Making Car Ownership Obsolete

#Travel

Tue, Jul 15th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Adam Greenfield of The Guardian reports on a plan by Finland's capital to make car ownership "pointless" in about a decade. The idea is to provide transportation on demand at a cost that's equal or less than owning a car, with a very simple payment system that integrates all forms of public transportation available.

Helsinki aims to transcend conventional public transport by allowing people to purchase mobility in real time, straight from their smartphones. The hope is to furnish riders with an array of options so cheap, flexible and well-coordinated that it becomes competitive with private car ownership not merely on cost, but on convenience and ease of use.

Subscribers would specify an origin and a destination, and perhaps a few preferences. The app would then function as both journey planner and universal payment platform, knitting everything from driverless cars and nimble little buses to shared bikes and ferries into a single, supple mesh of mobility. Imagine the popular transit planner Citymapper fused to a cycle hire service and a taxi app such as Hailo or Uber, with only one payment required, and the whole thing run as a public utility, and you begin to understand the scale of ambition here.

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