NewSolutionsNumber 12, April 2007Community, a solution for saving the environment and conserving resources with equity for all.The Smart Jitney: Rapid, scooters. This represents about 30% of the approximately 750 million cars in use in theRealistic Transport world today. Worldwide, there are 75 million new CEUs built each year, 20 million as replace-Plan C, Community Solutions’ response to Peak Oil and climate change, recommends energy ments and 55 million as new additionsconservation alternatives in three categories: buildings, agriculture and transportation. Of the to the world passenger vehicle fleet. Thethree, transportation is the easiest category to address, but the solution involves changing our world’s growth in automobile fuel con-value systems and the way we view the world, rather than relying on high risk technology. sumption for CEUs is about 8% annually. For many decades, the problems of transportation have revolved around the issue of privateversus public. After World War II the country made transportation via the private car the toppriority at the expense of public transportation. This choice is not sustainable. The privatecar, regardless of its convenience, can no longer serve as the principle mode of peopletransport. Its high cost, the depleting of fossil fuels, and climate deterioration – alongwith high rates of deaths and injuries – make it unacceptable. Our choice todayis to determine what kind of strategy should be adopted to move the basis oftransportation away from the private automobile. Since Peak Oil could arrive sooner than expected and the depletion ratecould be faster than predicted, prudence requires a backup plan other thanmerely changing car technology. A “Smart Jitney” system could be developedrapidly, and provide for a very sizable (50-75%) reduction of gasoline con-sumed and greenhouse gases generated by transportation. It could also be themodel for a new and more efficient approach to personal mobility. Ultimately, itcould be vital in keeping our economy going by giving people a way to get to andfrom work if there suddenly was not have enough fuel for private cars.U.S. Transportation Today population, increasing use of fossil– Defining a Way of Life fuels, decreasing vehicle occupancy, as wellThe U.S. transportation system is extremely as great numbers of deaths and massive America’s cars and CEUs generatecomplex. The car dominates our economy property damage. 45% of the world’s total generation ofand our way of life. Before we can change In 2006 there were 210 million personal auto-mobile CO2.to a more sustainable system, it is important vehicles in the U.S. including SUVs, cars, On average, every American buys 13 carsto understand the effects of the automobile pickups, and other “car equivalent units” or in his/her lifetime.1 Figure 1 shows the totalas well as the major trends – a growing car CEUs, not including motorcycles or motor U.S. transportation fleet except for trains.2 The long life of these vehicles illustrates Figure 1: U.S. Transportation Fleet the difficulty of replacing them with more efficient ones, assuming highly efficient Fleet Number Median Life Cost to replace half the (years) fleet (in 2003 $) vehicles are available. Automobiles 130 million 17 $1.3 trillion Heavy trucks are extremely important Light trucks SUVs, etc. 80 million 16 $1 trillion when considering the transportation of Heavy Trucks, Buses 7 million 28 $1.5 trillion food and other materials. In addition, the Aircraft 8,500 22 $0.25 trillion 8,500 aircraft flying at 30,000 feet do more climate damage than their numbers suggest
PAGE 2 : NEW SOLUTIONS APRIL 2007, NUMBER 12because the emissions from burning fuel aredeposited at higher altitudes. Figure 2: Increase in Global Fleet Size and Petroleum UsePerformance Improvements andGrowth Trends Automobile engine technology improvesat approximately 1.5% annually.3 However,even this improvement does not necessarilyresult in better mileage because at the sametime that fuel efficiency improves, the sizeof both vehicles and engines increases,cancelling out the potential miles-per-gallon improvement. For instance, if the current car fleet werestill at 1981 engine size and vehicle weight,the passenger car would now get 38 mpginstead of the current 28 mpg. The reasonit hasn’t is because technology improvementshave gone into other attributes demanded Source: World business council for Sustainable Development, International Energy Agency, Sustainability Mobility Projectby the marketplace, such as speed, accelera- These projections assume present trends continue, no new policies are implemented, consumertion and size rather than fuel economy. behaviors do not change significantly, and alternative fuels and radical technological innovations do not significantly penetrate the market. Limits in oil availability are also not considered. ...if the current car fleet were still at 1981 engine size and vehicle weight, the distances traveled far outweigh the mileage Vehicle Occupancy passenger car would now get 38 mpg improvement from any new kind of engines. U.S. drivers tend to be solitary (see instead of the current 28 mpg. And, even supposing there were sufficient Figure 3). Typically, American drivers oil to fuel this growth, the amount of CO2 average about 1.5 persons per car for a trip. Another reason our petroleum consump- it would generate would increase, rather Vans have only slightly more than two pas-tion (and with it our CO2 emissions) are than reduce, global warming. Rapidly sengers.5 Averaging all the different kindssteadily increasing is that the number of cars increasing use while performance improves of vehicles gives an occupancy of about 1.3and trucks is rapidly growing, not just in the only slowly is neither sustainable nor persons per vehicle; a great quantity of fuelU.S. but on a worldwide basis (see Figure 2).4 survivable.This chart, which projects growth based oncurrent trends, shows the numbers extend- Number of Passengers per Trip for Different Vehicles Figure 3: Number of Passengers per Trip for Different Vehicle Typesing to completely unsustainable levels. Andit does not take into consideration Peak Oil. 2.5 When oil production peaks, there will bea steady yearly decrease in the availability of 2diesel fuel and gasoline. Those who arguethat basic changes to the transportation 1.5system are not needed because of improvedcar efficiency are not addressing the implica-tions of going from 750 million cars that 1get 35 miles per gallon with an averageyearly mileage of 10,000 miles to something 0.5like 1.3 billion cars (in just 23 years) thatmight get 50-70 miles per gallon and drive 0an average yearly mileage of 15,000 miles. Car Van SUV Pickup Other AllThe increase in the number of cars and the Truck
