Multi Modal Transportation
This morning I citibiked down the west side of Manhattan along the Hudson to Pier 11, where I caught the East River Ferry to Dumbo. I took this picture on the ferry ride across the east river.
In Dumbo, I got on another Citibike which I rode to Clinton Hill, docked it, got an iced latte, and hopped on the subway for a few stops into Bed Stuy. If Citibike was available in Bed Stuy, as it soon will be, I would have biked all the way to my breakfast meeting. But the subway works fine too.
I have a friend who Citibikes every morning from Bed Stuy into downtown Brooklyn where be catches a subway to work.
Transportation options matter a lot in a dense urban environment like NYC. Transportation is one of about five or six things (safe streets, good schools, affordable housing, great parks, convenient transportation, etc) that makes for a great city and a good quality of life.
In NYC we’ve had a few new modes of transportation arrive in the past few years. Citibike has been amazing for me. Same with the east river ferry. Uber and Lyft have also made getting around NYC easier for those who can afford it. The green cabs in the outer boroughs have also made things a bit better.
But its multi modal transportation that really gets me excited. When all of these various modes are well connected and available via one subscription on your phone then we will really have something. We are close as my commute this morning proves.
And we will have Jetpacks in 2016… or so I’ve read. Future, here we come!
We’ve talked a lot in Boston about transportation redundancy. There are very few places here where there is an alternate route to take should the primary route go down – hence the T ground to a halt when we got a few feet of snow! Hopefully it’s in the plans for the next few years of improvementshttp://www.humantransit.org…
Multi modal is a good way to get redundancy and increase reliability
And a new airport for $4B
Is that real?
New / Old — that’s the price tag on La Guardia renovation.
Pork before an upcoming election.
Wait. Why is investing in improving LGA a bad thing — elections or not?
Because pork is not kosher. That’s why.
As opposed to all other decision that are made only for morally pure reasons? 🙂
I am kind of joking actually. I have no problem with things getting done this way as I am highly realistic and able to work within the existing legacy systems and barriers.All of this is the art of politics and back scratching. A give and take. No different than when trying to get your sister to share her toys with you.
.I wish I could invest in “price” futures. The possibility of that being the final cost is . . . Big Diggish ZERO.Don’t get me wrong, I see the wisdom of not having a single airport serving a big city.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
My god the legal fees alone would almost certainly blow one’s mind.
A truly progressive mayor would digitize the metrocard system and build an API to allow integration with services such as Uber/Lyft/ private bike sharing systems etc…
I still think you should get a GSXR1000 or something like that Fred. Learn to embrace your adrenaline!
Fun but dangerous. Automotive drivers don’trespect bike riders. Partial to the Kawasaki.http://www.suzukicycles.com…Can’t believe that a sport bike can command $50K Yuck!http://www.kawasaki.com/Pro…
The H2R is a track bike. Fred wouldn’t be able to handle that bike without a couple years of experience on something lower level. At 300hp most people would find that bike too much for the street..I would love it because I really enjoy 150+ mph rides!
Have you used Via (ridewithvia.com) @fredwilson:disqus? Very efficient and affordable. Seems like a bus 2.0 system.
that’s a good idea. Public transport in Chicago is digitized with a card. But integrating with Divvy (our Citibike) and the water taxis and train lines would be awesome. A place like Paris could do that too.
ventra is such a scam. has a dirty feeling to it, like it is a surveillance system. not to mention they don’t tell you how much money you have left when you swipe, wtf is up with that
Ventra is getting better – when they first started their customer service was awful (which is a problem if your teen loses their Ventra card once a month thereby requiring a hour plus call with Ventra each time to get their student-fare replacement card working correctly). But they’re pretty good now. It would be great to use one card for Ventra/Divvy/Uber (that one card likely being a cell phone).
A truly truly innovative mayor would Incentivize walking and render every other street nonsmoking, as well as enforce littering fines against smokers.
how about just getting the mta signaling systems to work all the time first…*grumble*
Someone should make a thing where they drop off and pick up citibikes where you want. And Uber cars should have bike racks. Or Lyft.
