Title

SUBURBAN SILVER BULLET: PERSONAL RAPID TRANSIT SHUTTLE AND WIRELESS COMMUTING ASSISTANT WITH CELLULAR LOCATION TRACKING

Authors

Steve Raney

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2004

Subject Area

infrastructure - track, land use - planning, ridership - commuting, organisation - management, place - urban, place - low density

Keywords

Wireless communication systems, Transportation management associations, Transit village, Strategies, Strategic planning, Shuttle service, PRT, Priorities, Personal rapid transit, Palo Alto (California), Objectives, Goals, Future, Employment centers, Door to door service, Commuters, Cellular telephones, Cellular location tracking, Cell phones

Abstract

In a hypothetical year 2008 scenario, a personal rapid transit (PRT) circulator shuttle system and comprehensive door-to-door, new-mobility service transform the major employment center of Palo Alto, California, into a 2-mi transit village, complementing and significantly increasing the attractiveness of rail, carpool, vanpool, bicycle, and bus commutes for the center's 20,000 employees. Of utmost importance, PRT is faster than a person driving alone in the last mile. A transportation management association enables a supportive commuting culture. A larger candidate pool accesses the personal, web-based ride-matching service, MatchRide and increases carpool formation. New applications of cellular location-tracking technology and wireless-enabled handsets are proposed to increase the competitiveness of suburban commuting alternatives. Cellular phones evolve to become a commuter's command center, an integral part of the workday. The following applications are proposed: (a) TrakRide to improve the reliability of carpool rendezvous and increase courteous, punctual behavior; (b) NextTrain to improve the reliability of train-shuttle connections; (c) HomeSafe to ensure that carpools of strangers operate safely; (d) QuickCar to provide 5-min access to cars for centralized carsharing and emergency ride home with wireless door key; (e) SpyKids to maintain secure custody of children during unaccompanied shuttle trips; and (f) NextSpace to direct commuters to available parking spaces, with wireless access to automated, shared parking lots. A central database, known as Big Sister, maintains personal data to support these applications.