NUMBER 12, APRIL 2007 NEW SOLUTIONS : PAGE 3is wasted when driving vehicles that couldcontain more passengers. Vehicle Occupancy 1977 and 2001 (persons per vehicle) Figure 4: Change in Occupancy 1977 to 2001(persons per vehicle) Unfortunately, this tendency to drive 2.5 2.4alone is increasing, as shown in Figure 4.,6and is coupled with the increase in auto- 2.1 2.1 2.0mobile size and weight and longer driving 2 1.9 1.8 1.8distances. Our own society and the societ- 1.6 Family/personal business Family/personal businessies of other countries are risking climate 1.5 1. 3 Social and recreational Social and recreationaldegradation by rapidly expanding our more 1.1car-intensive way of living. 1 Home to work Home to workCar Deaths and Injuries All purposes All purposes Shopping Shopping The current car paradigm encourages 0.5people to take as many car trips as possible.Such heavy use of cars requires building and 0maintaining an enormous number of roads, 1977 2001garages and parking areas. Advertisingthat supports the cultural ideal of rugged Instead of improving, the occupancy level of our vehicles has decreased since 1977. Onlyindividualism encourages driving the largest by increasing this level can we accommodate our need to use less oil and produce fewerpossible cars while we allow our buses andtrains to be unpleasant. Walking and cycling 1.2 million deaths and about 40 million in- injuries are even higher in the Third Worldare inconvenient and dangerous, and the juries yearly. In the U.S. about 40,000 people where the infrastructure to support the carpriority is always “don’t delay the car.” die each year in auto-related accidents. paradigm is not as well developed as in the The cost of the private automobile goes There are hundreds of thousands of U.S. As the car begins to penetrate societ-beyond financial and environmental con- people injured in auto accidents who never ies such as China and India, we can onlysiderations.7 Figure 5 illustrates annual auto fully recover, many condemned to a wheel- expect that pollution, injuries and deathsdeaths and injuries. The world total is about chair for the rest of their lives. Deaths and will increase. Figure 5: Worldwide Traffic Fatalities and Injuries in 1998Worldwide there are close to 1.2 million deaths and 40 million injuries each year from traffic accidents and there is a strong correlation betweenthe wealth of a country and its relative automotive safety.
PAGE 4 : NEW SOLUTIONS APRIL 2007, NUMBER 12New Automotive Options number of cars cancels out any mileage ...the electricity used by a pluggable improvement. hybrid is generating CO2 at the powerIt is likely that oil supplies will be virtually In recent years, proposals have been plant roughly in the same amounts asexhausted in about 40 years at the cur- made for what is called a “Pluggable Hybrid generated from the tailpipe of arent rate of consumption. Although the Electric Vehicle (PHEV)” based partially gasoline engine.internal combustion engine, now into its on the work of Dr. Andrew Frank at thesecond century of use, is being constantly University of California - Davis. Frank that there is no need to change their behav-improved, it does not appear to have the modified several vehicles by adding batteries ior and, of particular concern to automobilepotential to do more than its historical that allowed them to operate in either a and oil corporations, there is no need to1.5% per year mileage increase. gasoline or electric mode. This is proposed reduce consumption by buying smaller cars Many people hope for some kind of as a logical and straightforward extension and driving less.technological breakthrough. The favorite, of the hybrid concept. However, since the Our current CAFE (Corporate Averageunder development for more than 30 years, electric component of the typical hybrid is Fuel Economy) standards were passed byis the hydrogen fuel cell car. But after so essentially a form of extra power for the gas Congress in 1975, just a couple of yearsmany decades of failed promises, its success engine under heavy driving loads, it funda- after the beginning of the first energy crisis.is unlikely. Only a few hundred have been mentally differs from the classic electric car. We have been in the new energy crisis nowbuilt as experimental models. This may An electric car requires a much larger for at least five years and Congress has failedwell be one of the longest technological battery and one which is subject to a much to address the issues, leaving the responsibil-proposals in history with the least amount heavier load than is the case with a hybrid. ity for intelligent action to individuals.of progress. Only the futile efforts for fusion The fact that a hybrid system successfullypower offer a similarly hopeless effort. uses batteries in a particular way does not Results of the Private Auto Electric cars are another hoped-foroption but they too have been around mean that an electric car (with much larger Paradigm batteries) combined with a gasoline engine It is difficult to realize how something thatalmost as long as the automobile itself, with can be designed and built quickly. A heavily is so ubiquitous and popular can also be soonly minor improvements. In the 1990s, promoted modified Toyota Prius could damaging and harmful. Cars have playedunder pressure of California law, several not be driven at a speed above 34 mph on a major role in destroying community, aauto