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GPS and Wireless can change transportation...


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By making possible heretofore unthought-of transportation services, GPS and wireless technology will usher in a new era in personal mobility starting first within certain highly populated urban areas. GPS makes it possible to bring all surface transportation under one digital umbrella, thus making it possible to commodify the resulting information. My ambition is to put this information to use by establishing an all encompassing transportation service available to wireless subscribers. A service, moreover, that will be highly desirable to consumers, businesses, and society. Soon, more than ring tones, restaurant guides, music, or other services currently being offered, this will emerge as the major application for wireless and internet related technology.

 

Key to the success of this plan will be the availability of automobiles for short-term, private rental, amply dispersed within certain well-defined, yet dynamic geographic boundaries. Using PDA’s, subscribers will be able to locate vehicles, calculate cost of rental, map routes, and get up to the moment traffic information. In addition to permitting access to vehicles, PDA’s will serve as the crucial conduit through which information is transferred from consumer to vehicle and from vehicle to consumer. Within the ever expanding boundaries that the service is to be offered, subscribers will be able to make one-way trips, and will be able to return cars in front of their place of residence. One car will be able to service the needs of many people.

 

By bringing existing technology together for this purpose business owners will be able to attract customers by subsidizing travel to their location. Most automobile trips result in a purchase of some kind, and a business could establish a considerable competitive advantage by offering to subsidize the cost of such trips. Therefore, subscribers will have an added incentive to use the service for their transportation needs, and businesses will have a very strong incentive to participate in the program. As such it would have much in common with free parking.

 

Eventually buses, trains, taxis and regular rental car will be enfolded into this concept creating for the subscriber a seamless, virtual, yet very real web-work of transportation capable of meeting all of the needs currently met by private vehicle ownership, but at reduced costs. This should dramatically improve transit quality and thus ridership. As a quid pro quo, municipalities will be strongly encouraged to promote the service by creating special downtown parking programs.

 

This service will appeal to consumers by reducing the economic costs of transportation. It will appeal to businesses by providing an effective means to draw in customers and by significantly reducing parking demand. And it will benefit society also by freeing up space devoted to parking and also by reducing dependence on what has become a destructive practice.

 

Globally, transportation is a trillion dollar industry but is not as efficient or as directly linked to commerce as it could be. Wireless technologies permit useful applications that will change this, and by so doing, represent considerable financial opportunities in both realms.

Here are some of the possible revenue streams:

 

. Advertising. You use your PDA to gain access to the car, place it in its sync cradle, and McDonalds pays for the privilege of informing you that you are only .43 miles away from its nearest location. If you come in a Carousel Car, you get free fries with your order. While you are driving, your PDA displays the logo of the Golden Arches. It would be possible to set it up so that consumers could specify what they were looking for, and be directed to the nearest store that carried the item. This would be paramount to the success of the service since it would, perforce, need to encourage short trips. It would be beneficial, obviously to consumers since, as a commodity that they would have an interest also in shorter trips. In deciding where to buy things consumers would be obliged to consider not only price, but distance. As discussed it would also be possible for consumers to specify what they wanted before starting out, and for retailers to place real time bids. Obviously the nearest retailer would have a competitive advantage.

2. In-Vehicle Products and Services You’ve just developed a great video game that you want to put into the hands of consumers. Every time a subscriber (one within a particular demographic even) syncs his PDA to enable ignition, he or she automatically gets a three month trial of the video game. This could be a portal to sell music, ring-tones, content of one sort or another. There are also other possibilities. Imagine that each car has a camera kept in a box that one might use one’s pda to open (thereby identifying the last person to open it). A person could take pictures for, say $.25.00 a piece and have them automatically upload to the PDA.

3. Frequent Driver Miles Businesses could effectively attract consumers by offering to offset the cost of transportation incurred by customers interested in patronizing their business. Again, this would be great for consumers because it would means that they cost of their transportation could be largely subsidized. Businesses would have a cheap yet effective way to draw customers.

4. Traffic Info Since each car, equipped with GPS, would essentially be an intelligent traffic beacon, this information would conceivably valuable. If there were enough of these cars on the road, the aggregate would be more accurate and useful information. Carousel drivers would know the best way to get to their destinations (especially if they participated in offering traffic information)

5. Hardware and other services Each subscriber and probably each business would need to buy, at the very least, a PDA. Carousel would get a cut of this.

6. Cost of Rental

7. Business Referal If a user might need automobile transportation for longer than a few hours, he would be referred to a rental car company.

8. Demographic information Because it might be known what the frequent driver miles were offered for, it will be known what the consumer might have purchased during his rental. Bit Big Brotherish, I know, but no different than what already goes on with credit cards and many other things. Something to consider

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quote:
Originally posted by pizzachef:

You think this guy will hang around and give us more commercial-looking advertisement posts with his sock puppet?

I guess its a neato idea, but the last thing I want on my GPS screen is the golden arches everywhere.

 

-pizzachef


 

Not a sock-puppet. Just someone who has never participated in geocaching, and thought that his blog entry alone wasn't enough to dazzle the world.

 

3608_2800.gif

"Don't mess with a geocacher. We know all the best places to hide a body."

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I apologise if I've wrongly accused you of spamming us from a sock puppet account, but you have to admit that your post looks suspiciously like an advertisement for a new service and we don't really know where it's coming from.

Also these forums are refreshingly free from advertisements so your post tends to stand out a bit. It would be different if someone with a couple finds and/or posts was letting everyone know about a cool new service that they'd found out about, but with your no finds or previous posts, your intentions didn't seem very genuine. Sorry for any offense.

 

-pizzachef

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I agree that this *sounds* like a commercial, and I agree with the general idea of it. However, in Washington State, you'd be hard-pressed to find enough people willing to stop driving their Hum-V's and BMWs to make this worthwhile. There's too much status associated w/ having your own $40k car.

Plus, I would be driven to violence if there were advertisements on my PDA. It's bad enough they're putting then onscreen during TV shows so I can't skip past them, and sticking them in before movies.

I understand what you're saying, and it's a great idea for a Utopian future. However, without a government mandate, it's unlikely to fly; people are too stupid to see the big picture, and won't want to be sharing a car with strangers or not have a car available to them the instant they want to get in it on a whim and drive somewhere. I think you're giving people too much credit. I'd love to see it work, though.

Perhaps w/ a good PR person you could change peoples' perception and win over customers.

 

Nyarlotep

"God was my copilot, but we crashed in the mountains and I ate him"

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