Tag-Archive for » Cell Phones «

Friday, February 06th, 2009 | Author: matk62

On Wednesday, Google introduced a new mapping feature called Latitude.  This works with Google Maps to allow smartphone and laptop users to share their current location.  So if your friend wants to broadcast their location, you can check to see where they are.  Like Facebook or MySpace, you decide who to share this information with and it will not store past movements, only your current position.

In case you are concerned with privacy, Google has a good YouTube video showing how Latitude will offer you protection:


So how does this work?  In this story from PC World, they detail some of the technology involved.  They also walk through a couple of different examples and offer a few screen shots to illustrate the process.

This technology is not new, I wrote about this last year in my post, GPS – Where Are you?Many cell phones now have built in GPS capability with location-based service that is available from cell phone networks.  So Google is not the first to do this, they are just releasing it on a much bigger scale.

I definitely understand the privacy concerns, but I am very excited about the potential of this service.  Now you could allow family and friends to track your location while accepting a ride.  Would this help ease some of our fears about ride sharing?

Wednesday, February 04th, 2009 | Author: matk62

Wow, I have seen the future and it is Avego Shared Transport.  This company based in Ireland is actually implementing the Pay4Rides concept that I have been researching for the last few years.  It is very exciting to see them working on this new way to travel.

Their vision matches exactly what I have been looking for.  They are trying to expand the public transit system to run on every road in the country.  All of our single occupant vehicles are wasting a tremendous amount of passenger capacity.

So how do they do it?  Watch this YouTube video for a short explanation and demonstration:

This is a very intelligent combination of 4 exiting technologies to enable shared transport:

  1. GPS – satellite tracking easily establishes driver’s daily routes
  2. GSM – mobile phone networks connect all participants
  3. GIS – geographic information systems enable automatic decision making
  4. Web – facilitates communication with all users and ride share web sites

As you watch the demonstration, I think you’ll agree this is a smooth process with enormous potential.  They have addressed 2 of the biggest concerns with ride sharing by offering a system to validate participants and ratings for both drivers and riders.

Yes, it will take time to build a community of users for a system like this.  However increased participation over time will only enhance the number of available rides and riders.  If you take a few minutes to watch the video, let me know if you are half as impressed with Avego as I am.

Category: Ride Share, Yellow  | Tags: , , ,  | 37 Comments
Monday, February 02nd, 2009 | Author: admin

Saw an interesting story this week entitled Public Transportation 2.0 by Tara Brown.  She shines a light on how web technology can improve our experience with public transit and keep us informed of any alerts.

The story highlights some of the recent innovations in the Bay Area, but this must also be happening elsewhere.  They are using Twitter to send text messages directly to your phone.  The messages can be about delays on your train or the arrival time of the next bus.  This is a great way to apply new technology to an old problem.

Now the story does not end there.  Apparently another writer at this blog, Mark Pritchard, was also inspired by Tara’s story and he posted Public Transportation 2.1 as a response.  He makes a very good case for small battery powered autocabs to supplement trains and buses.

On his daily commute, he could take the train into the city, but then how does he travel the last 2 plus miles to his office?  It is too far to walk and a bus would double his total commuting time.  So, he like most commuters just drives his own car every day.  Now here is someone who wants to take public transportation, but it is just not convenient for him.

He then goes on to detail the problem of there not being enough taxis and why they don’t really fit for these short ad hoc rides.  He has an idea for autocabs that works because one of these can replace many cars and solve the parking dilemma in most cities.  They would nicely fill the gap in getting you to a transit hub from your point of origin and then from another transit hub to your destination.

I think Pay4Rides could also greatly benefit from a texting service.  Imagine a host site that could accept ride requests and text drivers for availability.  The driver could text back to accept the request and the host server could text the rider with a confirmation.  Now instead of developing a fleet of battery powered autocabs, we could just employ the autos that are already on the road.

WIBNI (Wouldn’t it be nice if)?