manufacturers built about 4,000 electricity.8 loosely used term that represents a feeling ofelectric cars, most of which have now been But most important, such a car with home, of family and neighborhood. Withscrapped. The electric car has always been its heavy dependence on pure battery the private automobile,10 people are nowlimited by battery technology and hoped for operation just shifts where the CO2 is footloose and “free.” We have speed andbreakthroughs have not materialized. produced, replacing gasoline burned by the mobility but have lost community A recent development is the successful engine with electricity generated through relationships. We have chosen the freedomhybrid car, based on the combination of a the national power system. Since 50% of of the individual over the integrity andgasoline engine and an electric drive, both electricity is generated from coal, 20% from support of the community.well-researched technologies. Two problems natural gas, and 20% from uranium, the Our culture includes an idea of freedomface the hybrid. One is the tendency to use electricity used by a pluggable hybrid is known as “the freedom of the open road.”the electric engine for faster acceleration generating CO2 at the power plant roughly A rite of passage for teens to become menrather than mileage improvements. The in the same amounts as is generated from and women is getting a license to drive. Theother is the small numbers being purchased. the tailpipe of a gasoline engine.9 automobile allows a young person to leaveAfter 10 years, only about a million hybrids As the car’s contribution to global warm- their “community,” to experiment with highhad been shipped through 2006, about ing and the threat of dwindling fossil fuels speed, and, removed from their family, withone out of every 750 cars in the world. becomes more obvious, the hyping of new sex and drugs. The automobile is constantlyPossibly in 5-10 years, 1% of the total auto technology, whether it is the fuel cell being marketed to them. Our culture hasfleet might be hybrids. This does not seem or a pluggable hybrid, delays what is really accepted this so-called freedom for ouradequate, considering oil may peak in the needed – cultural change. People assume (as children, ignoring the damage and dangernext five years. advertising and even our government tell to their well-being. A hybrid fleet might give a 20-40% them) that there is no need to modify their The greatest fear of parents is not drugsoverall improvement in gas mileage. But, habits since the new technology is presum- or pregnancy but death or injury in aas said before, the increasing growth in the ably “close at hand.” They are led to believe car accident. And no wonder parents are
NUMBER 12, APRIL 2007 NEW SOLUTIONS : PAGE 5concerned – almost every beginning driver Our urban sprawl has no precedent in Peak Oil and Climatein the U.S. has an accident. Parents don’t history, so the feasibility of a mass transit Change: A New Transportwant their children to be among the 40,000lives lost each year or the 2 million injuries, system has yet to be proven – a true mass transit system for the U.S. today may, in Paradigmmany permanent and crippling. fact, be impossible. In addition, the energy The world is threatened with the combina- Because we crave what the car provides, savings of mass transit, in the context of tion of declining fossil fuel resources andwe have accepted the destruction of our implementing such a system in today’s con- a climate that is already severely damagedcommunities, the negative impact on family by the products of fossil fuel burning.life and the deaths and injuries. But now The damage is already so bad that severe Figure 6: Mass Transit Over-the private car is threatening to destroy life rated (Btu per passenger mile) restrictions may have to be placed on theon the planet as climate change becomes consumption of the remaining fossil fuels, Private Car 3,549a critical problem. Peak Oil and climate making the need for alternative transport Light Truck (SUV) 7,004change are challenging our current transport systems even more important. A new Bus Transit 4,160paradigm – without their threat, it is incon- transport paradigm would place the highest Airplane 3,587ceivable for Americans to consider that life priority on minimizing the use of fossil Amtrak Train 2,935might be worthwhile without a private car. fuels, a priority higher than convenience, Rail Transit 3,228 speed, or personal “freedom.”The Role of Mass Transit Mass transit offers only a small improvement At the same time, a new approach couldAt first glance, mass transit appears to be a over private vehicles for personal travel, and solve some of the problems of the existingpossible and obvious alternative. European is hardly applicable. system. For example, it could be much safer.cities are often praised for their superior A new system could protect people fromtransit systems. The New York City subway figuration of cities and urban sprawl, may irresponsible drivers – something that issupposedly offers an alternative to the be highly overrated. Figure 6 shows that not possible today. It could allow parentsprivate car. But in all the cities with mass existing mass transit systems do not provide to retain control over the safety of theirtransit systems, there is still a growing car significant fuel savings.11 It depicts the Btuspopulation. Streets are becoming more of energy per passenger mile (assuming A new transport paradigm would placecrowded, and far more expenditures are average passenger densities) for each type the highest priority on minimizing themade on roadways than subways and buses. of transportation. use of fossil fuels, a priority higherSubways and other forms of mass transit As previously noted, it is not obvious than convenience, speed, or personaltoday are only supplemental to the car. that a mass transit system can be imple- “freedom.” High density is required for mass transit. mented on top of our current sprawl. TheIn successful past implementations, resi- mantra of “We need light rail” provides children’s lives