If you live in a large city — and more and more of us do, according to U.S. Census data — you know what a pain it is to own a car. It’s difficult to find parking, and when you do, it’s expensive. Insurance rates can be outrageous too. Taxis and ride-sharing services are an option, but you don’t know the stranger behind the wheel and those fares can add up quickly. By the end of the next decade, however, you’ll probably find that the cheapest, most convenient form of transportation is a shared, self-driving electric car, according to new research by the Boston Consulting Group.
There’s a new way to travel in the city. Officials launched the Valpo Velocity bicycle sharing program Wednesday morning, taking the 25 bikes through the downtown area. The program will put 25 bicycles and one accessible tricycle on the street, based at eight stations throughout the Valparaiso University campus and the city. Those wanting to take a bike ride or needing an alternative method of transportation for an hour or a day can reserve and pay for the bike rental through the Zagster app on their smartphone. Reservations can also be made through the company’s website.
Platform providers Rover.com, OpenBay, and Agora discussed “chicken-and-egg” and other challenges they face at a recent Digital Initiative event at Harvard Business School.
After a shaky start, the vacation rental and room sharing industry is catching fire, with some analysts expecting it to surpass the hotel industry by 2020. Valuations are already stretched with Expedia buying HomeAway for $3 billion and Airbnb valued at north of $30 billion during its more recent round of funding. Investors have taken notice, chasing the stocks of three publicly traded companies, which have an indirect exposure to the industry. Like Trip Advisor, which owns FlipKey; Priceline.com, which owns Booking.com; and Expedia, which ownsHomeAway.
The innovation lab from the drivers’ association is rolling out Gig, a new Bay Area car-share service that lets you drive the car one-way and then leave it in any parking spot you want.
The battle isn’t over car sharing. It’s not over bus sharing, either, though that, too, is a growing focus for investors and automotive companies that are desperate to understand how cities and transportation are changing. This clash is over the latest wrinkle in urban bike-sharing — dockless bike sharing. And it has founders and VCs around the globe seeing dollar signs, while regulators are wrestling — again — with how to ensure they’re not victims of a trend that seemed to emerge nearly overnight.
Uber is teaming up with Getaround to provide an easier way for drivers without cars to provide rides through the service. Starting in San Francisco, a new pilot will allow Uber drivers to use the Getaround app to rent cars on-demand from pick-up spots throughout the city, and pay a $5 per hour flat rate for use of the vehicle, including insurance, gas and unlimited miles.
In a way, ride sharing is kind of like having you’re own chauffeur. But that’s literally what Lincoln is offering in Miami with a new service called, appropriately enough, “Chauffeur.”
How can a city that is used to governing its physical territory, learn to govern its digital space too? How can a city deal with large online platforms that are actively shaping the physical city? This is a challenge where Amsterdam is a global frontrunner, gradually learning how to make the most of the opportunity, while protecting its core values (citizens at the heart of them) at the same time.
We are at a unique moment in history, when five economic trends are coming together into a Nexus Economy that is rapidly transforming our world for the better.