Phase 3 Share your ideas! (Completed) March 19 - April 2

Electric scooter or small vehicle for City commuting

Imagine a system for a portion of City commuting with electric scooters, electric skateboards, electric bicycles or any of those small 1 to 2 person vehicles or devices.

Why is this an ambitious idea?

This idea is ambitious only because it is unconventional, not the norm which makes it out of the box, is very different from normal people's bias. Yet if people can break away from that bias it can solve a huge amount of City commuting issues and money, save our environment, diversify our economy and allow for a more healthy lifestyle.
If we have a system where we can commute to work, to the nearby grocery stores, to places nearby where we don't have to drag a ton of metal (car) with us each time. The trick here is to develop a system for these vehicles along or with the bike path system. Not on the roads competing with all the big vehicles. Calgary is ideal for this with its huge network of bike path systems already in place, especially along the rivers. And a system that is presently mostly under utilized, that is mostly used for recreation and not commuting.

I would start by introducing this system along the bike pathways as a pilot project with goals to achieve certain levels of usage after each year. Speed limits would be enforced. $50m would be a nice figure but I don't think it even requires that much.

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

The true measure of effectiveness is when we can achieve real utilization. For example, if we can shift 5000 people from driving to work downtown to this mode of transport. That in itself will cut down on our carbon footprint and save cost. Traffic congestion on the roads will be reduced. With less traffic on roads, maintenance will also be reduced and that savings can be put to improving this bike path systems, bearing in mind that a bike path system is a lot cheaper than a road both in building and maintenance. Besides savings in building and maintenance, we also save in parking spaces, even to no parking spaces required if an electric skateboard is used for commuting. There are so many benefits and advantages for this system if you think about it. The list can only keep growing.
What's even more exciting is that Calgary can become a world leader in a system like this. There is really no other city doing this. This will be true diversification as we can export this system, even export the vehicles that comes about from this innovation. Yes you can even implement solar heated pathways, smart traffic controls, etc. The economic benefits can be immense.

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

Technology can really play a huge part here. If you use for example an electric 3wheeler like a prototype Toyota iRoad model, it is a vehicle that is really suited for this system as it is covered and can be heated for winter driving. Even if it's not perfectly suited, it is not a technology that is difficult to improve. It is not like developing an electric car for the future. It is developing a vehicle that can be developed today for today's usage. You don't need to develop a battery for all that maximum range. One only need to charge the battery every few days to commute to work every day. And because it's a much smaller battery it can even be charged with 4 solar panels installed on your garage roof. This is all achievable today. Where one gets free energy to get to work, to run small errands around the city. It will be a game changer. It is also where we replace where we tend to use our car most, that is our City commute. And leave those occasional long distance travel to using our only car in the household.
Because it is a small system for small ranges to travel, all the latest smart technology can also be easily integrated. Technology can also be used to control traffic patterns. Any traffic jams or accidents can easily be diverted or resolved. Any injuries will usually be minor compared to normal car accidents. Manual bike cycling is popular for a lot of these reasons. But the cycling public is limited in numbers and especially during winter months. Here we will have a system that is more open to the public and throughout the year. There's really no reason for not pursuing this vision except for people's skepticism. Some other cities especially crowded cities are getting on to this. But their implementation is quite poor, like those bike sharing programs. We have an opportunity to implement it well if we start with a system on bike paths, not on roads sharing with cars.

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Submission No. 182