a little longer. It could alsodential developments were laid out in dense no evidence that a light rail system would give people precedence over vehicles. Walk-corridors, typically along a rail or streetcar work. Modeling of this complex system is ing, cycling, and buses could be made moreline. Between those corridors were open required but has not been done to date. convenient and cars less convenient, revers-spaces and farms. The ideal configuration That leaves us with the private car as ing the trend of the last century. This differswas analogous to a wheel, the hub being the only option. In spite of its numerous from most of today’s proposed solutionswhere people went to work and shopped, benefits, the many conveniences and the that simply involve combinations of masswhile the spokes represented where they lived. sense of freedom associated with the auto- transit and the private automobile. When the private car became popular, mobile, it is unlikely that the concept of the No viable approach can be a one-for-onethe areas between the spokes were more private car, as we know it today, is viable for replacement of the current car fleet withaccessible and were eventually filled in. the future. Traffic is worsening all over the more efficient ones. It would take decadesFood growing was transferred further and world. We can’t continue using a machine to replace the 210 million vehicles in thefurther away from where people lived. This that has been so devastating for the planet. U.S. with some superior version, even ifled to urban sprawl, making mass transit As energy resources deplete and pollutionmore difficult. After some time, there was worsens even a 100 to 200 mpg automobile such a version were already on the drawingno longer any attempt to build along mass cannot be the main vehicle for billions board. However, it might be possible totransit lines, so today they have mostly faded of people. convert the existing private car to public useor disappeared. Another option is needed. for a jitney system.
PAGE 6 : NEW SOLUTIONS APRIL 2007, NUMBER 12The Smart Jitney Option degradation, combined with reducing avail-The Smart Jitney is an intermediate tech- ability of oil, require an option that can benology which increases service and reduces implemented rapidly. A jitney system wouldenergy use with existing vehicles. It could make it possible for people to continue toprovide – anywhere, any time, any place – travel fairly long distances to work, schoolpick up and drop off. It is not limited to and for necessities if transportation fuelstracks, lines or schedules. It could also pro- were no longer available in the quantitiesvide a very high level of security and safety. currently being consumed or if the dete- A jitney is defined as a small bus that riorating climate effects of CO2 emissionscarries passengers over a regular route on a could no longer be tolerated.flexible schedule. Another definition of ajitney is an unlicensed taxicab. Basically, Smart Jitney Benefits Where parking is an issue, parking spacesa jitney is a form of mass transit using One key benefit of the Smart Jitney would could be reserved for Smart Jitney drivers andcars and vans, not passenger buses. Jitneys be faster transit time. Commuters sitting their passengers.typically are not required to travel specific on any freeway in any large American cityroutes on a specific schedule as are trains, (most of us) are aware of the stop-and-go reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. Thisbuses and street cars. They are both ancient traffic at rush hour, averaging only a few would help avoid economic disaster, lowerand contemporary. miles per hour for much of the journey. Use the chances of worldwide wars over fossil of a Smart Jitney system could eliminate fuel resources and, even more important, three-fourths of the cars currently on the reduce CO2 emissions. Increasing the road, and allow much more rapid flow of passengers per vehicle substantially would traffic. Even the time for stopping to pick provide a very large reduction in such emis- up and drop off riders would be small rela- sion, helping to eliminate the specter tive to the time spent in the current conges- of global warming with its potential for tion. Scientists have developed many kinds massive disasters and loss of life. of ride optimization algorithms for complex pickup and deliveries for both people The Smart Jitney could address the and materials. important task of improving passenger A second benefit is that the Smart Jitney miles per gallon by changing theThe concept of the Smart Jitney is simple: youuse your car, pass a test, apply a magnetic would use the existing car fleet instead of current car paradigm rather thansign to your car door and you’re off! requiring all new vehicles. It is important waiting decades to change the car’s to begin thinking about passenger miles per miles per gallon. A jitney system could basically increase gallon, not car miles per gallon. Thus anpassenger occupancy from the current 1.5 SUV getting 10 miles per gallon containing The fourth major benefit would be topersons per trip to 2-4 times that num- six passengers is getting the same passenger eliminate much of the current carnageber. An increase of 2-4 times would allow mpg as a Honda Insight with one passenger. which is accepted as part of our ordinaryusing one-half to one-fourth the number The Hirsch report2 has pointed out that way of life. Just as we have accepted theof vehicles to achieve the same number of replacing the current fleet could take 10 to possibility of destruction of planetary lifepassenger trips, removing most of the cars 20 years. The high mileage cars that would by nuclear war or climate degradation, weon the road at any particular time and thus be needed to replace the current fleet are have accepted the huge number of deathssubstantially reducing fuel consumption not yet available and may never be, if one and injuries associated with the privateand CO2 emissions. considers the failed promise of the fuel cell automobile. A jitney’s advantage is that it could be car and the marginal improvement of the By monitoring driving in real time,quickly implemented, using the existing hybrid automobile. The Smart Jitney could keeping records of driver performance,personal vehicle fleet. More and more evi- address the important task of improving enforcing speed limits and other laws viadence says that the CO2 reduction required passenger miles per gallon by changing the Auto Event Recorders (AERs), loweringto stabilize the atmosphere may be as current car paradigm rather than waiting speed limits to save gasoline and by manyhigh as 70-80 %. And the reduction must decades to change the car miles per gallon. other options which would be designed intobegin soon. Non-linear increases in climate The third major benefit is to drastically the system, the Smart Jitney could save tens
