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Is Peak Car Headed for Seneca’s Cliff?

Is Peak Car Headed for Seneca’s Cliff?

This text follows my recent keynote at Seoul Smart Mobility International Conference. The author thanks 
Seoul Design Foundation and @Seoul_gov  for their invitation. I also thank XuanZheng Wang, professor, China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), for alerting me to the @Mobike developments.

Two hundred people per second now climb onto a dockless bike somewhere in China; the blue dots (above) denote transactions in Shanghai.

Considering that dockless bike sharing platforms were only launched two years ago, in 2015, this growth rate is remarkable.

The biggest company, Mobike, already operates more than seven million bikes across over 160 cities globally – and a merger with its biggest rival, Ofo, is in the offing.

For its US launch Mobike (above) has teamed up with AT&T for its networks. Qualcomm will make the GPS-enabled smart tags attached to each bike. And iPhone maker Foxconn will manufacture the actual bikes.


Negative side effects have accompanied this explosive growth, of course; entrances to subway stations, for example, have been blocked by piles of carelessly dumped bikes (above) .

Beijing and  Shanghai have banned the addition of more bikes until their users learn, or are compelled, to use designated parking areas. Wayward user behaviour may well be just a blip; penalties (and inventives) cxan easily be added to dockless bike software.

When sharing platforms enable new relationships between people, goods, equipment, and spaces, the notion of mobility as a discrete economic sector no longer makes sense.

News that Ikea is buying Task Rabbit is further confirmation of this convergence

The bigger story now unfolding (above) seems to be one of system transformation – a peak-car tipping point – that’s been slowly ‘brewing’ for a very long time.

(I don’t believe the concept of  “Personal Era” is a timely one – but I’ll come to that in my next post).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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