Researcher: James Morris
Research Area: Mobility
SafeRide is a combination of ideas from Orbitz, 511.org, Google/Mapquest maps, Facebook/MySpace, eBay, Zipcar and GoLoco, that exploits GPS and cell phones as well as the web. It is the central nervous system of the entire surface transportation system for the San Francisco Bay Area. It lives on the web and communicates to public transit services, vehicle-based radios, personal computers and cell phones. it can be a profit-making service that helps the environment, improves the quality of lives and supports community.
The concept is to overcome American's seeming awkwardness or dislike of communal driving, such as carpooling. SafeRide offers an alternative by creating a vetted registry of all participants. Cell phones would facilitate the rendezvous by keeping parties aware of each other's location, possibly signaling when line of sight is established. Participants, upon meeting, authenticate each other using Bluetooth cell phones equipped with secure, privacy-sensitive software. The phones record the proximity of participants for the purposes of billing and complaint documentation. Ideally, the cell phones would be equipped with a button for a silent 911 call, requiring no voice assistance, that could be activated while the phone is in a purse or pocket. SafeRide would utilize a reputation system, similar to that on eBay, that drivers and riders can report to without fear of reprisals. The goal of this project is to study users attitudes about security and to design a service mode that responds to those needs.