Shared transport: Two conflicting views

In our increasingly urbanised world, finding innovative and practical solutions for shared transport systems makes complete sense. Here emerging designers from the Royal College of Art present their very different propositions.

James Brooks and Richard Bone have looked at creating a car designed specifically for urban-shared car systems. Following much research into current car sharing schemes, their BOX project is a Smart size concept that is covered in glass, runs on an electric platform and is designed to be ideal for city mobility.

‘The shape is completely bound by functionality,’ explains Bone. ‘It is the same size of a Smart car but can also fit some of Ikea’s biggest flat packs and is adaptable for wheelchair users. This had to be cheap to be produced and spatially efficient.’

Concerned with how cars are all about status symbols, the visibility and neutrality means that the driver/passenger’s status remains the same inside or outside the car.

The duo worked together on this scheme under their own design consultancy Brooks & Bone set-up whilst completing their post graduate degree in vehicle design at the RCA. ‘The beauty of working together is we could cover so much research,’ admits Bone. And for this project they spent a great deal of time speaking with governmental bodies and users of existing shared car schemes to see what can be done to improve the current flawed systems.

They explain: ‘The problem with shared car systems now is that the cars are not right for this system – you need something that can house everyday people. The visibility and neutrality means that your status remains the same inside or outside the car.’

Both Bone and Brooks come from the automotive world. ‘But once you get involved in it you realise so many things need to be addressed. The concept is born out of us being completely disillusioned with the automotive industry and how inward looking it is,’ says Brooks, with Bone adding: ‘Like an internal bubble, making fast cars and concerned with status.’

Since they exhibited at Show RCA, the duo have been asked to show their project for a year at the London Transport Museum as well as show at the London Design Festival in September.

‘We plan to continue the development process of the BOX,’ says Bone, ‘looking into manufacturing and component options, and developing the design further with the aim to seek funding to build a prototype in late 2012.’

Fellow RCA vehicle design graduate Julliana Cho’s Porsche car-sharing proposition may also run on electric power, but it is unashamedly aimed at an elitist customer group.

The American designer is targeting the lucrative Asian – Chinese in particular – market of 2026. ‘I wanted something that focuses on the driving experience,’ she says candidly. ‘So I was thinking about brand Porsche and to design an exclusive car-sharing project for the Asian market in 2026.’

The electric car-sharing system works on the idea of a shared elitist club where not only are you exclusively part of a small network, but you can customise your borrowed car to be further exclusive using a simple smart key.

‘You can customise your own driving dynamics and also modify it to suite your needs,’ she explains. ‘The basic body is shared in a parking structure and as soon as you insert your smart key that has all your data on it, it will customise the car for you.’

Brooks & Bone and Julliana Cho exhibited as part of Show RCA 2011Read our report on Show RCA Vehicle Design published in Wallpaper*.

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

Read our other reviews from the show: Interior Solutions: Family Dynamics, Otto the anti global car and Monoform a new expression of movement.

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