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The Boston Globe


Tom Keane

How to grow the ‘sharing economy’

Thanks largely to clever technologies, Boston’s transportation system is evolving, moving away from the familiar model of private cars and public transit to something cheaper, greener, more convenient, and more consumer friendly. It’s an exciting future the city needs to embrace; it also needs to push things along.

The new transportation model is all about sharing, the buzzword for what some call the “sharing economy.” It includes innovations such as ride-sharing (Uber), bike-sharing (Hubway), and car-sharing (Zipcar). All three rely on cutting-edge communications; none would have been feasible in a pre-Internet world. Smartphones allow users to find out where bikes are available, order up a ride, or reserve a car. (The same technology, by the way, is making conventional public transit more user-friendly as well, telling commuters when the next bus or train will be coming by.)

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