Op-Ed: How to make every day almost a Car Free Day in your City?

Hi Eric,

How to make every day almost a Car Free Day in the City?

A behavioral change can reduce the convenience of the personal car while increasing the convenience of multi-passenger shared taxis. This approach uses many carrots and one stick with the following features:

  1. No on-street parking (the stick). This frees up on-street parking for bike lanes.
  2. One-Way streets (optional…decreases number of left hand turns)
  3. Bicycle lanes interconnected throughout the city on one side of the street, the left side A with an optional thin curb to protect the bicycle lanes.
  4. On the right side B, buses and taxis have loading zones. Side B also allows permitted parking for service and delivery vehicles.
  5. Shared taxi-mandate by cities that ALL taxis accept passengers up to maximum capacity and are constantly dropping off and picking up passengers. Includes ALL “ride-share” and app-based services.
  6. Taxis mainly serve first and last mile and connect to public transit.
  7. Public transit converts to forms of Bus Rapid Transit or Express service.
  8. Fares are served through cards such as the S.F. Bay Area’s Clipper card.
  9. Taxis convert to alternative fuel or electric vehicles and bike carriers.
  10. Some car garages convert to bike garages.
  11. Reduced speeds.
  12. Just transition for all.

 

One powerful advantage of taxis is that they don’t need parking, rather they need access to loading (pick=up and drop-off) and storage (with electric charging stations) when not in operation. Shared taxis rely on directionality to enhance their efficiency, that is, they accept passengers if they are going in the same general direction. They are completely flexible and can respond to needs as they arise. Generally, they’re not door- to- door service but drop passengers close enough ( within easy walking distance) to their destinations.
The supply and demand of shared taxis needs to be carefully calibrated to ensure their reliability and convenience.
Other important advantages are the facts that conversion to this system is relatively “shovel ready” and capable of providing jobs which are critical for a stable society.

Imagine if shared taxis could transport 10 times the number of passengers that app-based and traditional taxis currently serve. If the public adapted to this transportation alternative then it would be possible to see a radical reduction in VMT, increase in alternative electric transportation, and increased connectivity.

# # #

Ann Hackett – aha@pacific.net

Also see Ann in Nov. 2011 here on

“Worst Practices”: Regulations that prohibit shared taxis anywhere on the planet