Monday, April 16, 2007


I had forgotten a very effective way of reducing car traffic: hitchhiking. I used to hitchhike a ton in an around the sub-/exurban town of my youth. It wasn't always easy, but I did get around a lot without a car.

This Autoweek column describes a modern-day solution to the problems of finding a ride and making sure that neither driver nor rider is an ax-murderer. Cell phones. A person needing a ride punches a number in his GPS-equipped cellphone. Nearby drivers willing to give rides get a message on their cellphones.

The solution was dubbed the "Relay System" by its creators at the Art Center College of Design. The graduate chair of Industrial Design discussed the idea at a recent Summit titled, “Design For Sustainable Mobility.”

Hitchhiking is not very likely to make much of a dent in Newton traffic, but a clever use of the interwebs and cellphones could help with car-pooling and with walking buses.

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