Creative Commons License photo credit: numberstumper

Thursday, November 06th, 2008 | Author: admin

Street view in Google Maps MobileAlmost everyone has a cell phone now and many have built in GPS capability.  Most cell phone networks are offering location-based service (LBS) to easily identify the whereabouts of an individual. 

Some of these are combined with a web based service like Loopt to identify a precise location of a friend or family member.  Wherify and Sprint Family Locator are two other examples of this technology already being implemented around the country.

This type of technology could help ease concerns when accepting rides.  Now you can easily find the location of your family and friends through their cell phones.


Creative Commons License photo credit: kalleboo

Category: Green, Other  | Tags: , , ,  | One Comment
Thursday, October 30th, 2008 | Author: admin

This idea will not work unless both drivers and riders feel safe.  Here are some ideas that could make us more comfortable when providing or accepting a ride:

  • when you accept a ride, use camara phone to take picture of the driver
  • email picture with make/model/year and license plate of the car
  • send text message with time/place you were picked up
  • call a friend and let them know when/where you expect to be dropped off

Creative Commons License photo credit: Nesster

A driver could do similar things when picking up any rider.  Some anxiety could also be reduced by picking up multiple passengers. 

Many cell phones now have built in GPS technology to identify a persons location.  What else could we do to improve safety?

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 | Author: admin

Hitchhiking is a means of transportation that is gained by asking people (usually strangers) for a ride in their cars.  The problem is that hitchhikers want a free ride.

Now Pay4Rides is attempting to introduce the concept of organized hitchhiking.  Driver and passenger ratings could take out some of the uncertaintity whie payment for rides would make it profitable.


  • pick-up/drop off stations @ each exit/entrance of major highways
  • lanes for each exit so you get picked up by a driver for your destination
  • cash initially, EZ Pass in the future?
  • credit driver, debit rider

When I think of a hitchhiker, I conjure an image from the classic movie Easy Rider.  Times have changed and cell phones allow us constant communication with freinds and family.  Simple text messages could let anyone know all the details of any trip.

Today, paying passengers could be well worth sharing a ride.

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 | Author: admin

Need clean routes to respond to calls

Creative Commons License photo credit: confidentjohn

How are ambulances, rescue vehicles, police and fire engines going to respond to emergencies in a timely manner if they are stuck in traffic?  Leaving cars home will help lighten traffic and ensure fire and rescue vehicles can make their calls as fast as possible.  How would you feel if your house was on fire or your family was in desperate need of an ambulance only to find out it got stuck in traffic?

One other issue, is the rise of some motorist ignoring sirens.  Drivers are less aware of the sirens and flashing lights on emergency vehicles because of cell phones and loud stereos.  Passengers could help alert drivers to any critical situations.

Category: Red, Traffic  | Tags: ,  | Leave a Comment
Wednesday, October 08th, 2008 | Author: admin

Enjoy the ride!

Today we have an amazing array of electronic gadgets to entertain us when away from home.  Think of how much more you could enjoy these devices if someone else was driving.

Mehdi's Creative ZenMany cell phones are now equipped with internet access so you can email and surf the web.  Text messaging has surged in popularity and definitely should not be done while driving.  Also, any driver just talking on the phone while driving can be easily distracted.

In the last few years, the popularity of mp3 players has grown dramatically with the iPod leading the way.  Each passenger could just pop on their head phones and listen to their own music.

Handheld gaming systems have also burst into our lives over the last 10 years.  Why should kids have all the fun?  There are hundreds of games available for devices like the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS to help pass time during a shared trip.

Laptop computers continue to grow in popularity.  Even without an internet connection, you could read and respond to email and then connect to the internet when you get to the office.

Another device aimed at kids, but one that would definitely be enjoyed by adults is the portable dvd player.  Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy a movie or watch a box set of your favorite TV series while someone else drives?

And don’t forget about just plain old reading.  Grab a newspaper, magazine or book that you normally do not have time to read.  Hey if you are really up on technology, then get yourself a portable ebook reader and carry hundreds of books with you.

Let someone else drive while you enjoy the ride.

Creative Commons License photo credit: supersy