FUTURE CHRISTCHURCH: Towards an Efficient Economy
Christchurch, like most cities, has been progressively shaped by the evolution of transport technologies from walking to transit and automobile. This had enabled cities to form a new style of development, which resulted in a push outwards. Although each advancement allowed an expansion of the city, it also made the previous transport technology less effective. For instance, the existing transport network in Christchurch favours people to drive cars. It is perceived as the easiest, most convenient way to travel. To Christchurch’s credit, they have a public bus network, but because of the urban sprawl it is inefficient and therefore ridership is low.
So rather then fight the norm, I have developed a solution to reduce congestion and promote community. “KiwiGo” is a smart car-sharing mobile application that takes advantage of the sea of cars and allows drivers to actively rent out their vacant seats to others heading in similar directions. In future generations of the app the aim is to integrate it with public transportation (Metro Company) and other possible car sharing companies to make Christchurch a fully multimodal travelling city.
The goal of this solution is to reduce car-use through car-sharing by turning personal cars into private-run public transport. The direct benefit could be a reduction in vehicles on the road, which could free up road area for other uses. But it goes beyond environmental benefits to create community through the social exchange of getting a lift from one place to another. Once car-use is reduced, the need for the abundant car- park spaces in the city could also be slowly turned into more useful spaces for the public. This will begin the transformation from a city designed for cars into a more pedestrian and bike friendly city.
Che Wei (Jacky) Lee