You hear of great technology companies like Uber, Lyft or Self Driving cars and yet there is no affordable means of transportation for the poor in Houston. The poor in Houston rely on metro and walking to get to work and they can spend an average of 6 hours in transit. Most of the poor are unable to get their place of work because there is no bus route. Technology has not been the great equalizer in Houston, in fact it has done the opposite.
Technology czars don’t want to build transportation solutions for the poor because it does not make money and the local governments lack the vision to deliver on a transportation solution for the poor. This results in never ending cycle of poverty which often leads to crime.
This is the time for the feel-good technology companies to make a difference, create a technology solution that helps the transportation problems of the poor. Uber and Lyft are for the middle class and rich, we need a solution for most needy as they are stuck in the vicious cycle of poverty and crime.
The ideals of technocrats in the eighties were great but somewhere they lost their way. Technology will cause greater job loss in next fifteen years in Houston, even greater than globalization. We need to combine the self-driving technology with artificial intelligence to create transportation solution for the poor and the neediest.
Here is what that solution will look like – it will be a combination of public transport, taxis (Uber/Lyft) and rider share. There will be a mobile application that maps the route for the passenger where the first preference will public transportation, second taxis and third rideshare. In this model, Uber or Lyft are publicly subsidized or they sacrifice profits to help the neediest among us. A more detailed plan will be presented in a later blog.