A Person the Next President Should Listen To
"At the top of the agenda, Joachim says, is mobility and its inefficiencies. Citing US Department of Energy statistics, he says that while 29 percent of the nation's energy expenditure--what he calls "the suck"--now goes toward getting around, "in 50 years that will double." Among the biggest sources of waste, he argues, is the automobile--not only in energy but in the space it occupies (cars, he notes, spend more than 90 percent of the day parked). For nearly a century, Joachim says, "cities have been designed around cars. Why not design a car around a city?" So he did just that. One of his concept vehicles, the City Car , was named to Time magazine's Inventions of the Year list in 2007.
His various cars would be less machine than Facebook on wheels. Instead of rpm gauges, there'd be social networking software telling drivers where their friends are and how to get there. Made from neoprene and other soft materials, cars would no longer suffer traffic-fouling fender benders, merely what he calls "gentle congestion"--picture a flock of urban sheep grazing against one other. Like Zipcar vehicles, the cars would be shared. They would "read" potholes and send warnings to nearby drivers and city repair crews. Urban parking would be eased by intelligent real-time supply and demand management, with people bidding remotely for available spots."