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    Jun 25 2012: Invert the transportation model. No-one should ever be driving into and then back out of the cities. Offices, performing arts centers, the whole group should be driving out to pick up customers. Yes, we lose some tiny portion of our scheduling freedom. The trade off gained by the ability to run optimization modeling in the driving times and distances is more than enough to compensate for it. Instead of 10 people driving the full distance to point x in the city and then back (20x), the pick-up van/bus can come out and make one modified loop traveling a significantly smaller distance. If we multiply that by the 1000's of commuter trips every day, there is a dramatic change. Now none of us want to relive the days of the school bus, but even if we cap it to small , cushy buses of 10-15 commuters each (to erase pick-up time differentials), we're still talking about meaningful savings. The use of privately owned buses also allows us to overcome certain negative externalities of most public transit systems.

    Bring on the bridges of Konigsburg problem, baby! :-D
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      Jun 26 2012: Erik, why not? At the end of the day, the only reason why the prevailing mindset has been that we transport ourselves to provide accesibility to work, goods, social interactions, education etc is because we can (we have the vehicles and we like the convenience). We are starting to see that model turned on its head and the organisers of these activity start to do the heavy lifting. In a highly wired and connected world, some of these things already come to us (ie: internet shopping, on line education). However, we're naturally social animals hence this model is unlikely to be appropriate for all our needs. Hence a potential permutation of this model is a highly efficient "round robin" optimised customer collection approach that you describe. I guess one of the dependencies would be a city's spacial design - the extent to which a city is spread out vs. being more compact...but this could be addressed if folks were flexible in scheduling times.
    • Jun 26 2012: This is may be the best short term solution, but when we will be 9 billion and after we reach the "peak oil" this won't work anymore. For one reason, whatever you do the oil won't be affordable anymore.. the production will simply decrease and the needs to energy will increase. I don't think Shell can do something about that except providing us with another source of energy. We can't evolve without doing that. We must stop using fossil fuel. Another solution is to use the green algae. there are many research done concerning the use of green algae as a fuel. The advantage is that we don't need to change the infrastructures and it's easy to produce.

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