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The future of parking is here, and it’s folded.

Last updated on May 16, 2017 at 02:42 pm

MIT’s CityCar: Origami Cruisers? The future of parking is here, and it’s folded.

For years, urban planners have pondered the “first and last mile” conundrum: how do commuters who don’t live within walking distance of mass transit leave their cars at home and hop on a bus, train or ferry to get to work.

The idea of the CityCar, a folding micro electric vehicle (micro-EV), came from a 2003 design workshop hosted by MIT’s Media Lab and its Smart Cities Research Group. CityCars could be folded and stacked in a line, making it easy for them to be stored and shared in ways similar to Hubway’s bike sharing program.

In 2009, a group of Basque (Spain) automotive component suppliers approached the MIT Media Lab. Together they launched the prototype Hiriko, (Basque for “from the city,”) which was designed to be used mainly for car share programs.

Proponents say that by strategically placing CityCar/Hiriko electrical charging/parking stations throughout urban and suburban areas, the micro-cars might be the answer to many cities’ traffic, parking, and pollution problems. However because the cars are so lightweight (<1,100 lbs) accidents with heavier vehicles could be an issue.

The backstory:

Click on the BBC’s “Future” website to read up on CityCar/Hiriko’s dimensions, speed, how easy they are to parallel park and charge, and how they could solve our cities’ congestion problems (or not).

From Allston to Southie, parking is a hot-button issue in metro-Boston. Recent op-eds and articles include:

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowner’s insurance throughout the northeast.

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