For my money, the best urban intermodal system I’ve experienced is what Moscow has: metro (subway), trams, trolleys, and diesel buses, plus variety of taxis licensed and unlicensed. The key difference vs. NY is in the subway. Moscow metro is laid out in hub / spoke, so you can get between end-of-line stations without traversing the center. Also the stations are much further apart, and rely on trolleys to make local stops. So you can cover distance ~4x as fast on the subway, then connect to a very reliable electric trolley for last-mile. The trolleys are so reliable that I have seen stray dogs ride them (as in, get on and off at the same stop every day). Not to mention that almost every metro station looks like NY’s Grand Central….
I have heard Moscow is really great to get around. It would be neat if Chicago was able to connect the L in a ring outside the hub.
That would be great! Of course, easier to do in Soviet-era Russia when you could condemn land at the tip of your newsboy cap, and employ armies of slave labor to dig the holes.
“The trolleys are so reliable that I have seen stray dogs ride them”That image just… blew… my…mind. Interesting that someone hasn’t made a youtube video of that yet.
There’s plenty of videos of dogs riding the metro (which I never witnessed personally) but can’t seem to find documentary evidence of the trolley-riding phenomenon though I pinky swear that I saw it happen.
It’s just crazy that they know when to get on and off. Those strays would be smarter than Pavlov’s dogs because they’d be anticipating the trolley’s arrivals instead of reacting to a stimulus.
So, the dogs are sort of like carrier pigeons, but with their own agenda. With the right music, somehow I see this as the backdrop to a Apple TV spot.
The New Yorker had an article about Moscow’s metro dogs a couple of years ago: http://www.newyorker.com/cu…
Very interesting read. Thank you.
The transportation option I find myself using right now the most is my feet. To be fair, Chicago’s business community is a lot more centralized than other places. Not like NYC or LA.
Me too. I love walking in cities
I would add two things to this. ZipCar while a legacy solution adds a level of flexibility as it means people don’t have to have a car and use the other modes more often.And bike paths generally for CitiBike or my own make New York one of the most bike friendly places anywhere.
Love Citibike, if only they had air conditioning.
I personally wouldn’t bike to either work or a meeting. Especially on days like this. I see it’s 83 in NYC going up to 95 and humid with a “real feel 103o” later today. Why arrive all “shevitz” up? For that matter I am not sure (as much fun as it would be) that I would bike even in the right temperature in the city for safety reasons. Small chance of a big thing happening.
I’m with you – if Don Draper were alive today, he would Uber it.
Anyone who needs to regularly shuttle around Manhattan, and makes enough money, needs a car and a driver. And preferably a vehicle where they can have a desk and work while in transit. And if they want they can have the driver schlep around a bike as well should they desire to ride one.Or perhaps the idea would be to do takeoff on Netjets, fractional ownership and a higher level of service. <—- Somebody will do this if they are not already. Not everybody is driven by the cheapest price, some people would rather have certainty and utility (and remember every day is not Sunny in NYC).
Fractional ownership was Garret Camp’s first cut solution. Drivers weren’t interested.Don would Uber b/c its market research & likely use the agency’s driver too.
Drivers weren’t interested.It’s not an idea bigger than Uber anymore than Netjets is larger than commercial aviation. It’s a separate idea. Napkin calculations could prove it would work for drivers. A “higher level of service” is not intended to be a mass market idea.
