...there is the CityCar! This is a joint concept first issued by MIT, GM and Frank Gehry back in 2004. It has gone thru a number of iterations since then until this version appears in the current Business Week "IN" section. Filled with the necessary technology to survive in a 21st century urban area – electric power, wheel motors, small overall dimensions and apparent all weather capability – the CityCar attacks one of the main drawbacks of conventional automobiles regardless of how they are powered – they take up too much space! Everywhere you take a car you need a parking space. The more parking spaces you have, the more cars you can attract and the less appealing is the said urban area. Two tons of metal to haul around perhaps 200 or 400 lbs of person(s)! Make four stops on a day of errands and you need (22 ft x 10 ft) of space at each location. That is over a 1,000 sq. ft. of parking space including your home space. These CityCars are supposed to allow 6 to fit within one standard parking space.
These cars are meant to be rented for a particular day or trip and they are just for urban use. That would mean they would be used in lieu of, say, a taxi for that last portion of a trip that already includes public transit such as subways, buses, railroads, or airlines. They would fill that last, sometimes frustrating, gap in a trip from an origin to a destination. Various local rental sites, with a preauthorized smart card, would be where the cars could be picked up or dropped off.
Why should transportation in the 21st century follow the traditions of the 20th century? This idea deserves some consideration.