Unifying payment for shared transport services and public transit

Category: Mobility

Shared modes of transportation, paired with public transit, provide great benefit to cost of living on the individual scale, and to broader issues like air pollution and traffic congestion on a city-wide scale. In an attempt to simplify the use of the multiple services available to city residents, and hopefully provide incentive, these services should consider unifying fare payment systems by using software development kits (SDK).

In the way that Lyft drivers are guided by Waze for navigation, the MTA, citibike, Zipcar, and Lyft, can pool together a resource of funds for in-app purchases of metrocards, subscriptions, or rides.

For the volume of funds a system like this would require, it seems like the financial management would be best housed in a city government entity. The other parties involved would be responsible for app production and maintenance. Together staff members of each service would represent their organization’s interest and be the liaison between the joint venture and the support of their organization.

How can smart cities encourage public transit ridership

Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit


Solar Powered Aircraft

1) Energy & Waste: The aircraft industry contributes to 9% of the total CO2 emissions among the transportation sector in the United States. These emissions are expected to triple by 2050 without the establishment of policy regulations. Ultimately, alternative sources energy and a transition away from harmful pollutants into the atmosphere need to be developed to align environmental concerns with transportation demands. As such, Solar Impulse has developed to fully solar power aircraft to tackle the issue.

2) Technology:

  • The project took 12 years of research and development to come to fruition, resulting in a 2.3 ton aircraft with over 17,000 solar cells (23% energy efficient) that were each tested 3 times
  • The PV cells are protected from UV radiation with a polymer film and many of the components are made with carbon fiber and alveolate foam in a honey comb structure
  • It consists of multiple lightweight characteristics such as led lights and structural components, solar cells, energy dense batteries, energy efficient electric motors (97% efficient), and thermal insulation
  • The aircraft has the capacity for only one pilot at a time and is composed of an unheated and unpressurized cockpit measuring 3.8 cubic meters

3) Organizational Stakeholders:

  • Engineers and designers at Solar Impulse
  • Aircraft carriers
  • Customers for transportation needs (potentially)

4) Deployment:

  • Conduct further test runs of the technology to boost accuracy and make improvements
  • Invest in more R&D and materials evaluations for increase the size/capacity of individual aircrafts
  • Incorporate innovations in battery storage and solar energy conversion to drive efficiency and product reliability

5) Student Comment: 






Addressing the World with Three-word Phrases

Screenshot 2017-10-17 21.58.27

Sustainability Problem: Mobility, Public Administration and Service

An estimated 4 billion people, close to 75% of the earth’s population, have no address for mailing purposes, making it difficult to open a bank account, get a delivery, or be reached in an emergency. In addition, global addressing in different languages can be inconsistent and ambiguous, which often leads to errors. While GPS coordinates are more accurate, they are also too complicated and cumbersome.

Sustainable Technology: what3words assigns every 10-square-foot block of space in the world a new name

what3words is a simple way to talk about location. The idea is that a series of words is easier to remember than street addresses and the strings of number that make up GPS coordinates.

  • It divides the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares and assigns each one a unique 3 word address. It means anyone can accurately find any location and share it more quickly, easily and with less ambiguity than any other system. For example, the White House, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, becomes sulk.held.raves. The service can be used via the free mobile app or online map.
  • Mongolia is changing all its addresses to three-word phrases instead of house numbers and street names. The country is switching to the What3Words system because there are too few named streets and it’s sparsely populated.
  • NGOs including the United Nations have used the app for disaster recovery.
  • Pollinate Energy, an Indian solar lighting company, has used the service to delivery solar lights to people in remote areas who don’t have street addresses.

Organizational Stakeholders that Will Use the Technology

  • Government postal agency
  • Emergency service organizations
  • General businesses
  • Individuals

First 3 Steps in Deploying the Technology

  • Building on the success story of Mongolia, offer the technology to developing countries with incipient address systems.
  • Encourage adoption of the free mobile Apps to individuals by social media campaigns to make it the standard for social mapping.
  • Continue to expand its functions in serving populations without formal address/settlements by partnerships with more NGOs.



Mongolia is changing all its addresses to three-word phrases

This Startup Is Renaming Every Place On Earth


“Turning Climate Pollution Into Fish Feed”

Mobility for Disability

Sustainability Problem:

There exists a need for artificial muscles that are silent, soft, and compliant, with performance characteristics similar to those of skeletal muscle, enabling people to overcome their disabilities. Different types of electric motors or pneumatic systems drive exoskeletons, prosthetic and assistive devices to enhance human performance or aid disabled people to walk and carry out everyday tasks. They provide fast responses but are bulky, heavy, stiff, noisy, non-biological in feeling, and as such less accepted by the end user.