I would like to be the anti don draper. I don’t think anything about him is cool
Well, I am only about 1/2 through season 5.So far, everything his character has ever said to a client is 100% perfect – excluding when he was bombed out of his gourd pitching slogans @ the Life cereal folks.And everything in his personal life is uncool.A lead character that looks like an astronaut but is actually a black hole allows you to explore some issues, which is a pretty good narrative hook. Weiner is no slouch – the writing is excellent too.Not even the suits? The french cuffs?The series has 2 (so far) near perfect philosophical statements:- on the creative process: you bang your head against the wall until it is right and then you are done (Don to Peggy)- on life: ‘ No Roger, letting go of what you are holding onto in order to grasp what you want is the essence of being an account man. ‘ (Burt to Roger)A compilation of Roger Sterling’s greatest lines would be a riot.My favourite to this point is when he corners Draper (late to work as always), Draper goes right to the whiskey in his office (due to some issue he has), offers Roger a hit…….Roger checks his watch, shrugs….’ its 9:30 .’Followed closely by Cosgrove’s approval of a Pete Campbell plan to have Roger carry the ball for a lunch meeting with the line ‘ Well, no one is better than Roger when it comes to turning a meeting into a bender. ‘I can name the client and the exec who, when he booked lunch he then cleared his afternoon and the next morning (and kept the next afternoon light).Demons are funny when they are not your demons.
I’m surprised you didn’t mention Via. This has been a commuter game changer in Manhattan.
I was going to take it last time. How good is the match rate and wait times? Might I’ll try it next week during a day trip to NYC.it’s like an UBERx+uberPOOL combo in the city, no?
I haven’t used it yet.
How about great parking options for those that do drive. Lot of innovation around private and public parking apps SPOT #parkeasier. — Ben
In Philly, back in the day at least, you could game plenty of fine short term parking by using commercial plates.
The problem with parking is that it becomes more expensive as a function of the real estate value of the parking spaces. At the end of the day most people’s demand elasticity for using the real estate for housing purposes is going to be less than their elasticity for using it as a parking space (unless maybe it’s adjoined to their home). At some point it becomes too tempting to sell off that parking lot to a housing developer.
Digital signs in NY subways weren’t there till 2011!Taking data to the streets… http://awe.sm/qAAVbWe've come a long way and change is accelerating.
The game changer for me, over the nearly 20 years I’ve lived in NYC, all of them in QNS, was the credit cards in taxicabs. Well, that and finally making enough money to be able to afford the cab ride. 😉
I saw an individual riding one of these in SoHo the other day. https://www.youtube.com/wat…Just another way to get around NYC!
I Citibike virtually everywhere I can, and I love it. The value of not being responsible for the citi bicycle, no maintenance costs, risk of theft etc, far outpaces owning my own bike. For places like Red Hook, I just walk!
Agreed, we have basically the same thing in Boston called “Hubway.” What I would love to see is Google Maps including the bike share option in map directions. Imagine if directions included separate options to select a mix of walking, bike sharing, and mass transit. If you selected all options the map would then give the walking time to a bike share station, cycling time to the bike dropoff station (taking into account full or empty stations), then walking time to nearest transit stop. That would be amazing…I always forget to account for how long it will take to walk from the nearest bike station…
Hopefully Urban Engines makes advances here. NYC seems to be more open with their data so it’d be nice if they jumped all in with Balaji Prabhakar. Transportation architecture is a bit “unsexy” but incredibly important. After being in Dublin/Berlin/Munich all of the past year it’s apparent that European cities tend to cope a bit better.
I’m waiting for the personal helicopter. It looks like a big drone. Since I live outside the city, that will be my first mode of transport, then I’ll park it and ride a city bike.(there’s a company in Toronto building it, http://www.airvinci.com)
My kids fly model planes — this has shown me just how many things can go wrong when you’re up in the air, and how disastrous the results can be.Even factoring in a 100x improvement over RC planes / drones, you still wouldn’t get me in one of these.
