Cloudonomics and Zipcars


An interesting post on "cloudonomics" The 10 Laws of Cloudonomics - GigaOM Many of the ideas are familiar to those who study transportation systems.

As noted previously, I have been thinking about "cloud commuting", we should consider what already is a "cloud" in transportation, and that is the network. The network is provided not by individual travelers, but by agencies that serve many travelers. (This includes both physical infrastructure networks (road, track, port) and carrier (bus, train, plane) networks).

The question is then whether you can drive the economics to the point where the individual no longer needs a vehicle, but that too is provided by the cloud, is available on-demand, ubiquitously, and reliably, at a lower average cost.

As I now let my subscription to zipcar lapse (it seems I cannot just do that, "Please contact us within three business days or your account will be closed and turned over to a collection agency for payment. " ... which seems very rude, I am just not a member this year, no need to get a collection agency involved, I didn't sign up for life, hence why I didn't tell you my new credit card number) I think the economics of this are just not there yet.

Further on the zipcar issue:

"billing problems

Oops! On Aug 18th, we tried to charge the balance of your Aug 18th to Sep 17th invoice ($30.00) to your credit card MasterCard ending XXXX. We were unable to charge the card, possibly because of insufficient funds.

We would like to either try charging your card again or allow you to change your credit card information.

_ I would like to change the credit card number or expiration date on file.

_ The above credit card is working fine. Please try to bill the current invoice balance ($30.00, see your bill) to my credit card right now."

There is no option to cancel. Who do they think they are, the phone company? These are not friendly people despite their moral righteousness.


Do you have any info on why the bridge across the Mississippi on campus, connecting East and West bank, is partially closed? Is it because Hennepin county is trying to repair/maintain some of their weakest bridges after the collapse of the 35W bridge? Also, I'm a biker, and wonder if I would have any right to push for getting one of those bike lanes to reopen while construction is underway. And if not, I wonder how much longer I should expect to forgo the convenience of biking on the bridge. The U's admin is being tight-lipped towards my probes, so I thought I'd ask an academic instead. Thanks for any light you can shed!

I have talked with staff and the answer is not convincing as to why it is closed (will the pedestrian deck really collapse?), but it might be closed for the duration of the school year. -- dml

your comments about zipcar make me laugh because i share your pain. i really hated them when i was forced to switch with the flexcar/zipcar merger. i had picked flexcar over zipcar for a reason. flexcar was so much friendlier and easier to work with. that first $50 late charge for being 2 minutes late in extending my reservation really made me mad. but i've learned to deal with zipcar and am pretty happy with them at the moment though.

David Levinson

Network Reliability in Practice

Evolving Transportation Networks

Place and Plexus

The Transportation Experience

Access to Destinations

Assessing the Benefits and Costs of Intelligent Transportation Systems

Financing Transportation Networks

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This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on September 8, 2008 2:26 PM.

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