Monday, October 7, 2013

Transportation Innovations, part I (ride share)

Some observers have commented that, other than the information technology sector, few industries have experience much innovation in the last few decades.

However it is becoming less clear that this is true for the transportation sector, especially personal transportation.  Consider three recent transportation innovations:

1.) Ridesharing
2.) Smart parking meters
3.) Bike sharing

The innovation that has changed an industry the most is ridesharing.  Many folks in places like San Francisco are now use services like Uber and Lyft (a related technology is Sidecar, which is used by the official taxi cab industry.). Not only have these services made it easier to find rides through smart phone apps (increasing demand for taxi-like service), they have also increased supply by making it easy for drivers (or those with a lextra time on their hands) to enter the industry. 

For some reason, at least in most cities, these ridesharing services have been able to avoid falling under the restrictive regulation that affects the taxi cab industry.

Ride-sharing has caused major changes to the taxicab industry and this is not an understatement.  These would be interesting to study.

In the near future I will write about smart parking meters and bike sharing.