I fly and have flown model helicopters for a long long time. Back when I started there were no electronics maybe a tail gyro. (Gas choppers). You built them from scratch. When you crashed you had to repair them. That was part of the fun.I can attest to what you are saying. The chopper chews itself up when a blade hits the ground or depending on a host of weather and other factors. Blades can easily get un balanced.By the way the new cheap RC Helis typically contain plastic gears in the servos. I had a servo with a plastic gear fail and I had to dive out of the way to avoid getting hit last year.The servo gears, back in the day, were brass. Now the low price copters have plastic gears and it’s quite easy for them to fail.There will always be people who take stupid chances with their kid’s lives.It’s really just a thinning of the heard.The parents of the Florida teens have helped along these lines. A boat that small, driven by kids of that age, is pretty much a non-starter. To bad for them.http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/…http://www.washingtonpost.c…Look how fucking stupid their parents are:Addressing that question Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show, their mothers told Savannah Guthrie that the boys were more than capable.“Austin has been on the water since before he could walk,” said Austin’s mother, Carly Black. “This is his fourth boat. This isn’t new to them. These boys have been doing this…it’s not even second nature at this point. It’s in their blood…they’re out there.”Perry’s mother, Pamela Cohen, told NBC: “We live in a boating community. These children are surrounded by water from the moment that they’re born. Perry knew how to swim before he knew how to walk.”So now you know why these kids have died. The parents failed to provide the proper supervision and don’t even know of the risks their kids are taking.I owned a 24 foot Sea Ray, a larger boat, and anyone who boats regularly (or who flys airplanes) knows that weather and conditions can change on a dime and that a 19 foot boat (especially with kids this age who do not have fully formed brains) makes this activity a non-starter.
We are developing a Backpack Helicopter that will take skydivers up to 10,000 ft for their jump. Our mission is to replace cars with flying machines.The above is a total confusing marcom clusterfuck. What are they actually doing? Why is “sky divers” even mentioned with “replace cars”? What do those two concepts have in common?By the way selling the heli for 100k obviously is not taking into account the cost of product liability insurance.
What they have in common is that the only way you’ll get people into this thing is if they’re wearing a parachute 😉
It is confusing. The manned one can take a skydiver up in the air, and return autonomously after the jump. That is one use case, whereas my use case would be to take it to go to my downtown meetings :)”replacing cars with flying machines” is a bit of stretch, definitely.
The manned one can take a skydiver up in the airThe potential market for a device that can make it easy for people to sky dive is incredibly small. And should be since it is dangerous.
Those are really nice looking.
Ok so I saw Terrafugia at Tribeca ‘Imagination’ festival but now I much prefer AirVinci as an idea!!!Second photo shows Aeromobil and third shows the car-plane idea from 1940s.
In London, the recently rebranded Santander Cycles (not nearly as catchy as Barclays Bikes) have had a great impact. Not only does it offer a great option for short journeys it has increased the overall number of people biking in central London making it more common and thus safer. Cars and trucks now know they must look for cyclists. Hopefully we’ll get segregated bike lanes soon too!
I may have told this story before here. Once travelled to Ilha de Comandatuba in the Bahia state in Brazil. It’s a small island. 6 successive modes of transportations were:- Transfer in Sao Paolo airport to a private chartered plane (owned by the resort)- Land in private airport owned by the resort (single runway)- Bus to the river’s shore- Barge to cross the river – Mini-train (like at Disney) on the island to the hotel’s lobby- Golf cart from the hotel lobby to the room with bags on it
Traving to Nevis from the U.S. has the same feel
Any island with a name that sounds like “Commander Tuba” I have to look up. Picture looks great!
Nice to read a post every once in a while that we can just appreciate without having to figure out the takeaway and how to integrate it into our daily lives. Sort of like a good book that you can just read, but not have to discuss it to death in school or a book club. So, thanks for this one. #GoodPost
Nice to write it too
This is one of the huge advantages NYC has over the SF Bay Area in the fight to make a tech ecosystem (if there is such a fight). I moved from SF to NYC in 2011, sold my car and have happily lived without one ever since.Speaking of, Zipcars and their ilk are a critical component of the multimodal transportation.
An interesting situation I encountered in Brazil (probably was in Guaraja but I’m not 100% sure) – some of the ferries had a fee for cars and pedestrians but were free if you were riding a bike. Seems like a great way to incent bike commuting.
Anyone think there’s room for scooter taxis in NYC? When I ride around the city, I just feel like I can help someone else get around at the same time.
