Archive for » November, 2008 «

Sunday, November 30th, 2008 | Author: admin

I thought I would start adding a music video each week.  This first video is the Counting Crows doing a cover of “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell.

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t what you got ’till it’s gone
They paved paradise to put up a parking lot

I will include songs that I like with lyrics related to the topics here at Pay4Rides.  Here is a list of some other environmental songs that I may use in the future.  If you have any suggestions, post them here in the comments.

Category: Green, Other  | Tags: ,  | One Comment
Friday, November 28th, 2008 | Author: admin

Lunch RushMy wife and sister-in-law enjoy the annual tradition of waking up early and hitting the stores on Black Friday.  They like the excitement of the start of the shopping season and the hunt for bargains.  I am glad that they wait until after the morning crush and go out with the right attitude.  They are happy if they find a good deal, but I think they just enjoy a few hours of shopping without the kids.

Of course, this got me thinking of Pay4Rides.  All of these people are willing to get up early and wait on long lines just to save money.  So how do we make paid ride sharing attractive enough that people would be willing to change their current commuting habits?

The accident at a Wal-Mart on Long Island is a terrible tragedy, but I think this behavior is the exception.  At thousands of other stores and malls around the country, people exhibited restraint and respect for the other shoppers.  Unfortunately, everyone focuses on the horrible acts of a few and forgets the kindness of the many others.  So when you think about strangers, try to think about the many and not the few.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Tavallai

Category: Green, Scale  | Tags: ,  | Leave a Comment
Thursday, November 27th, 2008 | Author: admin

Me with Keith Haring's Father

Me with Keith Haring's Father

For the last 9 years I have volunteered as a balloon handler in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  It has become an annual tradition that I share with my brother-in-law and best friend Brian.  We gladly get up at 4am to drive into Manhattan with 2 other good friends and spend the morning smiling and waving to the more than 3 million people that line the parade route.

This year we were assigned to a new balloon created in the memory of graffiti artist Keith Haring who passed away in 1990.  I really did not know much about him prior to the parade, but a quick browse of the web revealed many images I was very familiar with.  For me, the most recognizable was the cover art for “A Very Special Christmas”.

When we arrived at the balloon, I was surprised to learn that Keith’s family had been invited to join us as balloon handlers.  It was a real pleasure to meet Keith’s father, sisters, nieces and nephew.  They said that it was one of Keith’s dreams to be in the Macy’s Parade and they were thrilled to be there.  Having them with us made an already wonderful day even more special.

Whenever you volunteer, I think you always get more back than you give.  Do you agree?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008 | Author: admin

IMG_2375The recent steep price drop in gasoline means that traveling by car is now a bargain compared to other transportation options.  This is causing many people to stay closer to home this holiday season.

According to the Huffington Post, a reduction in travel makes for a Greener Thanksgiving.  They reference numbers from AAA to back up their story:

“AAA reports that for the first time in six years, fewer Americans will head out for the holiday to celebrate with family and friends. In fact, AAA says that 1.4 percent fewer travelers will travel during this time, and 7.2 percent less people plan to use airlines.”

The day before Thanksgiving is normally one of the busiest travel days of the year, but the numbers are clearly down.  This is definitely good news for the environment.

An additional benefit to a decrease in the number of airline passengers is a reduction in flight delays.  So the people who do need to fly are getting through the airports quicker.  All of this reinforces the core idea of Passenger Energy that conservation is the most effective source of renewable energy.

Creative Commons License photo credit: jwalsh

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008 | Author: admin

Watching F1 on N95 8GB via SlingboxWhile driving, we have all seen kids watching TV screens in the back of minivans.  Some cars are now even available with satellite antennas so you can enjoy live TV.  There are also advancements in cell phone technology like the MPH from LG that enable mobile digital TV.

One of the coolest devices to come along recently is the Slingbox.  This device connects a TV source in your home to an existing internet connection.  You can then remotely view your cable or satellite programming while on the road.  So if you have an internet ready cell phone or laptop with a high speed connection, you can take your TV with you.

We have so many entertainment options available to us today.  I would much rather watch TV while someone else drives than be behind the wheel stuck in traffic.  How about you?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Paul & Aline

Monday, November 24th, 2008 | Author: admin

The rich can avoid traffic, but what about the rest of us?