NUMBER 12, APRIL 2007 NEW SOLUTIONS : PAGE 7of thousands of lives every year. Additional portation modality. Rides would be planned completed (a few seconds of calculation) thelives could be saved because there would be and scheduled in a similar way to an airline rider would be assigned to a participatingsignificantly less traffic and the best drivers reservation, except in a more timely, local vehicle. The driver of the vehicle would bewould be at the wheel. and responsive manner. notified and provided the pickup location An existing technology that would be and time, along with directions.Smart Jitney Technology incorporated into the Smart Jitney system is The rider would be picked up andAn important advantage of the proposed the Auto Event Recorder The AER is analo- dropped off as requested. After the trip,Smart Jitney is that the technology needed gous to the flight recorders on airplanes.for implementation is already available and, AERs already exist on more recently manu-for the most part, in mass production. The factured automobiles. The National Trans-vehicles are already available – existing cars. portation Safety Board (NTSB) estimatesJitneys can be any vehicle, new or old, small that 65 to 90 percent of all vehicles in theor large but with the minor addition of a United States contain some type of AER.12cell phone connected to the car. These systems record driving activity that is Each passenger using the jitney system taking place in real time including vehiclewould have a personal cell phone although speed. This information would provide thecomputer access or regular phone access basis for adding a new level of traffic safetywould also be available. Eventually, the cell and could be fully implemented nationally.phone would include GPS capability as wellas an emergency call button for security. Smart Jitney Process Smart Jitney vehicles and drivers would be evaluated in much the same way as E-BayWhenever the rider feels any sense of danger As previously noted, the Smart Jitney users evaluate sellers.or threat, punching the emergency call but- system could be accessed by the Internetton would automatically transmit informa- or telephone. In either case, a request for the rider would submit an evaluation bytion to the nearest law enforcement center service would be initiated by the passenger cell phone or web, similar to the evaluationfor assistance. dialing a reservation number using their used by the Internet based company E-Bay. Initially there would be relatively small cell phone (or the Internet) and entering a E-Bay’s method of evaluating customeradjustments to the existing vehicle fleet pickup location and a destination loca- satisfaction and publishing the informationand the ubiquitous cell phones currently tion along with desired times for pick up has eliminated many complaints becausedominating communication. Reservation and drop off. A fifth number to be entered people stopped buying from sellers with poortracking systems accessed by the rider’s and would be the level of service desired. delivery performance. By having both adriver’s cell phones (or via the Internet) The Smart Jitney computer would ride evaluation and AERs, driver records ofwould need to be developed and installed constantly be monitoring all cars that are long-term performance would be available.throughout the country. The reservation part of the system, including the numbersystem would control both the ride manage- of passengers, the destinations and the Levels of Servicement and bookkeeping of this new trans- vacant seats available. Once the analysis was The easiest and most efficient system would be one where all riders take whatever ride is available. It might be difficult for Americans to share in such a completely democratic jitney system. Therefore, different levels of service would be required with at least three levels provided in the initial system. Other levels could be developed as the system evolves. The first level of service is more or less random. Only the pickup and destination locations are entered along with the time of pickup and preferred time of drop off. TheWhen Cuba lost access to Soviet oil in the 1990s virtually every vehicle was put into use as a rider would input the data and the systemjitney in an effort to solve their new transportation problem. would inform him or her of the car descrip-
PAGE 8 : NEW SOLUTIONS APRIL 2007, NUMBER 12tion and time of pickup. The rider wouldaccept the random assignment to the mostavailable vehicle. This level would allow forthe most possible rides and the quickestservice. The second level of service would allowa person to input preferences, requestingrides with certain groups of people. Possiblythe most important would be for women tobe able to request rides with other women.Men could also request non-coed trips.Other options would be to limit selectionby requesting certain age groups. Still othersmight want to put limits on the playing The Smart Jitney program could also include trucks and other vehicles, for transportation of allof radios or wish to ride with people who kinds of goods.will be quiet. Any rider should be allowedto select the mode that best suits them. passenger. Certain limitations would be rity, safety, and privacy. In general, women required. For