I agree completely that a multi modal system is great, here in Munich we have a metro, suburban train network, trams and buses that are all available on the same ticket.I just wish they’d open up an api so developers can do interesting things with it. Like how about letting me sell them back information about how I’m using the network for a small discount on my ticket, save them having to do surveys
Apologies, for my curiosity Fred, but what was a Manhattan man such as yourself doing in Bed-Stuy?
I had a breakfast out there with the CEO of one of our portfolio companies
BERLIN, where I’m living for the summer, has the most extraordinary transit system I know of. The best part is Google Map’s coverage. Every segment is assigned an exact time, and you can pretty much count that each segment is going to arrive and depart EXACTLY when Gmaps says it will. Subways come every few minutes (much more frequently than most NYC trains). The S-Bahn (elevated train) has gorgeous views. Lots of streetcars and very nice double decker busses fill in most every gap.Your point here is the multi-modal part, and there’s plenty of that here too, but the official transit company here gives just about all you need.
I didn’t know that about Berlin. As a result of that, how is the car traffic situation comparatively speaking? And what’s the bicycle density like?
Berlin is very spread out, lots of greenery. A bit more population than Paris spread over 9 times the area. So traffic isn’t terrible.Biking around is fantastic too, and very popular. Very organized lanes and share services. Fred has posted about riding to meetings here.
As a long-time urban biker, I can still remember biking B.C. (Before CitiBike) – there were only a few regular bikers so that even at the height of rush hour, the bike lanes were largely empty.A.C. is a different story – not only has NYC become the top bike-friendly city in the US (http://www.bicycling.com/cu…, it had a calming effect on traffic as drivers got used to and adjusted for the increased biking population.And now, I can even see folks in suits and formal wear biking! Its not exactly Amsterdam yet, but we’re getting there!https://vimeo.com/70259303As for facilitating multi-modal commuting, it’d be great if the City facilitates some kind of shared infrastructure that Fred pines for and accelerate experiment with NFC, digital wallets, etc. It will even help the City do better transpo planning as all the multi-modal data is largely invisible to the City.Maybe its a space Sidewalk Labs can do experiments in…Speaking of which, Google disrupted trip planning with Google Maps/GTFS. I wish Google/Waze consumed CitiBike API (https://talk.beta.nyc/t/cit… and do multi-modal trip planning taking into account dock location and availability.
Living in Minneapolis/St. Paul, we face interesting transportation problems because of the sprawl. The cheapest (time/value cheap) and most convenient option is almost always to take your own car somewhere.It’s cheaper, faster, and more pleasant for me to drive and park when going to a Twins game than it is to take a bus or ride our new light rail.Our bike paths are great for commuting downtown, but not a practical option if you work in the burbs.The multi-modal we use most often is to Car2Go downtown and Uber/Lyft back.
.The key to any workable public transit is density — heat in the seats, ridership.Fred’s trips are grand and interesting and provide a rich experience.What is needed to make the numbers work is density (potential customers) and ridership (real customers).JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
The key to density and is the city but the key to ridership is service. London has public transport service working extremely well. There are lessons to be learned from what they have in place.
Got back from London recently. They have really got their transport infrastructure organized. I particularly love the Oyster cards – contactless cards that you can use on anything – tube, buses… and the way that you can use phone apps to plan routes and find out train and bus arrival times at your stop. Very cool.
Also the express train to and from Heathrow is awesome
Took it today. Heathrow Express.
They are extending the reach to and from HRow. I have friends who live in Clerkenwell and they will (soonish) have a straight shot to HR. It’s very cool.
Transportation is one of about five or six things (safe streets, good schools, affordable housing, great parks, convenient transportation, etc) that makes for a great city and a good quality of life.”Safe streets” and “good schools” generally require less affordable, more expensive housing.
Fred, you are in love with NYC 🙂
And I am in love with your Blogs <3
Sorry to bring this post back to Bitcoin, but its what I do 🙂
Fred, I totally agree and you mentioned in your recent talk that you know of a Light Rail type project running through Queens and Brooklyn. Super curious about that project and was wondering if you could tell us more.
