so it could become more effcient, productive, scalable and reproduc-
ible. What is the role of information technology in local, organic food systems. Some to alleviate the drudgery
of organic gardening. Organic farming helpline – this is already happening in rural India. This could fll the
gap of ignorance in farming. This might be a reason to go back to Cuba. We could also link with Vandana
Shiva and the Land Institute. We could work with IBM to design, build, maintain and track energy savings in
passive houses, develop lifecycle analyses, provide a graphical user interface for PHPP, fnancing retrofts, town
building energy audits,
• We could also organize a workshop with IBM, biotech, permaculturists, etc., to create the high-tech sup-
port system for organic farming.
Vikash Assumptions and Philosophy
Presentation: Eco-system Innovation by Design – Synopsis of an Innovator’s Experiments in Real Life
• Two worldviews: Microbial Microcosm and Consumerist Fanaticism. Inter-balancing them leads to the best
• Part of the problem with overcoming materialism is that items have meaning and memory. They are part of
the rituals, which every society has had for generations. Unless we recreate the folklores in a way that panders
to both sides of our nature, we will not be successful.
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• While everything has a shelf-life, we have a moral responsibility to avert premature collapse.
• How do we move from a “take, make, waste” existence? We exploit the soil to get our minerals and we use
them and dump them. That’s not how nature works. If we are to sustain all the way through, we have to live
cradle-to-cradle. Reconditioning, reusing, composting, etc. Take the nutrients out of waste.
• Progress cannot be about gaining some and losing a lot. The air and water need to be clean. While progress
has to march forward, we have to keep innovating and creating new systems which restore those values.
• Even as life becomes far less drudgery (how do we create time for arts, literature, culture), it must be in a
tango in a process of restoring what we have destroyed. The feedback loops become very important.
• Consumerism is no accident – we were designed to be here. We need growth, but we don’t need growth by
faking the reality. We need real growth, not cancerous growth. We need real wealth indicators.
• One of the tracks was going overboard (consumerist fanaticism) while the microbial microcosm was being
subdued. Consumerism has been the dominant model governing most countries in the world, and has been
experienced by more than one generation as the norm.
• People collect their childhood experiences and the rituals around them. Even if people realize that the cur-
rent reality doesn’t serve them well, we don’t have the other option ready.
• One versus the other (agrarian and industrial) is not the best way forward – it’s “both and.” A sustainable
industrial society which stimulates us in a variety of ways is the goal. We cannot relapse into the old age, agrar-
• Coming to the confict between the natural support systems for farmers versus green revolution (which
was neither green nor a revolution). Pale green and blue catastrophe is a better name. It has caused epidemics
of cancer, poisoning of air and water. From bread basket to basket case. India is struggling with imposition of
green revolution on traditional agriculture.
• IT companies have failed to grow their domestic markets. We need lots more localization and collabora-
tion/co-creation. There will be a lot of localization. The 20-30 miles trips will be 2-3 miles. But we need more
teleconferencing and teleporting. They have to be supplanted in certain situations by face-to-face interactions.
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PowerPoint Presentation – “Innovation for Transportation Systems: Snapshots of High Quality
Mobility Services for 21st Century Realities”
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