OG11 Mobility Visionaries Discuss Immediate Entrepreneurial Opportunities in the Future of Transportation

Posted on 10. Nov, 2011 by in Business & Policy, Clean Tech, Design & Culture, Events, Products, Services

This afternoon’s breakout panel featured visionaries from the transportation sector. According to moderator David Muyers, the panel’s goal was to try and build excitement about new transportation solutions and entrepreneurial opportunities.

First to speak was Jessica Scorpio, co-founder of Getaround. This company and mobile application is a marketplace for ride-sharing. According to Jessica, there are 5.6 billion unutilized car hours daily. Getaround attempts to reduce this number by allowing members to post listings, rent cars, and connect with one another. The program currently operates in San Francisco and San Diego. Her goal is ambitious: to see an emissions reduction of 48 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide. Yet this only requires taking 10 million cars off the road, a tiny fraction of the cars currently in use. Jessica attributed the company’s success to the lucrative nature of ride-sharing; once customers arrange their first rental, they’re hooked. She mentioned women, especially ages 25-45, as great car renters because they are organized and less attached to their cars as status symbols.

Next was Chris Paine, the writer and director of Who Killed the Electric Car? The movie focuses on the renewed effort to introduce the electric car into the mainstream. His latest endeavor is a movie about electric motorcycle racing. He echoed Jessica’s sentiments about cars as a status symbol, and the need to change the perception about electric cars as the new status symbol.

The third panelist was Andrea White-Kjoss, President and COO of Bikestation. A leader in their field, it is the only company with full range of capabilities to plan, develop, build, and operate sustainable “First/Last mile” transit solutions. Bikestation is successful, with customers cycling more often and driving less. She was most surprised by the number of Bikestation customers who don’t own a car; she said they are more invested in looking after their bike, since their transportation options are more limited. Andrea’s vision for the future includes highly scalable, dense regional networks. These would allow customers to connect their bike usage to public transportation, and at any given time, access a variety of transportation choices.

Last was Dan Sturges, founder of IntraGo. Dan stressed the need for new transportation networks. As he put it, even if all cars are electric, they aren’t moving any faster if they sit in traffic. Instead, Dan called for leveraging information-transportation technologies to include bikes, bus/track, intermediate vehicles, electric cars, car share, and smart rides in the transportation network. New design and businesses, advocacy, and education can engage students and the public, and create a transportation future.

The panel brought four appreciably different perspectives together to transportation and mobility. While the panelists each propose a different solution, they are all part of a greater framework to try and address future challenges in these fields.

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