There’s nothing like the feeling of biking through a neighborhood, locking up, walking around to explore, and then taking your bike with you back on the subway for chill ride home. Biking is the single *best* way to get around NYC in most instances.
Bikes are also useful for us Jews who observe Shabbat :)But anyway … yeah I would like to see cars replaced with self-driving cars, and a lot of the parked cars gone. In a certain light, if you look at a parking lot or a street with cars, you see a lot of “junk” as contrasted with 100 years ago. We are just used to this junk … but it sits there and 95% of the time isn’t used by anyone. With self-driving cars, car manufacturers won’t be producing so many cars. The environmental impact of the fuel will probably stay the same, though, unless we cut out the commute to work altogether — it’s really a new phenomenon which is destructive not just to the environment but people’s time. Driving “into the city for work” used to be a rare thing for most people, and it will be soon, again, for different reasons.What I’m more worried about is drones. Because they can fall out of the sky, and despite the best efforts by people, thousands of drones overhead will be dangerous for pedestrians. Also because that would mark the first time that thousands of autonomous robots would be out and about among the public. They can be produced easily by no-name manufacturers and launched by anonymous criminals. By the time we spot and stop and rogue drone (maybe with mounted guns), it’ll be too late, and no legislation will be effective against perpetrators. What do we do about *that*? Technology can’t be stopped, but the drones are a real danger.
Can’t agree more. In some cities such as Japan, there are multiple train companies, different sized tracks (we have that) and you have to exit one system and pay again in another.We used to have this issue between MTA & PATH, but now they’re integrated together.Seemless travel is efficient & effective.
I just spent three months in Taipei, which has a good bike share. Now that I’m back, I’m struck by how much more dangerous biking in NYC is. In Taipei, drivers are relaxed and respectful of cyclists, biking on the sidewalk is acceptable, and on some avenues the bike lane is on the sidewalk. It’s rare to see commuters wearing helmets and I never witnessed any accidents or confrontations. In NY, I’ve been driven off the road, cursed at, and doored.As I don’t expect NY drivers to change, we should be getting the city to build protected bike lanes exclusively. And not merely by a painted on buffer, as no one–not even NYPD–respects that, but by parked cars if necessary, and preferably by a curb (as on Bway) or raised sidewalk. If that means removing parking on one side of the street, so be it. When I consider the amount of space devoted to cars in general, and even parked cars, and the amount devoted to pedestrians and cyclists, well, our priorities are fucked up.It’s good to live in a place where pedestrians are more important than cars. But we still have a long way to go. I’ll consider the goal reached when I see friends, families, and children regularly biking between neighborhoods, and drivers according respect to bikers.Like fresh air? Thank a cyclist.
One of my favorite memories of expanding Boloco into DC was using Capital Bikeshare to do my initial search for good real estate. I really got a good sense of the city. I wondered if perhaps part of my criteria for selecting restaurant sites should be where the bike stations were placed, and eventually we opened one exactly on target. It was flawed in the end, though… our 19th and L location closed less than 2 years after opening it, although I blame it on our own execution and certainly not on those beautiful red bikes that stood twenty feet in front of our storefront.Pedicabs aren’t bad either, by the way, though I wish they would regulate what they charge customers so we could feel some level of consistency. And maybe get Uber/Lyft/Sidecar on them too if they haven’t already given it a shot.
This is a personal interest area for me. I have been using a mix of driving, Luxe, and Caltrain + UberX. It’s the new Transit Mix, and even led to me a small seed investment in a route-planning software company called “Remix” (formerly Transit Mix).
Great, in Munich we have Callabike by Deutsche Bahn. Probably their best product ever.. With their mobile app you find idle bikes anywhere, access them and leave them anywhere later. not bound to stations which is awesome. It really makes this mean of transportation ubiquitous. In Berlin they do it with the stations, which feels far less convenient once you had the experience to just leave it anywhere.