To Live and Drive in Las Vegas

Apr 29th, 2013 | By Laura Waldman

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has an ambitious plan for reinventing the transportation system in Las Vegas. Set to launch later this year, his Project 100 is a new ride-sharing system that aims to persuade residents to ditch their cars for a mobile app they can use to access a private, on-demand network of electric cars, bikes, and shuttle buses. This system differentiates itself from other popular ride-sharing players like Uber and Zipcar in that it’s designed to analyze all the available modes of transportation and recommend the best option at a given time and location. Not to mention it’s going to use all-electric vehicles—100 brand-new Tesla Model S’s. Project 100 is part of Hsieh’s $350 million Downtown Project, a plan to revitalize downtown Las Vegas through investments in real estate, small business, education, and tech start-ups.

The idea is simple. Get rid of your car and replace it with an app. With usability as a top priority, the app will display options based on availability and proximity. Here’s how it works, from the Project 100 site:

Open an app so we know where you are and tell us what zone you want to travel to. With that information we’ll give you a set of options, for example,

1. Be picked up by a driver in a Tesla in 3 minutes.

2. Drive yourself in a low range electric vehicle that’s 0.2 miles away.

3. Grab a bike that’s 0.1 miles away.

4. Hop on the party bus that will be near you in 4 minutes.</i>

With on-demand drivers, shared cars, bikes and shuttle buses all under one monthly membership, Project 100 is the first of its kind. Although still in its beta testing phase, users can expect to pay around $400 a month for unlimited access. Tiers of membership are being discussed as well.

Project 100 concept is similar to another idea we blogged about recently: Hillsboro, Oregon’s GoPoint Mobility Hub idea, a runner-up in Bloomberg Philanthropy’s Mayors Challenge. This idea aims to combat the general dependence on automobiles in this suburban area by providing community members with rides to transit stations, bike rentals and carpools via their smartphone, computer or a GoPoint kiosk.

Sustainable America has a goal of reducing oil consumption in America by 50% by 2035. Developing innovative ways to make it easier for people to get where they’re going without owning cars will be an important part of the solution. Whether the ideas come from the private sector, like Project 100, or from the public sector, like Hillsboro’s plan, we’re encouraged to see communities interested in developing smart, sustainable transportation plans that can be replicated in other cities.

Tagged: electric cars, Tesla electric cars, fuel efficiency, alternative transportation, sustainable transportation, shared transportation, fuel, ride-sharing, Science & Tech, Innovation

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