This isn’t an idea but a problem in need of a solution or new product idea. In most parts of America, having a car is not a luxury – but a necessity. Without one, you can’t get to work, get to the grocery store, or get anywhere further than you can walk or cycle. And for the northern United States, walking or cycling isn’t even an option during the winter!
But our world is changing. Issues like fuel prices, the environment, energy iindependence, national security, and infrastructure cost are taking center stage. And the image of the new car shine is declining – but still part of the national culture.
If this trend continues and follows similar patterns in Japan, cars will soon become more of a niche purchase while people allocate more of their disposable income to iPhones, internet access, and other communication and entertainment costs. 20 years ago, we didn’t pay for anything more than a land line phone bill and perhaps a cable TV bill. Now we’ve got new devices, HDTV, unlimited cell phone calling and data plans, satellite TV, on-demand, etc. etc.
When these two trends intersect, people will need transportation alternatives that are cheaper. This is especially true of rural and suburban areas where traditional mass transit options aren’t available today and where people are sometimes most vulnerable to economic downturns.
Therefore, it’s time to focus our nation’s design and engineering creativity and effort on this problem. The return on investment would be magnitudes greater than on the next luxury hybrid batter electric vehicle! Maybe the cause needs a celebrity or business tycoon champion…