example, teenagers could not are more concerned than men, particularly The automobile has become far more be jitney drivers. Minimum age limits for with regard to security. Other issues deal than transportation – it represents the drivers would correspond to the age limits with a feeling of loss, both of private time good life. However, it might be that it set by insurance and rental car companies, while driving and the loss of the self-esteem represents a form of addiction. which reflect the very high accident rate of associated with ownership of a vehicle. young drivers. Americans have been taught to believe vehi-Of course, if a rider’s preferences were too More rigorous driving tests would be cle ownership says something about whostrict, availability of rides would decline. administered to be qualified as a Jitney they are. The automobile – for them – has The third level of service would be to driver. People with poor driving records, as become far more than transportation – itallow scheduling of rides in the future with measured by accidents and traffic citations, represents the good life. However, it mighta specific set of people. For example, a would also be barred from being Smart be that it represents a form of addiction.group of people with mutual interests who Jitney drivers. People with DWI convic- Increasingly, the private automobilehave a predictable schedule on a regular tions would not be permitted to be drivers has also been responsible for the fears andbasis (such as work or school), would be until some time had elapsed or some type concerns many of our Smart Jitney evalu-accommodated. This would mean that of re-qualification had been passed. People ators expressed. Its availability certainlyfor family outings, all could ride together. with child molestation records could not be makes crime much easier – perpetrators canOther levels of service would be added as drivers. Existing Smart Jitney drivers could be miles away from the scene of the crimeexperience dictates. also lose driving privileges based on poor in minutes. Date rape becomes easier when driving or the use of intoxicants. Finally, not a man and woman are alone in a vehicle.The Smart Jitney Driver everyone would want to be a jitney driver. Moreover, the image of the private auto-The Smart Jitney need not be implemented Drivers would be compensated for mobile, as presented in advertising, is typi-as a separate business like a taxicab service providing the transportation service, with cally one of power, speed and force. Cars areor a mass transit business. It is intended to the fee regulated just as mass transportation sold on that basis, with strong emphasis onbe a form of ride-sharing using existing pas- fees currently are. An additional benefit the individual and implied contempt for thesenger vehicles and existing drivers. Anyone for drivers would be greater access to community. The poor record of young malewith a good driving record could serve as a dwindling fossil fuels and more flexibility drivers is possibly based more on drivingjitney driver. in transportation. with a certain machismo image in mind Overall, the number of people driving than from a lack of driving skill.should decrease significantly. Although Addressing Concerns – The Smart Jitney could serve as a vehiclepeople could still drive and maintain an Security, Safety and Privacy for cultural change as well as a new transporta-automobile, it is expected that eventu- Evaluators of the Smart Jitney proposal tion modality. But to do so, security, safetyally most people would accept the role of typically are concerned with issues of secu- and privacy problems must be addressed.
NUMBER 12, APRIL 2007 NEW SOLUTIONS : PAGE 9Security With multiple passengers daily provid- cars but eventually replacement vehicles Security is a term that covers the risk and ing reviews, poor or unsuitable drivers could be designed with a focus on safety.danger from other people who, for whatever would quickly be identified and their Rather than more electronics for watchingreason, may intend some kind of harm to jitney license taken away. TV in the car or automatically parking theour persons or psyches. Concerns about vehicle, collision avoidance electronics could protected from the potential of violent orpersonal security are not trivial. Figure 7 be implemented. bullying passengers.compares the members of the G-7, the Automobile companies have always At the completion of each ride, passengersseven wealthiest countries in the world.13 given priority to speed, styling and image would be asked to rate their Smart JitneyIt shows that the U.S. has about four times over safety. The failure to set standard experience, covering such categories as thethe murder rate, 2.5 times the rape rate bumper heights, to provide governors to condition of the vehicle and the skill andand 3.3 times the assault rate of the other suitability of the driver. With multiple pas-six countries. A comparison to Japan alone sengers daily providing reviews, poor orshows that the U.S. has 8.6 times as many unsuitable drivers would quickly be identi-murders per capita, 15 times as many rapes fied and their jitney license taken away.per capita and 22.5 times as many assaults Eventually, selection of top-rated driversper capita. could become an option when scheduling The U.S. is a very dangerous culture a ride. Obnoxious passengers would also beand its citizens are more violent than the identified by the rating system.majority of people in the rest of the world.Women have good reason for concern. But Safetymost American men, although feeling safer Safety in relationship to automobilesthan woman, must also take the necessary refers to the accidents, deaths and injuries A reduction in the number of car wrecks,precautions for living in a violent country. that come from a myriad of causes includ- deaths and injuries could be one of the best results of the Smart Jitney system. “I wouldn’t ride with a man,” many ing auto and traffic equipment, roads, unin-female reviewers said, stating openly their tentional driver errors and reckless