The future of transportation…

imagesTransportation is changing.  You still need a vehicle to get from point A to point B but what type of vehicle is in question.  Electric is in our future and so is a lot more.

One of the greatest things about city life is that you don’t need to own a car.  The public transportation system is good and could be better but it exists underground and above ground.  Citibike announced a huge expansion this week in and around the boroughs of NYC.  Then of course there is Uber.  There is also Hailo, Lyft, Sidecar and a few others but Uber seems to have taken NYC by storm.  There is something brilliant about being able to order a cab or black car from your phone, get the information on the driver and then track their trip to pick you up.

I would hope that the next Presidential administrations will take a hard long look at investing huge amounts of capital on transportation.  As urban areas become more expensive there is a need for high speed trains.  Why can’t someone live two hours outside of the city and still work in the city.  It shouldn’t take two hours to get from one location to the other, it should take 30 minutes tops. That is a game changer.

The cities can not afford to build underground but with less cars on the road but they can certainly afford to build rails above ground.  Why isn’t there a railway that moves freely around Brooklyn and Queens.  It would also be a game changer for the neighborhoods that have already changed dramatically where the transportation is far from seamless.

Cars.  Zip-car changed the need to rent a car or even own a car in the city.  It was the beginning of the shared economy although the cars are owned by Zip-car they are shared by many with the ease of entering your info into your phone and finding a car near you.

I am an investor in Scoot.  Scoot is the zip-car of electric scooters.  When you travel in Europe scooters are everywhere.  They make a lot of sense for large cities when people need to get from point A to point B without a car or a bus or a subway.  Basically a motorized bike.

Here is the future.  You live 2 plus hours outside a major urban area, let’s make it NYC.  Financially it makes more sense for you to live there and you actually prefer the solitude and community.  You jump on the bus or share a car or take your bike down to the train station in the morning.  You get there around 8am, jump on the train and you are in the city by 830.  Your office is on the other side of town and you much prefer being above ground and being solo.  So you walk over to the 40 Scoots parked right outside the train station and jump on one.  You choose the Scoot on Wednesdays because you generally move around a lot on Wednesdays for meetings and it is the most efficient way to get around the city.  Thursdays you take a Citibike because you just go to the office and back and you like the exercise.  You run your errands and at the end of the day instead of going home you decide to go meet a friend for dinner just outside of the major city hub, let’s say Brooklyn.  You park your Scoot and leave it there for the next rider and jump on the ferry to get across the river.  Once you are there you jump on the railcar and go a few stops into Brooklyn where there used to be zero transportation.  You have dinner and get back on the railway which takes you into Queens where you can pick up the train that hooks up with the train that takes you home for the night.  Although if you are really not in the mood you might just Uber it to the train in the new fleets of electric vehicles that have been deemed mandatory in the city because there are no longer any gas stations.  Or you decide to just stay in Brooklyn for the evening and had planned ahead by booking an Airbnb the night before and packing a small bag for the night.  If you forgot something you could always get Postmates (driving their Scoot) to get it for you and meet you at the restaurant before getting to your Airbnb.

This is not so far around the corner.  It might be bumpy getting there but I believe that we will get there sooner than we think.

Comments (Archived):

  1. pointsnfigures

    Agree with you on figuring out transportation. Problem with trains is they share track with freights. Another problem is stopping. For example, I lived in Geneva, IL for 10 yrs. It was an awesome town, great for kids. Took me 1.5 hrs on the train each way. Much of the time was spent being stopped for loading and unloading. The track was on the ground, not elevated, so trains couldn’t go hyper fast for fear of cars crossing gates and track.I live in the city, and hate being in my car so I try not to use it. I take public transportation, ride my bike, and cabs when I can. Saw a startup in Chicago that is beginning to address the problem-but it’s pretty early.My gut tells me as tech gets better and better, virtual meetings will become more commonplace. I think co-working will become huge. People will commute longer distances less, and closer in suburbs will be very desirable places to live.

    1. Gotham Gal

      agree. add the co-working, virtual meetings to the list of change.

      1. awaldstein

        dunno–the power of cities is the density and the ease of getting from here to there.when i lived in la, 3 meetings in one day in different locations was a grind.I have 3-5 meetings often in nyc all face to face.the power of density in urban environs is ecological, social and communal.virtual is cool–i have weekly ones with clients in europe every week. I do a lot of coffees and wines here cause I can.

  2. AG

    Agreed, and love the idea of Scoot. I’ve been seriously considering getting a Vespa once I’m back in ny full time. I happen to hate the subway despite being almost native. It will just never grow on me, but either will Uber surge pricing or city traffic.

    1. Gotham Gal

      The surge pricing is insane

  3. Susan Rubinsky

    One of the main reasons I didn’t vote for Foley for governor here in Connecticut is because he publicly stated he would cut transit spending, that he saw no value in it and he wanted, instead to build more roads. I live in Fairfield County and this is a key area for commuting to NYC (I often joke that we’re really part of New York anyhow). I am astonished that so many legislators just don’t get how key this issue is for economic development.