Congestion pricing charges motorists an additional toll to use a stretch of highway, a bridge or to enter a particular area during peak travel time.  Also known as “Lexus lanes”, these cater to the rich and hurt average working people who can not afford them.  Many auto commuters lack access to convenient mass transit, so you can not penalize them without first investing in improved rail and bus service.

In the Summer of 2007, New York City Mayor proposed a plan to introduce congestion pricing in Manhattan.  The plan proposed charging passenger cars $8 a day and commercial vehicles $21 a day for the right to drive below 86th street.  The plan stalled in Albany, but it is sure to come back in the future.

While researching this topic, I found an interesting short 4 minute film that makes a string case for congestion pricing.  Although when I watch this, I think it makes an even better argument for Pay4Rides.

In the film, there is a good quote from Bob Kiley, the Former Commissioner: Transport for London.:

“Under the skin, most of us don’t like change.  We’ll put up with bad circumstances because we fear the consequences of change.  Maybe it could be worse than it already is.”

I agree that many of us feel this way, but fear should not stop us from doing the right thing.

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008 | Author: admin

Earlier this week at the Governors’ Global Climate Summit, President elect Obama talked about Global Warming and the need for clean energy.  He said we would invest $15 billion each year for the next 10 years to support alternative energy.

Time magazine states that this won’t be enough and looks at the international costs.

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) annual World Energy Outlook, released Nov. 12, projects that global energy demand will increase by 45% between 2006 and 2030 — and that $26 trillion in power-supply investments will be necessary simply to meet those needs.

Obama’s plan for $150 billion is a step in the right direction, but more action is needed.  If you read the Time article, you know we must invest in wind and solar power, but why not Passenger Energy too?  Maybe we would not have to invest so much, if we could simply conserve more.

Friday, November 21st, 2008 | Author: admin

Chicken or Egg?We often hear about new cars and trucks that utilize fuel other than gasoline.  Here is an alternative fuel and hybrid vehicle guide to help you explore the options.  Some of the options are available today and more are coming soon.  They include: 

  • Clean Diesels - Biodiesel & Diesel
  • Hybrids - Electric Vehicles
  • Flex-fuels - E85/Gasoline
  • Natural Gas Vehicles
  • Propane Vehicles
  • Fuel Cells & Hydrogen Vehicles

All of these options are good news for our future, but what about today?  These new vehicles are more expensive than traditional ones and have very limited availability. 

Next, what do we do with the over 250 million vehicles currently registered in the US?  I’m sure many of these will be on the road for years and years to come.

The other problem with these fuel alternatives is a lack of fuel filling stations.  This is definitely a chicken and the egg scenario.  They will build the stations once we start buying the cars, but who is going to buy a car they can’t fill?

So why did the chicken cross the road?  To get a ride.

Creative Commons License photo credit: May mun

Thursday, November 20th, 2008 | Author: admin

Denver Shuttle TrainA service that could greatly assist the adoption of Passenger Energy is zero-fare public transportation.  The services are funded in a way that does not involve collecting a fare from passengers.  The funding can come from taxes or corporate sponsorship, but the service is perceived as “free” by the rides.

Local zero-fare shuttles or inner-city loops that use buses or trams can fill short gaps in a transport network and ease bottlenecks.  We have all rode the Disney shuttles and seen how large crowds can be moved quickly and efficiently without charging a fare.

If we could travel longer distances with ride sharing, then shuttles could complete trips and get you to your exact destination.  We already have government subsidies for many of our mass transit systems, don’t you think this would be a good use of our tax money?

Creative Commons License photo credit: diongillard

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 | Author: admin

We're at the tipping point for climate change (bonus: face in the clouds)On Tuesday, California hosted the Governors’ Global Climate Summit.  Attendees from Europe, Asia, South and North America met to share ideas on how to combat climate change.  They discussed strategies to cut greenhouse emissions and ways to get their national governments to join the effort.

According to the press release:

“The Governors’ Summit brings together U.S. and international leaders to develop cooperative partnerships and promote collaborative actions needed to combat climate change.”

This is great to have a meeting to find ways to combat climate change.  The leaders in attendance said the problems that global warming present to the world are too big not to do everything possible to address it.  I believe that Pay4Rides is not only possible, but could be easily implemented with support from our leaders.

Creative Commons License photo credit: kevindooley