According to a recent Economist article, cities around the world are grinding to a halt, clogged up under the weight of their own workforce.
Cities around the world are booming, especially in emerging markets they are growing faster than ever before, drawing in rural migrants and producing better educated, wealthier urbanites.
However, many of these mega cities are grinding to a halt, surveys of São Paulo suggest that half of all adults spend at least two hours a day travelling. Lagos has such epic traffic jams that an army of street hawkers plies the roads, selling peanuts, Christmas trees and puppies to a captive market of drivers.
Around the world governments are being called upon to do more to reduce congestion, reduce pollution, ease workers’ commutes and solve parking issues. Countries are tackling this in a number of different ways, Bejing, for instance, was one of the first to adopt an odd even number plate scheme, which allows only cars with number plates ending in an odd number one day and even number the next. Delhi tested a similar scheme earlier this year. However, these have proved unpopular and, to a large extent, ineffective – anyone that can afford to simply buys another car with the appropriate number plate. Other cities, such as London, Singapore and Stockholm charge drivers to move around the city at congested times. For most this is simply another tax that has to be stomached rather than a deterrent from taking a particular journey.
What’s interesting is the crowd driven solutions springing up in the worlds most congested cities, Melbourne, Singapore, Delhi, London etc. In these cities new car pooling platforms are being launched every week. From women only platforms to platforms with an element of speed dating to platforms where passengers and drivers are encouraged not to speak. There is a flavour to suite everyone. Faxi, which is available throughout the UK and an expanding number of cities around the world, focuses on private groups focused on a single destination. A company can sign up, for instance, invite its workforce and employees can sign up safe in the knowledge that they will not be sharing with strangers, only co-workers; trust and safety are built in from the ground up.