    1. pointsnfigures

      He was right. stupid to build public transportation in CT other than improve train lines. No one would use it. In suburbs of Chicago, we have train lines (that are always late, over budget, and in pension trouble). Bus lines never have anyone on them. Better to improve roads, and build better downtowns in suburbs with bike or scooter access in good weather.

      1. Susan Rubinsky

        Untrue on the buses. We’ve seen dramatic increases in bus use for the last five years here in CT. We’ve hit ridership numbers that have exceeded the highest number ever recorded (that was in the 1950’s). Our bus system is maxed out and the roadways aren’t setup properly to support more buses, pedestrians, cyclists, etc. Investing in bus service and the necessary infrastructure is key here in CT.

        1. pointsnfigures

          Maybe. I obviously don’t know CT. In IL, buses are empty in the suburbs.

          1. Susan Rubinsky

            Here we’re having problems with buses being so crowded they can’t stop to pickup more passengers. In some cases, transit districts can’t add more buses because the maintenance facilities are at maximum capacity. It’s a holistic system that needs capital funding to expand.

          2. pointsnfigures

            why not a private solution? Uber Bus

          3. Susan Rubinsky

            The public solution is excellent. We have some of the highest fare box recovery rates in the united states. We also coordinate with Metro North (train to NYC). We have a lot of commuters to NYC who use the bus to get to the train. We also have 10 year waits for parking spaces at train stations. So we also need to invest in parking for train commuters. Adding private buses still would not solve the roadway infrastructure problems that were not setup to support so many buses — we need public investment in many inter-related areas to meet the demand. I would also note that highways have far less ROI than bus or train systems when you account for number of people transported per investment dollar.

          4. Nick_Moran

            Hard to argue with better ROI, cheaper for consumer and lower carbon footprint.

          5. juanC

            that would be Superb,,, but first you will have to fight to death against the Democrats and its super Allies: the transportation unions,, and all of the Corrupt MTA Agencies.

      2. Nick_Moran

        You have been a Chicagoan much longer than I have, but I love the commuter train system from downtown to suburbs. Demand is certainly there as trains are often packed. I find them comfortable and often within a few minutes of the schedule. Poor business model and mis-management has certainly created a number of financial issues.

        1. Gotham Gal

          let’s hope that money is start to spent on this over the next 8/10 years.

  4. Mario Cantin

    You make it sound quite utopian. I’m gonna miss my four cars, that’s for sure. As a society, I agree though, we need to make drastic changes.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Utopian. Love that

  5. AG

    Question re Scoot because I was just speaking to a frien: How would it work if licenses aren’t required? DOesn’t that mean speed would be limited to under 30? And even if that was the idea, how would it be enforced? Or wuld they just be low speed scooters?

    1. Gotham Gal

      They do not go over a certain speed.

      1. AG

        Thanks! Is there an eta on the ny entrance?

  6. BillMcNeely

    Here in the Dallas area the public transportation system has improved but the messaging to the public has not. Navigating DART is confusing to people so most don’t. RideScout helps puts the pieces together but DART would best be served if ticketing and navigation was done under one roof.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      I don’t know the specific governmental setup there in TX, but, indeed, economies of scale and clarity in services is one of those things that actually is better when planned top down, rather than at the grassroots level.

      1. BillMcNeely

        That’s why in Dubai it’s been so successful.

  7. LE

    Why isn’t there a railway that moves freely around Brooklyn and Queens.Two words. “Blue Route” as an example.That’s why. In Philly metro for example, community opposition of the “NIMBY” (not in my backyard) type. What if someone wanted to block your view from your townhouse? What would you do?…While proposed as early as 1929, the construction of the Mid-County Expressway through did not begin until 1967 and was not completed until 1991 due to massive community and environmental opposition during the freeway revolts of the 1960s and 1970s, leading The Philadelphia Inquirer to dub it “the most costly, most bitterly opposed highway in Pennsylvania history.” In order to get the route through Delaware County, it was built with many environmental compromises such as a parkway design and four lanes south of the Pennsylvania Route 3 interchange. The Mid-County Expressway received its “Blue Route” nickname from the chosen route through Delaware County on planning maps on which it was differentiated from the other proposed routes by its color.

  8. Susan Rubinsky

    Here’s something relevant and interesting: Millennials demand public transportation, but lose out by skipping the voting booth…

    1. Gotham Gal


  9. JAJones

    I live in Williamsburg and the L is already a nightmare and with more apartment buildings coming online every day here it’s only going to get worse. I thought this idea of connecting Wburg with the LES via gondolas was interesting.

  10. Edna

    I love Scoot! I can’t wait for NYC to get in on the fun! How can I invest in the company?

    1. Gotham Gal

      they are going to do another round soon. if you are interested you can contact me directly.