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Multi-modal cars?

Often forgotten in the argument about cars vs public transport (and walking/cycling) is that many people are prepared to be quite multi-modal. Many people who use PT also own a car (or at least have access to one) and will use what is what is the most rational and convenient mode of transport for them for their specific trips. Personally if I’m travelling I will catch a train, drive or walk depending on where it is that I’m going and I’m grateful to be able to have that choice.

However the world we see from car commercials is almost always showing off open road driving where there isn’t another car on the road. While cars are definitely useful in that situation it’s not the type of thing most people in cities would experience every day on their commute to or from work. So I was interested to read this press release from INRIX - who deal with transport data – about their partnership with BMW.

Las Vegas – 2014 International CES®– January 6, 2014 – INRIX is partnering with BMW to help reshape personal mobility worldwide with the introduction of the industry’s first in-car intermodal navigation system.

Debuting in BMW ConnectedDrive systems in the new i3 and i8 electric vehicles, INRIX Intermodal Navigation is the first in-car service to integrate local public transport connections into journey planning.

The service monitors real-time traffic conditions alerting drivers to faster alternative modes of transportation when major delays occur along local routes. Upon selecting an alternative mode, the system provides turn-by-turn navigation to the nearest public transport station in time for the next departure.

“In an increasingly urban, time-compressed and socially-conscious marketplace, the future of the automobile depends on our ability to market mobility as much as it depends on horsepower, styling, or fuel economy,” said Rafay Khan, Senior Vice President of Sales and Product, INRIX.

“It’s our shared goal with customers like BMW to meet drivers’ demands for greater mobility and sustainability in the connected car.”

Now if this is as it sounds then it’s a great move by BMW and hopefully many more car companies will consider doing it. I particularly agree with the comment that the market is changing and overall urban mobility is becoming a key concern. It will certainly be interesting to watch how (or if) that feature is advertised to the public and it will be also fascinating to see if peoples habits change if after getting in the car it starts telling them that PT is a faster option.

31 comments to Multi-modal cars?

  • Greg N

    It would be even better if it also included running costs of the vehicle and parking as well.
    So as soon as the driver hopped in and entered his destination, the system calculated all the costs of driving over parking and/or using PT, and then told the driver, to use PT for the most/the entire journey as its not only quicker but also going to be cheaper.

    Now thats a navigation system worth having.

  • jjay

    definitely – the right tool for the job ……….wouldn’t drive to the letter box, probably would not walk from Auckland to ChCh (unless for a good cause) …………its often not “them and us” but simply about making a number of options viable so there is choices to suit the differing needs of the population ……
    Mind you having used GPS and found it not always so smart I’d be waiting for the bugs to be ironed out of the system before I was that trusting of this technology (for e.g. the car might be telling you in theory it will take 40 mins by train and be fast but from experience you know its more like 50 mins and that line is prone to issues etc) ………

  • Brett D

    Where I was the title for this entry, I imagined a car carrying one or more bikes on a bike rack.

  • Well done It appears you have finally come around to multimodal transportation. I have just spent the week in SiliconValley looking at this very topic.

    • Toa we have always supported true multimodal transport however the micro cars you like to push are not multimodal but monomodal. They are also not PT as you have claimed in some places.

      • PT to me is the efficient mass movement of people by a TA. That’s my focus. I have looked at some real great setups in SanFran.

        • So if you include single occupant privately owned vehicles in your definition of Public Transport what on earth does Private Transport look like? You just mean Transport then, when you say Public Transport, making the Public bit redundant.

          • It would be great to catchup with you and Matt. Easier to chat about the topics I have investigated first hand. If Auckland really wants to move transportation forward we need to look at disruptive technologies , transportation and business models.

          • Frank McRae

            Will these disruptive technologies form synergies to capture low hanging fruit? This game-changer could be a win-win.

          • We don’t need disruptive technologies, we already have them. What we need is more of what works which is alternatives to driving. The Northern Busway has been a huge success as has investment in the rail network. More of that is what’s needed, not more cars on roads.

          • Toa, I sat through your presentation to the Council’s Transport Committee. There I learnt that you have a business to sell or lease small cars, good luck to you, but just calling these things Public Transport as a means to try to get public money to fund your operation is, in my view, not only not going to work, but is also delusional if not duplicitous.

        • An integral part of PT is the sharing of a vehicle. Unless your proposing squeezing lots of people in to each micro car then it in no way constitutes PT, instead it is just a different version of single occupant vehicles – even if they did happen to be owned by a territorial authority and effectively rented out to people.

          • The core issue of congestion is large single occupant vehicles. A solution is more roads or a larger form factor vehicIle to efficiently move people. We are proposing small form factor vehicles to efficiently move people. The economics and time factor makes a compelling arguement.

          • Your myopic problem is to view traffic congestion as the problem in the first place. Why not step back and consider the problem as one of mobility and access?

