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SXSW Interactive 2014

SCOUT: Solving the Transit "Last Mile" Problem

The hardest problem to solve in many aspects of civic infrastructure — from telecom to utilities to postal service — is the so-called Last Mile: How do you efficiently connect homes, offices and other individual "endpoints" to the larger grid you're building?

When it comes to sustainable urbanism and transportation, this is a make or break issue. Rapid transit can get people to and from transport hubs, but can't solve home-to-hub and hub-to-destination travel needs.

That's where the idea of SCOUT comes in—Standardized City-Optimized Utility Transport, a safe, compact, efficient personal vehicular solution for the Last Mile of commuting, designed around the needs of users and the limitations of rapid transit and urban life.

But what might SCOUT look like? This panel of innovators, urban planners and manufacturing and infrastructure experts will give their individual takes on SCOUT and imagine how it might fill the transportation gaps in sustainable cities of the future.

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  1. What are the biggest challenges facing urban planners in the context of transportation and people-flow? How does the desire to move toward more sustainable cities further complicate these challenges?
  2. What are some real-world, real-life solutions that cities are creating to address these challenges, from bikesharing programs to pedestrian arteries and commuter shuttles? What are the strengths and liabilities of these present-day solutions?
  3. What disruptions are there in the personal transport innovation pipeline that might transform this space?
  4. How might SCOUT—personal transport systems that are universally accessible to city residents—revolutionize the way cities are designed or operated?
  5. Why did Segway fail to deliver on SCOUT's promise? And learning from its lessons, what might a working model of SCOUT look like?



Jeff Yang, columnist, Wall Street Journal Online, Wall Street Journal

Meta Information:

  • Tags: sustainability
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Smart Transportation and Cities
  • Level: Intermediate
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