It is a fact that there are far too many vehicles on the road today. The result is traffic jams, accidents, and worst of all, pollution and wasted gas. Another little known fact is if three or more people are in an average car, it can be the most energy efficient mode of transportation per person/mile traveled.
The customer, both driver and passenger communicates wirelessly with a computer through a form of G.P.S enabled device with mapping capability. Voice and cell phone capability may be employed but is not essential. There are GPS systems available from many companies for cars and people. Many cell phones and cars already have GPS and communication capabilities.
Now, lets take this idea and add it to the idea of “Car Pooling.”
Some individuals already take advantage of this form of transportation to save on gas, to share expenses or to save on the stress of having to drive for hours every day just to get to work and back. Car pooling is very inefficient though as you must find the person to pick up. You pick them up and drop them off etc. You often need to go far out of your way. Car Pooling currently works best when you are traveling longer distances..
Here is how the system would work. The passenger inputs a destination and the fact that he is ready to leave in a GPS enabled devise plus his security code to verify he is who he says he is. His system is connected to the central computer.
A driver with a car enabled GPS devise who is signed in to the system and who is going to the node in the passengers path is directed by his G.P.S. system which is tied to a central computer.
A node is a transfer point or hub and it is an intermediary way point on a persons journey.
The G.P.S. tells the driver how and where to turn to the passengers house. He then proceeds to the node, possibly picking up others as he goes. At the nearest node, all passengers get out and are directed by their GPS to a car going toward their final destination. Since lots of cars or other modes of transportation are headed to Toronto, for instance, but few or none to Huntsville, the devise will send that person to Toronto if that is the best current option to eventually get him to his destination in Huntsville.. He passes through nodes until he reaches his destination.
Small towns may have a few nodes, mostly on major roads out of town. Cities like Toronto would have hundreds. Nodes would be located by major roads, bus, train, subways and transport interlinks. In major cities most on road parking would be replaced by nodes greatly reducing available parking and greatly increasing the incentive to leave your car at home but picking up and dropping off people very convenient.. Remaining parking would be available to people who participate. As the central computer knows who it sent with whom, it can charge passengers and credit drivers. Security can be assured by the fact that it knows who is traveling with whom.
How Does Everyone Pay For This
Passengers pay through credit cards, debit cards, or a Pay Pal type of system which is integral to the system. They are charged by the computer for mileage.
Now the driver needs to be paid for his time and his gas. His GPS is also registered with the main computer which can actually read the passengers accumulated mileage on his car. So the driver is paid for his mileage for each person who travels with him. More passengers means more revenue.
If he is doing personal traveling, he simply doesn’t sign in to the main system. He cannot fool the System. If he is alone in his car, there will only be one GPs signal. A stolen GPS can’t be signed in unless the thief has its pin number.
Can Buses and Trains get in on this
As bus and train stations are nodes they can easily participate and be paid by the system, no ticket or cash required.
Taxi companies can do short hops, mostly doing local pickups and deliveries of passengers. Because they can pick up and deliver several rather than just one or two passengers, it would be profitable. No carrying cash or worrying about being paid. The driver could operate without a cab company or just do it when he is not busy or dispatched by the cab company.
Emergency vehicles can be dispatched through the GPS central computer if someone uses emergency features that could be built into the personal GPS. The fact that they have an exact direct map to where the emergency is will speed things up. Again, less vehicles on the road will make the path clearer and quicker.
The General Motors “Onstar” system has emergency services. With similar GPS enabled service an old person takes a fall, pushes the emergency button on his or her device and medical information is available to the paramedics who are on their way and can now be prepared. The individual would not even need to be in a vehicle.
Young people with a GPS including girls who might not like the behavior of the person they are out with would find this service essential. If an individual has been drinking, or a young person finds he has had too much and doesn’t want to take the chance on driving home he can go through the GPS and node system to get home safely. This will take a great deal of burden and worry off parents. It will add to the feeling of safety for young and old alike.
Who Can Use This System?
Let us also consider seniors who have no vehicle, have one but are afraid to drive at night, are nervous in traffic, or who for health reasons are no longer able to drive. They must depend on family members, taxis, buses, and friends to travel, get groceries, attend doctors appointments and of course have some recreation.
Children must get to school and back. The school bus people do their best to accommodate however, what if a child is taking special classes and has to be taken by a parent on their way to work and back?
What about hockey, dancing lessons, music lessons, etc? Parents become a taxi service whether they want to or not.
What about the people who cannot afford a car, are not in the immediate area of the bus route, or want to travel to another city to visit family and friends? How many small towns have no transit other than taxis. What about those who are handicapped ? Getting from point A to point B can be a challenge not to mention having some simple recreation and socialization.
Men, Women, Children, the elderly, the handicapped, emergency services, customer services, bar tenders who may be worried about a customer (and it is their job to see that the person doesn’t drive while intoxicated.) Doctors, nurses, teachers, students and the list goes on.
All information will be kept strictly confidential in the main computer including the personal information about the individual, their residence, their financial situation, their health concerns and their preferences in drivers. Each will have a specific code number recognized by the computer as it categorized each rider and driver. Using security codes or thumb prints will prevent someone using another GPS which will stop the theft of the units. The individual can update his/her profile at any time. Such things as changes of life style, living accommodation, area of employment, disability etc. can be easily changed and updated through the internet..
It would be advantageous for both drivers and passengers to obtain a police clearance as more people would be happy to travel with them though it does not have to be mandatary.
What Can The Government Do?
The government can provide seed funding and they will need to set up nodes and node parking for the project. They can also provide carrot and stick incentives to both riders and drivers to use this system.
The government can also encourage publicly owned transportation to participate.
It also needs to decide who controls the central computer. It may need to be a public utility. If one company owns it, it could become a monopoly . Many companies should benefit by providing products and services from this proposal. Public policy decisions must be made. The television stations are relinquishing their TV frequencies. Some of these frequencies may be required to run the system as they can penetrate through buildings and structures.
The car industry will be of great help by putting a compatible “Onstar” type system in new cars and trucks. New style cars may become popular to attract riders. The older vehicles can be equipped with a GPS system for a reasonable cost. Cost of the units will fall dramatically with large volume.
This system will work for virtually everyone who wishes to participate. Gas usage will drop, traffic accidents will drop, pollution will drop all because of this universal private/ public transit system that will get anyone from point “A” to point “B” efficiently, comfortably and with very little inconvenience to the drivers. As the roads become less congested a participating driver will arrive at his destination faster than if he did not because he is not sitting in a traffic jam and because he is given access to HOV lanes, preferred parking, etc. This type of system will have to come into existence as energy resources and the worlds ability to deal with current conditions are finite.Robert & Belinda Joseph