[FoRK] LA Traffic - solution?

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Sat Sep 1 10:17:37 PDT 2012

On 9/1/12 8:54 AM, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> On Aug 31, 2012, at 9:27 AM, Stephen Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
>>> A key part of the solution is engineering density. Tweak cities so
>>> that people don't have to travel as much.
>> Exactly.  Non-physical jobs should be done at home or a neighborhood co-work space.
>> Actually, even a lot of physical jobs should be doable that way in teleoperation suites.  You'll just have to be within so many ms. of latency.
>> I hereby suggest one of the biggest startup ideas: Turnkey co-work (now) and teleoperation (soon) suites.  Franchise them.  Make deals for redundant bandwidth, rating, etc.  Hire fleets of local management, staff, trainers, IT.  Make deals with Staples, BestBuy, Fedex/UPS/USPS and a freight shipper, etc.
> Co-working spaces are pretty ubiquitous in Seattle and appear to be popular, though usually among people that were not going to drive anyway.
> The key feature seems to be that you have a critical density of people who will use them and can get to them without driving, which limits their distribution in practice.  Co-working spaces tend to work when they are located among clusters of certain types of similar professionals, not just a random group of people who happen to live near each other. Putting a co-working space way out in the 'burbs is not that useful because the density is too low.

I was alluding to the fact that, besides the fact that the idea hasn't really caught on yet, existing co-work spaces are not varied 
or complete enough or competitive (inexpensive, etc.) enough for widespread use.  Additionally, none of them have any kind of 
teleoperation capabilities.  The existing businesses make it clear it can be done, and a little experience with commuting and a 
variety of work types and environments will make it clear that the need is strong and widespread.

My house in Northern Virginia, where I lived for 13 years, is in the middle of an unincorporated area that I estimated had at least 
40-80K people within a radius of 6 miles.  Those neighborhoods, "in the town of Ashburn" (which isn't much more than a few zip codes 
and HOAs), are 25-50 miles from the bulk of DC area jobs.  And there are many more such population zones in DC, all fighting through 
a small number of zone connection points (few highways, fewer bridges, very sparse Metro trains).  Even if people had to drive 3 
miles, broad coworking would save millions of hours of commute time.

Yea, in Texas or Indiana or Ohio (outside of Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton/Cincinnti, Toledo) or Kansas, there's low density, but 
something like half of the US population is dense enough that coworking done right would be a huge win.

Just the opportunities between San Jose, SF, Oakland/Berkeley, everything in between, LA, and San Diego would be massive. Initially, 
you could start with centers like San Jose (where there is a lot of available office space and people) and SF, which has become an 
extension of Silicon Valley.  And LA and San Diego want to be extensions while SF wants to be more connected with music and 

> I would suggest that the real value of co-working spaces in practice has little to do with less travel for the most part. In Seattle, many of the co-working spaces that do well are scattered among the skyscrapers and major business districts so working at a co-working space is about the same travel as working in a normal office. I know a lot of people that tend to use co-working spaces as inexpensive, low-commtiment *project* spaces rather than generic work spaces. Many people walk from home to their co-working space.

Use as project extension space makes sense too, although companies like Google do that semi-permanently and in bulk, so they just 
lock up everything in an area (60-70% of Mountain View...).


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