I thought for this Monday Spotlight it would be great to get away from the Occupy Wall Street movement, the American Jobs Act, and the Republican candidate race and focus on something I saw on Fox News last week. I am not a normal viewer of Fox News, but as I was passing through the different stations, I came across a segment on the Shweeb human propelled monorail system. It got me thinking about mass transit in general. I am a huge fan of making mass transit as economically friendly, easily accessible and green as possible. Being that I am currently in a small city without any idea of a public transit system, it adds an element of irony to this Monday Spotlight.
The two large cities that I lived in were extremely different when it comes to mass transit. Las Vegas just finished a huge ten year project on its freeway system but added a monorail that was really only for the tourists. There are no current plans of adding on to it. They added double-decker buses to their bus lines which I feel that they were only to add glamour to the aesthetics of the city.
Los Angeles on the other hand is going in a completely different direction. They are pouring money into their subway system and are currently working on getting a monorail through the southern LA communities out to Venice Beach and are finishing up the details to the new subway route that will carry the Wilshire train through Beverly Hills, Century City and I believe out to Santa Monica.
City Transit is constantly evolving and as we have seen through my travels for Project Kinect, it is important to the evolution of any economy. Whether it is like the free bus system I showed you in Baltimore, or Shweeb System here, transportation continues to be the largest possibility of our communities becoming more environmentally friendly.
Shweeb: The overview of Scweeb is this. By integrating the unique properties of monorail and recumbent cycle technologies, Shweeb delivers a personal, efficient, and cost-effective transport solution with applications for urban commuting, recreational and fitness markets. Geoff Barnett, the inventor of Shweeb, had the idea while he was living in Tokyo. With all of the densely populated area of the city, and the other space conscious pieced of the city, it just made sense to him to create a bike system that could go above the traffic.
The possibilities for this system are endless. It could be used in metropolitan areas such as Tokyo that is densely populated or on a college campus for students to get around more efficiently. It could be used just for recreation in a park or placed in a theme park as a way to get around a park such as Disney.
Here is an article worth the read about how Google is investing in Shweeb.
Daily Dirt: As I was looking for articles on self-propelled monorails, I came across this article on Techdirt.com. Started in 1997 by Floor64 founder Mike Masnick and then growing into a group blogging effort, the Techdirt blog uses a proven economic framework to analyze and offer insight into news stories about changes in government policy, technology and legal issues that affect companies ability to innovate and grow. The Daily Dirt has a wide range of topics and I have now put it on my routine of websites to check out. It will definitely give you topics to think about that normally wouldn’t have come up in your thought process’.
StreetWise.Kittelson.com: On my journey looking for transportation articles to share in this Monday Spotlight, I came across this article from Streetwise by Kittelson & Associates Inc. (Transportation Engineering and Planning firm) This is a blog that is focused solely on all things transportation. With offices all over the country, they really give some thoughts on what innovative changes are happening and how we are becoming more green with each step.
Streetwise.org: In my education of what Streetwise from Kettelson was, I stumbled onto this gem of an organization from Chicago. StreetWise is an organization in the greater Chicago area that focuses on “A hand up, not a hand out”. It’s mission is this…
To assist Chicago area men and women, who are facing homelessness, achieve personal stability by providing them with a combination of supportive social services and immediate access to gainful employment
I know this doesn’t have much to do with transportation, but I came across the organization and from what it looks like, the organization has been successful. Even thought this is an extremely young organization, the team at work is appears strong and their list of goals, both long term and short term, seem obtainable. Definitely keep an eye on them because they will be someone to model community development after.