  • Textile processing permits scalable and rational production of wearable artificial muscles, and enables novel ways to design assistive devices.
  • Swedish researchers have created actuators (An actuatoris a type of motor that is responsible for moving or controlling a mechanism or system)— from cellulose yarn coated with a polymer that reacts to electricity. These fibers are then woven and knitted using standard industrial machines and coated with conducting polymers using a metal-free deposition. The researchers have called these textile actuators, “textuators”.
  • These textuators scale up force by parallel assembly of single fibers (Fig A), amplify the strain by using stretchable patterns ( B), and can be effectively mass fabricated. This will allow for a new means of driving and designing assistive devices, such as exoskeleton-like suits with integrated wearable actuators.



Hospitals, NGOs caring for disabled people, People with temporary or permanent disabilities, Elderly people, Prosthetic industry, Physiotherapists, People recovering from injuries etc.


Knitting and weaving artificial muscles could help create soft exoskeletons that people with disabilities could wear under their clothes to help them walk. By varying the processing method and the weaving pattern, it should be possible to tailor the force and strain characteristics of a textuator to the specific application at hand.





Comments on other blogs

“Smartscooter & Smart Energy Network”

“A good concept, but it could also focus on allowing more than a single ridership. Use of shared resources in nations would lesser the vehicular traffic on roads.”

“Longer Lasting Produce!”

How does it reduce disease? Can this technology be also used to store grains?

Smartscooter & Smart Energy Network


Problem: current individual transportation modes, especially in developing countries, still rely on vehicles such as scooters that burn fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gasses. In addition, vehicle ownership in developing nations is expected to rise.

Solution: A zero emission electric scooter that is powered by a removable battery which is obtained through a shared charging network.

  • Gogoro is a Taiwan-based startup that manufactures and sells electric scooters powered by removable battery packs.
  • Customers purchase ownership of the scooter, and gain membership to a charging network where they obtain and swap out the battery packs.
  • Battery station locations and battery availability is managed through a mobile app.
  • Gogoro can analyze data of charging activity to help inform where to distribute more batteries and when to take advantage of off-peak charging


  • conventional scooter owners
  • cities with high traffic pollution

First 3 steps:

  • identify cities with high scooter/moped ridership
  • propose the Smart Energy Network to municipal transportation departments
  • market to consumers




Blog Comment:



Transit Signal Priority (TSP)

Sustainability Issues

A well-functioning transit system is a essential component of any major city. However, in cities with narrow streets and high level of traffic volume like NYC, buses or other transit vehicles often trapped in busy intersections, resulting in traffic congestion and excessive air pollution emitted by standstill vehicles. According to a mobility report issued by NYC government, in n central business districts like Midtown Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn, and Jamaica Queens average travel speed for buses are often 4 mph or less. Prioritizing traffic signal at busy intersection for buses could lead to higher travel speed of buses and therefore improve overall efficiency and service quality of the transit system.

Technology: Transit Signal Priority 

  • Transit Signal Priority (TSP) is a set of operational improvements for traffic lights that use technology to reduce dwell time at traffic signals for transit vehicles
  • Such a technology includes a detection system and a priority request generator aboard transit vehicles (or in centralized location)
  • As TSP equipped transit vehicles approach corridors, a signal will be sent by the priority request generator wirelessly to the traffic light control system
  • As the system receives the priority signal from transit vehicles, a set of pre-set strategies will be utilized to either hold green lights longer or shorten red lights until the transit vehicle pass the intersection
  • The same system could also be utilized to prioritize traffic signal for emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks


  • Department of Transportation
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Municipal government
  • Traffic signal providers


  • Identify intersections and corridors with highest traffic volume
  • Launched a pilot program to upgrade traffic signal system and install priority request generator in some transit vehicles (especially BRTs)
  • Evaluate effectiveness of the system and improve shortcomings
  • Employ the system in all transit vehicles and corridors to improve transit efficiency





UNI: MH3730

Car to Car Communication

Problem: Safety  

With a estimated 1.3 million deaths per year and 20-50 million injuries due to motor vehicle related incidents, the ways in which we interact with cars presents a significant sustainably risk to both drivers and pedestrians.


  • Car to Car communication allows for the transfer to data from a few hundred meters away
  • Information on cars position, speed, steering wheel position, brake status, and more is relayed
  • Readings from other cars are transmitted every 10 seconds


  • -Governments
  • -Automobile Companies
  • -Pedestrians
  • -Vehicle Consumers


  • The first step with be developing reliable prototypes of the technology to initiate its position in the market.
  • Agreements between car companies will need to be made to create a communication system that is universal or compatible across the industry.
  • Due to the high level of cost needed to implement the systems initially, involvement from governments will be needed to drive policy change and provide subsidies to reduce overall cost.

Comment to other post: 






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By Dominic Bell (dlb2189)