The Anti-Sprawl Smart Car

Chris Steins's picture
Where can I buy one?

GM Anti-Sprawl Concept Car Bill Mitchell's Smart Cities group at the MIT's Media Lab has joined forces with architect Frank Gehry and General Motors to design and build a concept car that attempts to tackle urban sprawl.

The article is reported in this week's AutoWeek magazine "M.I.T. lab searches for intelligent life in the fast lane".

I couldn't figure how a car could be anti-sprawl, until I read this:

"Minimizing the amount of random driving associated with activities like searching for parking means less auto pollution and fuel consumption... Parking efficiency also translates into better use of capacity and fewer parking structures to help reduce urban sprawl."

And thought about how much extra time I spend in the car being inefficient.

And this quote by Mitchell really opens up some intruguing possibilities:

"Once you get a more intelligent automobile, combined with more intelligent urban infrastructure, then you can really begin to rethink in really fundamental ways the way that a city is going to work."

Europe is already doing some of this. Last year while in Edinburgh, we used an in-dash navigation system (controlled with the radio dial, if you can imagine that) to get route information from a lovely English woman's voice: "Continue straight on at the roundabout".

The routing system was linked to the BBC's regional weather and traffic congestion broadcasts, and would fairly intelligently interrupt radio programming to present broadcasts about road conditions in the area in which I was driving.
Chris Steins is co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Planetizen.


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