Vegas, Baby: Could Sin City Become A Transit Model?

By Micheline Maynard

If you’ve been to Las Vegas, it’s likely that you’re not thinking about transportation. You’re looking at neon signs, hearing the jangle of slot machines, or watching an elaborate show. dentist-las-vegas-nv21

Yet, The Atlantic Cities reports that Vegas might wind up being a major laboratory for the future of car ownership. Specifically, the idea comes from Project 100, which has been launched by Tony Hsieh, the chief executive of Zappos, the online shoe retailer that is based downtown.

Project 100’s name derives from the quantity of vehicles it plans to offer, according to Cities: “100 Tesla S sedans equipped with professional drivers (a la Uber), 100 short-range electric vehicles you drive yourself (e.g. Zipcar or Car2go), 100 bicycles for sharing, and shuttles with 100 stops across the area. At launch, however, the service will be much smaller. No drivers, no shuttles — only a trolley car on an infinite loop and a handful of Teslas rentable by the minute or hour.”

While apparently a first for America, something like it has been tried in Germany. In Bremen, the city combined mass transit with car- and bike-sharing stations more than a decade ago through a program called mobil.punkt. It has 48 stations offering 180 cars to 7,600 members. The program has taken 2,000 cars off the city’s streets, according to the story.

Zappos’ project is just the latest in a series of privately funded alternative transportation plans that are springing up around the country. In Detroit, Rock Ventures set up a bike sharing program for its employees last year, while companies such as Genentech and Humana have corporate projects, as well.

Certainly, there’s plenty of room for a program in Vegas to grow beyond Zappos. With its millions of visitors a year, any project there will certainly get plenty of curiosity seekers. After all, that’s how bike sharing has caught hold in the U.S., by word of mouth from Europe.

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