Infinite Scrolling

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Possibilities for making commuting easier

There is no getting away from commuting.

The invention of the car gave us suburbs. The invention of mass transport systems like the metro allow us to move in large numbers from one place to another within a city.

Getting from your place of residence to the metro and from the metro to your place of work is still an issue. There is no clear solution to this.

The invention and proliferation of electric vehicles clubbed with technology which makes automated rentals possible may offer a solution.

Every metro station has some sort of a parking lot nearby. If we were to have a multilevel parking lot connected to metro stations we could place compact electric vehicles with charging slots in them. These could be inexpensive vehicles which could be hired out to people.

All that is needed now is to have another parking slot located in every residential or office block served by the particular metro station.

The electric vehicle gets hired from parking lot to parking lot. It would be in the interest of the commuter to get the electric vehicle to the receiving parking slot as quickly as possible to reduce the hiring expense.

Such a system would be easy to automate. Even the electric vehicle could self park itself at the receiving parking slot.

What such a system would do is drastically reduce the walking distance for the commuter, thus achieving the elusive last mile connectivity.

When parked the electric vehicle would charge itself, ready for the next trip.

Also see my posts: The foot path beckons: walk and see nature. Getting around: freedom of a commute. E Rickshaw shows the way: an electric vehicle success story. E rickshaw the ubiquitous vehicle: grass route techology is improving lives of people.

Friday, 22 June 2018

The foot path beckons: walk and see nature

A footpath somehow invites you to walk. Just like a road tugs on you to travel and follow it to mysterious and beautiful places.

Towns and cities which have good footpaths are special. These footpaths are a gift to the citizens.

There is a wonderful movement all over the world encouraging the use of bicycles. A clean mode of transportation. A great way to exercise and stay fit. Bicycles can carry you long distances and can replace the car, at times. as a means to commute.

A footpath on the other hand is good enough only for a much shorter walk.

But if you combine a footpath with a good public transport system things change. If you can take a ten to twenty minutes walk to the nearest public transport point it becomes convenient for a lot of people.

The health benefits of walking are obvious. So good footpaths clubbed with a good public transport system lead to many benefits.

On a trip to Milan in Italy we found that walking and using the public transport system was a real pleasure.

What was really useful was the accurate display on tram stops, bus stops and of course the metro stations. This display always gave the time for the next transport to arrive.

This along with the technology of Google Maps which suggested the best and alternate routes really made seeing the city a wonderful and an affordable experience.

A town or a city planned with good and safe footpaths. Interconnected with an efficient public transport system can be a real boon both for citizens and visitors.

Also see my posts: Getting around: freedom of a commute. It is much easier to travel and see cities now

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Getting around: freedom of a commute

Gurgaon which is a suburb of Delhi got connected to the Delhi Metro some years ago. The yellow line of Delhi Metro now whisks you into the heart of Delhi. It was very different before the metro arrived. Living in Gurgaon meant you had to have your own transport. There were very few buses. So even though you were near Delhi but you were far.

The metro changed the life of a person living in Gurgaon. It set you free.

I recommend a trip on the yellow line of Delhi Metro from Gurgaon to Chandni Chowk. You will travel through distance and also though time.

From a modern suburb which came into existence only a few decades back to the heart of Delhi, a place which has existed forever.

This very same trip, from Gurgaon to Chandni Chowk, by road was tough before the metro. It is now a pleasure.

The neat and clean metro, air-conditioned and comfortable will take you to Chandni Chowk metro station and back for a cost of just 1 USD. More importantly the metro moves on exact time. With trains every few minutes you are assured you will get one.

The Delhi Metro is a mass transport system which is a great success. A system which has immensely improved the quality of life of residents of Gurgaon and of all of Delhi.

On a recent trip to Europe we used the public transport system extensively. In Milan, for example, we really enjoyed moving around in the trams. The older trams with wooden interiors were specially a treat.

We had been to Europe earlier. The trams were there those days as well. It was difficult to understand the routes. Figuring out the routes of the metro system was much easier those days. We landed up using the metro all the time.

This time around we could use the trams. The technology of routes being suggested by Google Maps made this possible. And a tram ride was so much better. As a visitor, it allowed us to see the city as we traveled. The flavor of our visit changed. Trams have been there for a many years. Now we could use them, even as visitors.

A wonderful freedom to commute.

My daughter, who is an architect, gave an insight. She told us to compare two places in Milan. One with trams and side walks and the other with no trams and wider roads. The side with trams was less car friendly but more people friendly. It was the first time I saw this aspect of a city.

A few decades back Gurgaon,, where we live, got connected to Delhi through a new expressway. This road is ideal for cars moving to Delhi. It cut down the driving time considerably. It is a boon for cars. But, it has divided Gurgaon into two halves. Getting across form one side of the expressway to the other for pedestrians is not easy.

So a city designed for cars becomes less of a city for pedestrians.

We are traveling to Canada these days. We are living in a suburb of Toronto. There are wide and beautiful roads. There is hardly ever a traffic jam. Every thing is spacious. You always get a place to park your car. There is a bus system. However, it is a bit like what we would feel when we were in Gurgoan before the arrival of the metro. Having a car is essential go get around.

The boon of a public transport system really sets you free.

Setting up a public transport system having trams and metro trains and buses is expensive. But when it comes, it changes the lives of people for years to come. Specially the people who are unable to use cars for some reason.

So a big thank you to all those wonderful people who make a public transport system happen.

Also see my post: It is much easier to travel an see cities now. The foot path beckons: walk and see nature.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Smartphones and exponential use of time

 One of the members of a small group of a messaging service receives a nice video. A video really worth sharing. It is just a short five minute video. Press of a button it is shared with the other four members of the group. The other group members also have similar interesting videos to share. So all of them also share just one video each.

It is a lovely day. Nature is blooming all around. Birds are chirping and scampering from tree to tree. Flowers are blooming. The leaves of trees are shimmering in a light breeze. All of this is just there outside the window. The sky is having drifting ever changing clouds against a beautiful indigo color.

But all this must wait as there are just four videos which are really interesting and specially selected and sent by the special group members. So twenty minutes of looking down at the smartphone is needed. There is a little feeling of discomfort in the neck, looking down at the smartphone. This discomfort is brushed aside.

Each video must be watched and some must be responded to. So half an hour of the day is used up. Not much one may say. But it adds up. Some times in groups we have members who send many more videos and images and text forwards.

One faces a dilemma every time the inbox is opened. If you watch everything there is no time for going out and watching beautiful nature. If you are selective in responding some one may get upset. So it becomes a compulsion of sorts.

This is what many of us face every day.

One way out is scan the messages and clear all, specially the videos. Spend more time pursuing hobbies instead. Or may be go for a walk.

Is it possible to escape this dilemma somehow?

Also see: Changing greetings

Tenets I followed: Facts not opinion