        • Steve D

          “Public transport” doesn’t mean that to pretty much every else. Is there some reason you want to deliberately use a word in a way that’s totally different to the meaning everyone else gets from it?

          • Steve D

            *every else = everyone else.

          • Of course we are challenging conventional thinking. If not Auckland will run out of funds.

          • Steve D

            And yet you’re wasting your own time and confusing your message by mis-using terms that already have well-defined meanings to everyone else. If I wanted to encourage cycling, say, I wouldn’t go around calling it “walking” and assume that people will think “oh, he said walking, he must mean riding a bike”.

            Your big idea is “smaller cars”. It’s not in any way public transport.

  • Currently sitting in SFO airport watching trains bus cars deliver/carry passengers. The main freeway is directly in front of the airport along with the main RTN stations.

  • Ari

    Great idea. Just another toy that wont be much use in NZ. We are so behind in ITS infrastructure and technology and so underfunded that this sort of integrated vehicle-to-infrastructure technology is decades away from being mainstream.

  • “Multi-modal cars” – I dunno, but I expected something more than a car that tells you where the nearest subway station is. Maybe a car that can actually use the rails, and run like a train. Or a car that turns into a bicycle. Or grows wings and flies away. Something a little more Harry Potter and a little less Bert Potter / Chris Trotter in its mundane pointlessness. I’m not sure what you’re meant to actually do with your car when it points you to an underground station. It’s not like they normally come with massive associated carparks for abandoned vehicles. A car that folds up into a suitcase that you can take on the train with you would be more useful. Oh wait – they do. It’s called a bicycle.

    I do agree with you though about the fantasy scenarios for car adverts though – so far removed from reality that they are pointless – for the poor buggers stuck in Auckland traffic it would be more relevant to have a toaster and shaving outlets or hair styling options rather than a speedo that goes up to 220. Something that makes the tea and butters your buns rather than an electronic instantaneous paddle shift. But then, advertising is never about reality…

  • Chris O

    The Auckland version of multi-modal commuting is apparently to drive to St Mary’s Bay, park your car for free, then catch the bus into town… (Hence the resident parking permit scheme).

    • Yup: ‘hide-n-ride’ popular in Grey Lynn too. It does prove one thing; control parking and you can pretty much control driving too. We really can have as many or as few cars as we want pretty much anywhere by getting smart about the provision, pricing, and regulation of parking.

      • Greg N

        And Ellerslie too.
        Which suffers from a raft of Hide-n-Riders plus those who work across the motorway in the Central Park complex (another TURD – Transit Unfriendly Recent Development) – which is only a underpass walk away from Ellerslie – which good for Ellerslie as a Pedestrian precinct, bad for Ellerslie as a parking lot.

        Of course, and we’ve had that discussion before, you can price/permit people out of the area parking wise – but you need to ensure the PT options are there before you do it or all you’re doing is moving the problem elsewhere.

        Its better to ensure with good PT options that they don’t leave home with their car as the first option, like it is most everywhere else.

        • Unfortunately AT is responding to this by spending millions on park n ride. Which, as you hint, is the wrong answer. The wrong answer except for distant semi-rural stations.

          This investment is a driving promotion, an assault on the integration of stations into tight mixed use non-TURDs (great acronym btw). The problem of too many cars is not to supply more parking, especially free parking. And it is a poor and lazy way to buy ridership.

          Come on AT if you’re still going to do this at least be consistent and charge for the parking, and don’t do it on good development sites close to stations. We really need you to be helping make Auckland a better place as well help us move around.

      • grantb

        Interesting to see the impact of the St Mary’s Bay parking controls on my work place which is in Freemans Bay.

        Bit over 100 people work in my office, but less than 50 car-parks in the building (mostly assigned to senior staff). So used to quite a few people would park somewhere around St Mary’s Bay and walk.
        I rarely took a car (mostly bus) other than the holidays when motorway traffic was light, but occasionally parked along New Street or in that area and walk down the hill to work.

        While there is still a few people seeking out the odd spare bit of parking space that is not 2-hour, definitely seems to be more PT users following the parking restrictions. Over summer we are also getting a more people using bikes (we have showers and storage lockers) and Motorbikes. 8-9 bikes parked in the basement today, which is a decent proportion and much more than before parking restrictions.

  • Look up Toyotas HAMO Harmonious Mobility Network project. It is a network system combining private car and public transportation efficiently. This is the direction the world is moving, we (Project Microcar) only want to accelerate this process. Happy to meet and chat sometime.

    Cheers TGreening

  • Charles

    “the Central Park complex (another TURD – Transit Unfriendly Recent Development) ”

    Wait, what major development in Auckland outside the CBD is more transit friendly than Central Park? Rail and trunk bus routes on its doorstep. Not intentional but it works.

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