Auto independence

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Auto Independence is the ability to get around without having to own a car. It can also be called carfree mobility.

An auto independent or carfree society has at least five options of travel. These include at least the following:

  1. A system of buses, trains and aircraft for passengers to travel from town to town reliably and safely.
  2. Availability of car rental by the hour or more if the driver has a valid driving license. (Also known as car sharing)
  3. Availability of convenient, economical, fast, reliable, safe transport without driving oneself.
  4. Safe, reliable mass public transit.
  5. Shuttle service in large high traffic areas such as shopping malls and city centers.

Currently many towns in the U.S. have no public transport and walking and bicycling is not practical because of time and physical constraints. Where public transportation is available, it may not be close enough to access without a car or the schedules are not compatible with the schedule of the rider. For long distances, e.g. New York to Chicago, personal accommodations of scheduling is not too difficult. To go from Rockville, Maryland, to Alexandria, Virginia, mass transit is not available at all times and not convenient unless the rider is close to the Metrorail station going to a destination that is close to another Metrorail station.

One innovation to this problem is car sharing. Companies like Zipcar, Car2Go, and Hertz on Demand are trying to bridge the gap between where public transportation drops off and where the passenger intends to go by providing rental cars by the hour. These cars are also placed in many locations throughout a city, including near transit stations. This enables citizens to take both public transportation and a car, without committing to and paying for the car, maintenance, and fuel. This is a particularly important in developing nations, such as India, where car access is low, public transportation is less developed, and last mile connectivity affects the overall quality and use of public transportation.[1] In the developing world, companies such as Carrot,[2] eHi,[3] Zazcar[4] Algita[5] Mobilizm, YoYo and Zoom[6] are providing easier transportation solutions to a wider audience.

If the rider has a car or other means to get to the station of origin, s/he would still have to find a means to get from the station to the desired destination. A ridesharing service with a communication system that could handle the riders requirements fast enough is possible. Such a ridesharing service would only be attractive to a market if it could assure the ride of quality service.

Airline reservation systems provide this service for air travel. Because those systems are expensive, they have never been adopted by bus companies for interurban travel. Less expensive systems can be set up if they are limited to a region and a time frame. For these systems matching origins and destinations is different from the process for a system to meet the needs of the third designated system above. Mass public transit could better serve the public, if it used the usage data available at its entry and exit gates. Some public mass transit systems do not keep track of exiting passengers. The lack of such data makes it more difficult to determine how to run the trains. When the coming and going data is known, the scheduling can be more precisely matched to the need. Public mass transit thinks always in terms of the number of trains to run and not in terms of the precision of timing.


  1. ^ "Connecting the Last Mile". 
  2. ^ "Mexico City carsharing company, Carrot, becomes a CSA member". 
  3. ^ "Ctrip Leads Over $100 million Investment in eHi Auto Services". 
  4. ^ "Car-Sharing Picking Up Speed in the Developing World". 
  5. ^ "Car-Sharing Picking Up Speed in the Developing World". 
  6. ^ "Foreigner Duo Startup Zoom to Accelerate the Self Drive Concept to India". 

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