drivers. maintain speed limits, and to limit perfor-fear of the violence in our culture. Initially, Initially, to insure vehicle safety, there would mance and weight to protect slower andthe ability to choose to ride only with other be mandatory inspection of vehicles for more frugal drivers (including those whowomen must be a component of the Smart Smart Jitney licensing. Annual inspections choose smaller cars) calls for some form ofJitney system. Additionally, children and would also be required. Passenger reviews regulation that places the priority on safetyminors must also be protected from bully- would include questions on the apparent at the expense of marketing features.ing or other anti-social behavior. Everyone suitability of the vehicle. If the forty billion dollars a year spent– men, women and children – must be At first, Smart Jitneys would be existing on automobile R&D were redirected from styling changes, then major safety improve- Figure 7: U.S. and G7 Violence Rates ments could be realized quickly. Further- more, cars could be designed for longevity Country Population Murders Rapes Assaults (millions) per 100 K per 100 K per 100 K and ease of repair, which would contribute US 300 4.3 30 764 to reduced CO2 emissions by minimizing Japan 130 0.5 2 34 the amount of embodied energy expended Germany 82 1.2 9 142 on the automobile fleet. France 63 1.7 14 176 Traffic equipment and roads must be UK 62 1.4 14 748 carefully evaluated but are not the main Italy 60 1.3 4 50 reason for accidents. Driver errors could Canada 34 1.5 74 718 be dramatically reduced by setting a lower US/G6 Ratio 3.8 2.5 3.3 speed limit, 50-55 miles per hour, the opti- US/Japan Ratio 8.6 15.0 22.5 mum speed limit for efficient performance of the internal combustion engine. SlowerSecurity is a primary consideration, particularly for women in the U.S. given the high rates of moving vehicles with higher passengerviolence in this country compared to most other G6 nations. density would leave more of our streets
PAGE 10 : NEW SOLUTIONS APRIL 2007, NUMBER 12available for bicycles and also reduce the risk Infractions of privacy would be traced find and develop lucrative options outsideof riding them. Irresponsible drivers would back in the ride-sharing system by reviewing the purview and control of major autoquickly be eliminated by the rating system. records and appropriate responses taken. manufacturers. An effort by a few hundred Through a shift to ride-sharing, the systems engineers and programmers couldnation could set a high priority on reducing Implementation Strategies lead to this paradigm shift in an amazinglyhighway carnage. Legislation and market Implementing a system of this complexity short time.demand for safe jitney vehicles could force would not be difficult. At least one rentalnew safety standards from the automobile car company, Zipcar.com, has an Internet The Smart Jitney – Longmanufacturers. system with some of the features proposed Term Implications for the Smart Jitney – scheduling with The combination of Peak Oil and ClimatePrivacy many options and tracking cars via GPS. Change challenges both the last century’s Privacy refers to people’s need to main- In the United Kingdom, liftshare.com industrial economy and rapid growth. Ittain the confidentiality of their personal administers a ride-sharing program which is becoming ever more apparent that thisidentification including name, employer or matches riders and loads to cars and trucks economy is based on a concept of noplace of residence. Whereas safety refers to around the country, utilizing phone and physical limits.the damage done by irresponsible drivers Internet connections. Liftshare has more The accepted view is that the worldand passengers, a breach in privacy refers to than 150,000 individuals and businesses will never run out of fossil fuels, or, if itpeople intruding in one’s life through inap- as members. And, based in Germany, Mit- does, technology will find replacements.propriate access to their personal data. fahrzentrale.de offers ride-sharing through- Yet, as the world peak in oil production In modern times, real privacy is increas- out Europe to its 600,000 members. approaches, no clear replacements are visible,ingly limited even though we have a sense The technology effort is far less than and many of the alternatives presented areof it in our private cars and homes. Internet that associated with creating a new video themselves finite, merely delaying the realityaccess and phone records, along with other game for teenagers. An 18-month feasibil- of physical limits. ity model could be done for approximately In terms of climate change, popular ...the Smart Jitney system would utilize $500,000. Prototype systems could be wisdom and practice have been that the the same methods of anonymity and made available a year after that with expen- earth and air are adequate depositories for protection as banks or any other institu- ditures of a few million dollars. This is a toxins from fossil fuel use. These so-called tion promising confidentiality, with the much lower-risk effort than building fuel “sinks” have been viewed as essentially same caveat... cell cars or beefing up the national coal- limitless. However, the accelerating increase intensive power system for battery vehicles. in CO2 emissions worldwide and the rapidprivate information, can now be purchased However, there will be enormous resis- melting of polar ice suggest the “sinks” areby businesses, corporations and government tance to the concept as it will require a para- getting full.agencies such as the CIA and NSA. Market- digm shift that will include changing the The use of fossil fuels changed the worlding of people’s personal information is now legal system, the law enforcement system, from one of smaller more local communi-somehow acceptable, and viewed simply as and all aspects of the transportation system. ties with limited mobility and resources toa business opportunity. The 2006 Hewlett- Because of this resistance, a grassroots effort one of large urban concentrations with highPackard scandal on “pretexting” shows how to develop the system may be required. A mobility. Goods and food are shipped fromeasy it is for people’s personal information cooperative public development, similar thousands of miles away. High mobility isto be obtained. to that of the LINUX computer operating based on the private car with its continuous With people sharing rides with strangers system, may be the best way to achieve early use of significant quantities of gasoline.on a daily basis, the protection of privacy implementation. The advantages of this way of living arewill be a challenge. The Smart Jitney system All development to date on The Smart becoming more and more questionable.would utilize the same methods of anonym- Jitney has been put into the public domain, Low energy ways of living will need toity and protection as banks or any other as an “open source” approach is desirable. include many changes, such as devolutioninstitution promising confidentiality, with Hardware changes are minor and, should from concentrated urban centers to smallerthe same caveat – “We cannot absolutely manufacturers with vested interests be communities and local food supplies. Even-guarantee that your ride sharing informa- reluctant to develop the ideal products, tually a pattern of smaller neighborhoodstion will not one day be inadvertently existing technology can be adapted. Once and towns with a focus on walking andrevealed or stolen from us.” the system is underway, the market may bicycling will be more the norm. This is not
NUMBER 12, APRIL 2007 NEW SOLUTIONS : PAGE 11 This is not a return to some previous economic system. Cooperation, a key value References period in human history. Medical science in other cultures, is viewed as a sign of 1. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/ and other advances will not be aban- weakness in America. Walking or getting mi_m3165/is_4_42/ai_n16116806 doned even if we drive less and share in a car with a stranger or riding a bus is just an unexpected inconvenience in other 2. http://www.mnforsustain.org/oil_ cultures. For Americans, it is seen as a threat peaking_of_world_oil_production_study_a return to some previous period in human to who we are. hirsch.htmhistory. Medical science and other advanceswill not be abandoned even if we drive less What will be the effects of Peak Oil 3. http://energy.senate.gov/public/and share vehicles. and Climate Change? Will society make index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings. The Smart Jitney may start as a short- a choice to be more competitive or more Testimony&Hearing_ID=1604&Witness_term emergency solution within the existing cooperative? Or, as happened in the Great ID=4548infrastructure, since it will allow us to keep Depression, will people simply begin coop- 4. http://www.mindfully.org/Energy/2006/the same patterns of living. Any inconve- erating and helping each other? Peak Oil One-Billion-Cars17apr06.htmnience and discomfort we may experience and Climate Change will be the test case of people’s reactions – they could be the basis 5. Transportation Energy Data Book, 25thwill be overshadowed by the possibility for a new way of living or it could become Edition, 2006, page 8-11, Center forof stopping planetary degradation and its a dog-eat-dog world. Transportation Analysis, Oak Ridgethreat to basic survival. In the long run, the We are at the end of the era of the pri- National Laboratory; http://cta.ornl.gov/Smart Jitney could evolve into some mode vate car, the ultimate example of American data/index.shtmlof transportation not yet envisioned. Itcould help serve the larger physical commu- consumer values and the most destructive 6. Transportation Energy Data Book, 25thnity in the future as an intra-city mecha- device ever made. The Smart Jitney can Edition, 2006, page 8-12, Center fornism for longer travel. It’s possible that the replace the car and help restore community. Transportation Analysis, Oak Ridgeevolution from an emergency measure to a Men will have to start behaving well to National Laboratory; http://cta.ornl.gov/key component of a jitney-based mass tran- women. Society may have to give up pro- data/index.shtmlsit system, within the context of a decentral- fane language in public, like smoking was 7. http://international.fhwa.dot.gov/ized local way of living, will naturally occur. disallowed in public places. Just as people ipsafety/ipsafety.pdf cannot drive when drunk, they will not beSummary able to ride when drunk. Such social criteria 8. http://www.calcars.org/conversions- must be imposed even though it is counter factsheet.pdfOur culture has declined in many ways.Skills like politeness, good manners, to our so-called freedom, which is often 9. http://www.communitysolution.org/courtesy and chivalry have atrophied. nothing more than a license to be offensive. pdfs/NS9.pdf, page 9Misbehaving in public is “cool.” Conversing But if implemented properly, the Smart Jitney ride could be a real pleasure. 10. Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam,with strangers used to be an art form and Simon & Schuster; 2001children were taught such social skills. One Initially the Smart Jitney may be aof our principle cultural values is competi- traumatic change to the current mode of 11. Transportation Energy Data Book,tion which is also the key principle of our private cars. But the threat of energy short- 25th Edition, 2006, tables 2-11 and 2-12, ages, loss of jobs, and life threatening climate Center for Transportation Analysis, Oak change can provide the motivation for such Ridge National Laboratory; http://cta.ornl. a system. The concept and design are such gov/data/index.shtml that long term benefits for the environment 12. http://www.detnews.com/2005/ and society will accrue. Eventually, the per- autosinsider/0510/03/A01-335316.htm sonal advantages in terms of time, safety and economics will become apparent 13. http://www.communitysolution.org/ and this transport approach will pdfs/NS7.pdf, page 3 prove to be superior to the exist- ing private system as it helps save us from climate disaster. – Pat Murphy