Meeting of the Minds took a few moments to talk with Herrie Schalekamp about new working relationships between researchers and paratransit operators in South Africa and beyond. Herrie is the ACET Research Officer at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Transport Studies. In addition to his research, teaching and consulting in the fields of paratransit and public transport reform he is involved in specialised educational programmes for paratransit operators and government officials. Herrie’s activities form part of a broader endeavour to investigate and contribute to improved public transport operations and regulation in Sub-Saharan African cities under ACET – the African Centre of Excellence for Studies in Public and Non-motorised Transport.
Questions and Answers on the Future of Urban Mobility
Meeting of the Minds 2012 featured an all-star line-up of urban mobility experts in the panel, Where is the Urban Mobility Revolution Headed? The participants included:
A Q&A at the end of the session was highlighted by questions from two journalists: Neal Peirce of the Washington Post and John Addison of Clean Fleet Report. Watch the video above for the question and answer section of the session.
The resulting articles from Addison and Pierce highlighted two key themes that emerged from the discussion, ownership vs. sharing, and the benefits and challenges of electric vehicle in car-sharing fleets.
From Neal Peirce’s article, Sharing – Not Ownership?:
Each year the world’s automobile manufacturers spend a stunning half trillion dollars advertising the vehicles they’re pushing. We’ve all seen the ads – new model autos floating singly over magically traffic-free landscapes. The subliminal messages are clear: possession, power.
But if that’s been our pattern for three quarters of a century, is it necessarily prologue for a crowded, 21st-century with planet Earth, which will accommodate a billion more middle-class consumers?
Driven by today’s youth, a radically different value set and preference is emerging. It edged its way onto the agenda of an ambitious, yearly “Meeting of the Minds” conference organized by Gordon Feller, intellectual magnet and Cisco official, held here last week.
From John Addison’s article, 10 Best Car Sharing Programs in USA:
Mayors, urban planners, and technology experts exchanged ideas and success models at the latest Meeting of the Minds. This article was shaped by experts.
At the meeting, I lunched with Zipcar President Mark Norman gave me a good idea of why members prefer the range of carsharing services to owning a car. A member can try an electric car one day, use a larger van to transport 6 people the next, then take an AWD to the mountains on the next. Zipcar’s potential is enormous. By succeeding at a university such as USC in Los Angeles, Zipcar has a base to expand in Southern California’s over 10 million car drivers and massive fleets. I expect Zipcar to soon have over one million members.
Just as UPS has gone beyond delivery to offer large customers complex logistic services, Zipcar offers fleets a growing range of services. For example, the City of Houston better manages vehicle use by adding 50 existing city-owned fleet vehicles, including 25 Nissan LEAFs, with Zipcar’s FastFleet® proprietary fleet sharing technology. By using Zipcar’s FastFleet technology, the City of Houston configures its fleet footprint in real time for optimal utilization; manages preventive maintenance, fueling, billing, and fleet distribution; and uses Zipcar’s analytics with data automatically captured during every trip. Zipcar’s FastFleet technology is used in Washington DC, Boston, and Chicago where DC officials estimate that they save approximately $1 million per year using FastFleet technology.
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Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
Brownfields are sites that are vacant or underutilized due to environmental contamination, real or imagined. There are brownfields of some kind in virtually every city and town in the U.S., usually related to a gas station, dry cleaner, auto repair shop, car dealership or some other ubiquitous local business that once benefited the community it now burdens with environmental hazards or old buildings.
In addressing this issue, technology has not been effectively deployed to promote redevelopment of these sites and catalyze community revitalization. We find that the question around the use of technology and data in advancing the redevelopment of brownfields is twofold:
How can current and future technology advancements be applied to upgrade existing brownfield modeling tools? And then, how can those modeling tools be used to accelerate transformative, sustainable, and smart redevelopment and community revitalization?
Across the country, urban parks are enjoying a renaissance. Dozens of new parks are being built or restored and cities are being creative about how and where they are located. Space under highways, on old rail infrastructure, reclaimed industrial waterfronts or even landfills are all in play as development pressure on urban land grows along with outdoor recreation needs.
These innovative parks are helping cities face common challenges, from demographic shifts, to global competitiveness to changing climate conditions. Mayors and other city officials are taking a fresh look at parks to improve overall community health and sense of place, strengthen local economies by attracting new investments and creating jobs, help manage storm water run-off, improve air quality, and much more. When we think of city parks holistically, accounting for their full role in communities, they become some of the smartest investments we can make.