PSFK chats with Sam Zaid, founder of Getaround, about how shared transport is improving urban development.
As part of our series looking at the future of cities, PSFK reached out to experts to get their take on key trends we’ve identified that are currently shaping urban development. Sam Zaid is the founder of Getaround, a service which gives people a new opportunity to reduce the cost of car ownership by sharing their cars with people nearby, and allows owners to save between $500-1000 every month. He spoke to PSFK.com about how shared transport is enabling drivers and passengers to easily connect and travel together, and how this can improve the overall community and save resources.
What sort of impact does shared transport have on urban environments? Can you point out any other creative applications of this idea?
Sharing resources, sometimes referred to as collaborative consumption, is actually all about consuming less. When it comes to transportation, consuming less translates quite clearly to a positive impact on urban environments. Studies have shown that each shared car takes between 9-13 cars off the road—helping to solve a problem we refer to as car overpopulation. After all, we have almost 250 million cars here in the United States.
When you start reducing the number of cars in an urban environment, you make way for all kinds of positive change. First, and most obvious, is a reduction in CO2 emissions and an improvement in air quality. But beyond that, you also create a lot of space. Think of all the parked cars just sitting, taking up space right now. Reducing that number makes room for more public spaces, like the parklet trend we’re seeing in San Francisco. Spaces that are useful to more than only the people who own cars.
What does your vision of shared transport look like implemented on a large scale?
At a bare minimum, and I say that because it’s already happening in some cities, I see car sharing networks being seamlessly integrated into public transportation networks so that a shared car becomes as common a mode of transportation as a bus or train.
But what really gets me excited, and is probably a little further off, is the intersection of car sharing, ride sharing, connected cars and autonomous vehicles. Think about the possibilities. Hopping in an autonomous shared car that is connected to a ride sharing platform—it will get you where you need to go and pick up others along the way.
What three things would you include in your perfect city?
- Shared, autonomous cars
- Fiber connectivity to every home
- And, of course, Batman!
Over the next 6 months, PSFK will be covering urban trends that are changing the cities we live in at psfk.com/my-ideal-city. Contribute your ideas to the future of a city at the MyIdealCity site.