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Could The Taxi System Be In For A Revolution?


By: Raymond Murry

New York City is synonymous with so many things it’d practically be impossible to name them all but let’s start with this post’s namesake, the taxi cab. If you take a trip to the world famous Times Square you will witness streets filled with a sea of yellow congestion. NY’s taxi system makes for a major segment of the city’s transportation structure with its own heavily regulated commission. So with a system so reliant upon cabs, efficiency should be vital, right? One organization certainly thinks so.

MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, a research group, has developed a tool which they hope will capture a visualization of NYC from the viewpoint of taxi cabs. The idea is that eventually a more user intuitive version of tool would help cab companies and passengers track traffic patterns and match them with others moving along the same route so that they could share a ride. The expectation is that this would lower traffic congestion while also lowering fare prices. One of the downsides to this is that some passengers might have to wait a little longer to get to their destination, but people are pretty patient these days so that shouldn't be an issue.

Honestly, I can count the number of times I have been to NYC on one hand and that fact is on purpose. It’s not that it’s a bad place but probably more a reflection on the type of person I am. New York is a fast paced, very hustle and bustle type of city, where if you can’t keep up you will get lost in the chaos. This is not a post to bash “The Big Apple” in any way. You can’t. NY is world renowned for its art, food, music, fashion, and highly expressive culture but one of the biggest things that stick with many visitors is that at times, it feels a bit crowded. With a population of over 8 million it has the highest populous of any city in the US. That said, this makes me wonder about a taxi sharing service actually proving real results. Cutting down on emissions and saving people money are awesome incentives but with a city so densely inhabited, crime is bound to become a factor with sharing rides.

The idea sounds great and so does winning the lottery but similar to winning the lottery, this idea might just be wishful thinking.

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