Eric Britton has a plan. The man behind worldstreets.org, thinks a lot about the future of transport, and its connection to the overheating nature of the planet. His 'Plan B' vision is a radical twelve point blueprint that he thinks needs to be gone through to stop us cooking the planet - and is an interesting read.
In the green transport field right now, alongside electric cars, high-speed rail, and all the usual stuff that gets tossed around, perhaps the most intriguing idea concerns not the development of new products, but the networking together, and sharing of existing ones. Our cars, bicylces, space - how do we 'use' them more effectively? Take cars. Right now, we're fast-forwarding to a world of hybrids and EVs - but what's the point when we've still got single vehicle occupancy, one-person-to-one-car ownership, and one hour in every 24 utilisation rates?
The problem is that at the very heart of the notion of today's car is a concept built around ownership, freedom and the ability to cut yourself off in a little glass and steel box. Your car is a space that, right now, you probably only choose to 'share' with your friends and family. Sharing a car with a complete stranger (even if you're not both in it at the same time) is a relatively big leap to make, but it's something worth thinking about.
That's what Eric wants to look into in more depth. So in the video chat (above) we had with him a few weeks back, he described the idea of a conference - for want of a better word - to draw people together to talk about sharing within the bounds of future transportation. On the first day, Eric suggests transportation-related talk should be banned. Instead, the attendees - linked together with experts and interested parties across the world via video and internet, would seek to understand the human psychology behind sharing things. Then on the next days, this would be developed into the field of transportation applications. The big news? Eric doesn't think it will work without a woman at the helm...