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Future of Sustainable Transportation

Science writer Wallace Kaufman has been writing about environment and economics since the 1970s and has used transit systems in Central and South America, Europe, Russia, and Central Asia.

Future of Sustainable Transportation
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    1. Where Do You Want To Go: Think Small

    Stand on the curb, raise a hand like hailing a NY city cab, and in a minute or two a driver pulls over. You size up the car, driver, and offer what you know is the going rate to your destination. I used this informal system for several years while working in Central Asian "stans". The point is that flexible, on-demand, low tech, and low cost entry use existing vehicles and infrastructure.

    Hernando DeSoto has documented similar efficient transportation in Peru. Such systems indicate how to formalize and improve the efficiencies without increasing costs to consumers.

    Kazakhstan, where I lived and worked, for instance has mini vans that pick up 5 to 15 people anywhere along their routes and drop them off anywhere along the route. No fixed times or bus stops.

    Uber and Lyft in the US and other countries operate efficiently. Computerized systems can make digital ride hailing available for any size of vehicle or number of passengers. If a passenger wants to ride in an EV, easy enough to specify that.

    Yes, one can think of all kinds of little problems, but they are little and easily addressed by any locale that doesn't want to build little used mass transit where half to 2/3s of cost is subsidized by taxpayers who don't use the system.

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