(ANTIMEDIA) John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft, released a 14-page manifesto yesterday describing the ride-sharing company’s “Vision for the Next Ten Years and Beyond.” In it, Zimmer not only predicts that the majority of the company’s vehicles will be driverless within five years, but also asserts that “by 2025, private car ownership will all-but end in major U.S. cities.”
Zimmer begins by describing his childhood love of cars, then transitions into pointing out how much space is designated for vehicles. He suggests to readers:
“Next time you walk outside, pay really close attention to the space around you. Look at how much land is devoted to cars — and nothing else. How much space parked cars take up lining both sides of the street, and how much of our cities go unused covered by parking lots.
“…imagine for a minute, what our world could look like if we found a way to take most of these cars off the road. It would be a world with less traffic and less pollution. A world where we need less parking — where streets can be narrowed and sidewalks widened. It’s a world where we can construct new housing and small businesses on parking lots across the country — or turn them into green spaces and parks. That’s a world built around people, not cars. All of this is possible.”
According to Zimmer, we are only beginning to witness the coming “transportation revolution.” He says they’ve already begun testing autonomous vehicles in San Francisco and Arizona with the help of their partner, General Motors. This announcement comes just days after Uber, Lyft’s main competitor, debuted their first self-driving car in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which Zimmer shrugged off as a “marketing stunt.” Ford also predicts it will have its own self-driving car on the market by 2025.
The Lyft president took a jab at Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s recently published Master Plan, Part Deux, which predicted the shift to driverless cars would occur mainly as a result of the vehicles’ owners renting them out. Zimmer countered:
“Elon is right that a network of vehicles is critical, but the transition to an autonomous future will not occur primarily through individually owned cars. It will be both more practical and appealing to access autonomous vehicles when they are part of Lyft’s networked fleet.”
Although it seems the manifesto’s release was strategically timed to garner positive attention from the press, The Verge reports:
“Zimmer dismissed the notion that his mission statement was a reaction to anything specific, saying it was more meant to serve as a ‘call to arms.’ ‘Cars have really taken over our landscape,’ he said. ‘Every hundred years or so, you get an opportunity for a redo.’”
In the opening of the essay, Zimmer recalls his annual trips with his father to the New York International Auto Show, telling readers, “I looked forward to going every year, because even at that young age, I felt a connection to cars and the freedom they represented.” [emphasis added]
While technology is shaping and improving the world around us in almost every way possible — from advancements in medical science to communications and everything in between — some of these advancements come with a cost. One might want to carefully consider the pros and cons before selling their vehicle and decide for themselves if it’s worth it to exchange freedom for convenience.
This article (Lyft Co-Founder: “Private Car Ownership Will All-But End” in US Cities by 2025) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Josie Wales and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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