Welcome

It’s taken a lot of work to get this point, so thanks to everyone who helped out making the site and organizing the conference.

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2 Responses to Welcome

  1. Gerry Tierney says:

    Question: I am struggling to understand in simple terms what the “redcar” concept is, how it would work and how it differs from what we currently have. Would people still own their own vehicles? Or is it like a bike share system. What about storage? Who is driving? All very basic questions. Is there a relatively simple explanation somewhere that you could share?

    • The intent is that people would not own their own car but would have ready access to a vehicle (individually or shared) similar to Zipcar “car-share” program with the fee / user cost being based upon a shared (cheapest) option through to an individual (most expensive) option. However we don’t prohibit individuals from potentially using their cars but they would be hit with the highest premium use charge.

    • The intent is that the “redcars” would, during the day and evening anyway, be constantly in use through sharing. However realizing that there would be peak hour demands greater than the average day or evening demand some storage location (“car barn” if you will) will be required but that can be remotely located as cars would be travelling on the road on an “on-demand” basis only. Also, with a redesigned urban vehicle the space required for car parking would be significantly reduced from the current 110 sf minimum footprint of a typical car.

    • The vehicles would be self-driving, in that they could use the autonomous vehicle guidance system currently under development by the Volkswagen Group in conjunction with Stanford CARS program (Sven Beiker of Stanfords CARS may talk to that point), or if they’re on the freeway they could use the Automated Highway System demonstrated by UCB’s PATH program down on I-15 in San Diego (Jim Misener of UCB’s PATH may talk to that) and they would be self-aware and spatially interconnected similar to the work done by both VW and GM (se Chris Borroni-Bird’s work on this).

    • Per issues of culture, safety, economics and practicality – the answers may be a bit more nuanced and create very interesting discussion. Our interests ultimately lie in achieving: 1) more people in fewer cars that 2) move in a more efficient manner 3) take up less space in the urban realm (either parked or in motion.) The issue of whether the cars are driverless and whether private ownership is permitted are ones that we initially discussed at length. In the end, we are found that there is rational for maintaining both and, especially considering the immediate implementation of this concept, there would have to be exceptions. For example, even if the car is driverless, there may be a need to have a “driver” – just to ease the social/cultural and safety concerns.

    • The second scheduled session – “the overlay” – will deal with issues which have been less explored than the first phase of our investigation. These issues &impacst include the impacts to the urban realm and opportunities of freed space (by consolidation of vehicles, “road diet” etc.) and the new nodes that emerge from shared social interests. New conversations including the changes to regulatory structure and lending patterns to promote these nodes have recently surfaced and trigger various outcomes. I believe herein lies the types of discussions that will be most interesting as part of the colloquium.

  2. Gerry Tierney says:

    Ken Greenberg, August 16, 2010:

    I understand the appeal of coming up with a system that can cope with the highly dispersed polycentric pattern we have inherited in many US cities, notably LA. The REDCAR concept proposes to address this reality with a distributed transportation system, utilizing existing infrastructure (highways and roads) and emerging P2P communications.

    Question: What are the design implications for the built & social environments? In other words what will be the potential impact of such a ubiquitous, distributed and autonomous system on urban planning / architecture and the public realm? If we believe that the goal (and urgent need) is not just to facilitate mobility in more efficient vehicles so as to reduce some of the more toxic social and environmental impacts of auto dependency, but to actually create a fabric of denser urban places that are inherently more sustainable, foster walking, overlaps and connectivity that allows people to do multiple things in one place, create economic synergies etc. then the question is does REDCAR do that?

    The REDCAR hypothesis seems to be that consolidated “development will naturally emerge (as a self-organizing system) from the urban fabric” “in response to social activity hotspots triggered by both physical space (Redcar vehicle / transit-mode transfer) and social swings – the overlay of efficient route-processing software upon the physical realm will cause serendipitous social and transit “hot-spots” to emerge thus creating an organic evolution of true TODs”.

    Question: Does this really work? And how and why would these organic TODs or emergent nodes ‘naturally’ form? Absent any physical, policy controls, economic or operational constraints or fixed attraction points what would cause the urban fabric to congeal at these points and not just continue to atomize and disperse along the roadway network? Don’t we need some additional tools to produce the “emergent nodes”? Are we over-relying on technology? Short of relying only on expensive fixed rail solutions, are there not already low-tech versions of flexible vehicle sharing in the developing world, for example, that we could learn from such as “collectivos, guaguas, or jitneys”?
    I clearly don’t have the answers, but these are the questions that the REDCAR proposal raises for me. I look forward to the discussion at the Colloquium.