A-MoD systems builds upon research conducted by the City Science Initiative at the MIT Media Lab on the CityCar, a foldable, electric, and shareable two-passenger vehicles designed for on-demand use. Again, this is not fantasy; the CityCar is on the verge of being commercially available in Europe by MIT industrial sponsors this year. The technologies to create smart sustainable cities have existed for a long time. Ferdinand Porsche developed the first hybrid vehicle to use electric motors in 1898. But in the end, technology and progressive public policy cannot do it alone, nor can new business models. It requires that we fundamentally re-think the urban structure of our cities, so that we don’t separate our living and working to the point that we need motorised transportation in the first place. It requires walkable, high-density, mixed-use neighbourhoods where the needs of every resident are met with less than a 20-minute walk.
If we don’t act quickly, all we need to do is visit China’s megacities to glimpse our future.