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Curbing Cars is getting back on the road. Beginning Monday, May 1, we’ll publish a weekly newsletter with original journalism about the future of transportation. We pick up where the internal combustion engine leaves off — unless that engine is in a self-driving vehicle.
Curbing Cars editor Micheline Maynard spent time on MoneyTalk with Bob Brinker this week, discussing General Motors, driverless cars, Detroit bankruptcy and the journalism industry. Listen to the radio segment here (the interview begins at about 9:15):
Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry is the result of our Kickstarter-funded project looking at why people are driving less. You can buy it now from Amazon.com, on iTunes and other sites where eBooks are sold.
Check back regularly as we post our analysis and predictions about the historic shift in attitudes among Americans about their transportation needs.
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When it comes to the way we get around, we’ve gone from owning to renting to summoning. And the way we think about transportation will never be the same.
Let me explain what I mean. For the past century, until about 2007, there was a pretty simple way that we used automobiles. We went out and bought them, or some of us leased them. If you wanted a car at your beck and call, you plunked down your money, and parked one on the street or in a garage.
There were rental car companies, but the fee structure was such that it eventually was cheaper just to buy a car than to rent one. You could pay in a week for a rental what a car cost to own for a month.
The door cracked open in 2007, when ZipCar came along. Now, you didn’t have to rent for a week, or a weekend, or even a day. You could use a ZipCar for a few hours, then take it back.
Now, you don’t even have to take some car sharing cars back. Nor do you have to go anywhere to find transportation. You simply summon it, use it as long as you like, and go wherever you like.
The app that is leading the way in this change is Uber, and it promises to transform the way we get around in the way that the automobile did a century ago. There’s a fascinating look at how this is happening by Kevin Roose in New York Magazine.Continue reading →
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