What Are The Alternatives To Traveling By Car? #TEDActiveMOB

What Are The Alternatives To Traveling By Car? #TEDActiveMOB

The TEDActive Mobility Project is exploring the ways to make our world smaller, and more accessible, without traveling by car.

Timothy Ryan, PSFK Labs
  • 23 february 2011

The team at idea-sharing conference TED have been asking for folks to get involved with TEDActive Projects. The TEDActive Sustainability Project will look at best practices in community organizing, and explore radical solutions to push the sustainability movement forward. PSFK actively engaged our expert network, the PurpleList, to provide stimulus for the attendees working on this project.

The TEDActive Mobility Project will explore ways to reduce the cost, time and necessity of driving. TED will look at the barriers to mobilizing local communities, and examine new tools that can make our world more accessible. Today, we publish the answers that came in from around the world to the following question:

How can we make the world smaller, even more accessible?

Lloyd Alter is an expert in architecture and is located in Toronto

Considering that I am an architect who writes about sustainable design, I am going to make the counter-intuitive case that we have to reduce our standards, not increase them. Smaller and tighter development in walkable and cyclable cities should get a green pass simply for being walkable and cyclable; a recent Canadian study showed that people living in leaky old buildings in the old parts of town used less energy per capita than those in shiny new suburbs, where everything is bigger and everyone drives. Andres Duany recently made the same point:

“He said that high-density development in urban locations which entail less reliance on private cars should get a free pass on energy efficiency or energy generation standards. “Don’t make apartment dwellers install solar power,” he said. “They are doing their part just by living densely and driving less.”

Richard Prime is an expert in the writing and editorial industry and is located in Stockholm.

This kind of question is one I find interesting. While researching a PechaKucha presentation as part of Stockholm’s Design Festival, the notion is Urbanisation was bought up as one of the biggest ‘trends’ of this decade. While its classification as a trend is utterly laughable, it’s more of a concern and issue of potential change than anything else, it’s something of the double edged sword.

Like Lloyd, I am wondering whether the growing urban density is something which might mean we spend less time in our cars. If the right urban planning and infrastructure is in place then more of us might take advantage of public transport and indeed other transport like cycling or walking.

The other interesting thing from my side of things is a development in design (perhaps at the higher end from the smaller furniture manufacturers – one in particular called Zweed, wherein outlets and distributors for a specific brand or designer are sought regionally on the condition that they can produce items locally rather than receiving them from a factory in Asia for example. Far less shipping, transportation etc. I’m guessing that, while it might not be unique it’s a step in the right direction. This chap is well worth a gander as he’s got some very unique business concepts in addition to his design ethos.

Timothy Ryan is an expert in the writing and editorial industry and is located in Brooklyn.

The challenge may be to leverage the use of existing infrastructure while acknowledging the need for new, and more efficient technologies. Taking cars off the road will require an incentive for commuters to choose the alternative. The benefits of owning a car for long-distance travel still outweigh the costs of more efficient transportation for many commuters. The effectiveness and prevalence of high speed trains in Japan, attest to the idea that commuters, coerced with the correct incentives, will make sustainable choices.

For cities, urbanization is less a phase than an impending reality. More than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities, and that percentage is on the rise. Avoiding a de-centralized sprawl could mean maximizing existing space to make room for housing. Cars are parked 90% of the time, and cities are built to carry this burden. Until cities make commitments to move away from being hospitable to cars, and creating incentives for pedestrians, commuters may continue using their cars.

But it has to be a choice, and commitment, most likely requiring funding at the Governmental level. Trust that people inherently are concerned about their environment, but limited in their viable and affordable options.

John Voelker is an expert in the Automotive industry and is located in New York.

Three threads.

First, so much of the need to drive has to do with low-density dispersed suburban and exurban sprawl. There are simple things, like allowing small commercial businesses–bodegas, if you will–into dead-end suburbs, which can be reached by foot or bike. They require zoning changes, since most residential zoning views any commercial activity as evil.

Second, have a look at some of GM’s experiments with self-guided autonomous electric urban vehicles like their EN-V project. There’s simply not enough square footage in megacities for conventional vehicles, but the demand for mobility will always be there.

Third (and perhaps easiest in the short term), encourage and incentivize car-sharing services. This is a generational shift, and it gets more challenging in less-dense suburban areas, but if some families have reasonable access to seven-seat vehicles or minivans for the few times a year they REALLY need one, they may be able to get by with a more economical compact sedan–and perhaps even get rid of the third car, or the second. This doesn’t necessarily reduce driving per se, but it increases the efficiency of vehicles on the road.

The PurpleList: How can we make the world smaller, even more accessible?

Image by loop_oh


Fitness Advocate: Paving The Future of Workouts With Audio

Fitness & Sport
Brand Development Today

Swipe Left On A Dating World Built To Keep You Single And Disconnected

Hinge's VP of Marketing Karen Fein tells us about the service's daring ditch of the swiping culture that's designed to attract advertising revenue, not meaningful connections

Arts & Culture Today

Marvel Comic Tells The Story Of A Heroic Syrian Mother

Madaya Mom is the true tale of a family trapped inside a town for over a year


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Retail Today

Brooklyn Cafe Lets Customers Pay By The Hour, Not By The Cup

Glasshour is an establishment that provides free coffee and pastries and charges for the time guests spend there

Technology Today

Electric Spoon Changes The Way Food Tastes

The Taste Buddy is being developed to manipulate your taste buds and make everything more delicious

Related Expert

DJ Roller

Explorer, Filmmaker, Visual artist

Travel Today

Bike Path In Poland Can Glow For 20 Years Using Solar Power

Cyclists can follow the shimmering blue lanes for better safety each time they ride

Technology Today

Open-Source Toolkit Lets Communities Build Their Own Street Furniture

The Wikiblock database contains 30 blueprints of different neighborhood fixtures including benches, bus stops, and kiosks

Food Today

Tiny Pub Only Has Space For Three People

Make Time For It is a small London pop-up bar that encourages conversation without the distraction of technology


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 21, 2016

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

PSFK Labs october 21, 2016

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Work Today

Community Builder: How to Hack Slack

Claire Wasserman, Founder of Ladies Get Paid, describes how she's using an internal team communication tool to build a network of thousands

Advertising Today

This Beer Was Brewed Just For Scotch Drinkers

Highland Park Scotch Whisky & Sixpoint Brewery have teamed up to create two limited-edition pairings for New York City boilermakers

Mobile Today

Let An AI Librarian Help Sort Your Digital Bookmarks

A new app uses machine learning to help organize your virtual life

Mobile Today

Pizza Hut Tattoo Lets You Place An Order From Your Body

The latest gimmick from the fast-food chain is a tattoo-like sticker that lets customers get delivery with a simple tap on their arm

Travel Today

Reinvented Bicycle Inspired By Supercar Design

The yellow bike based on a Lamborghini has sharp edges and an aluminum alloy frame

Health Today

Health Platform Gives Perspective On Your Weekly Habits

Gyroscope is a new wellness app that works by amalgamating data about your life into beautifully designed visuals

Beauty Today

Korean Beauty Brand Uses VR To Let Customers Pick Their Ingredients

Innisfree created a unique experience for its Shanghai Disneyland customers with a virtual reality trip to select what goes into their purchase

Arts & Culture Today

3D-Printed Creations Resemble Floating Paper Outlines

Japanese design firm Nendo's exhibition features works that look like sheets of material being folded, torn, and crumpled

No search results found.