Freakonomics radio program features Lyft, a car-share company valued at $1 billion and inspired by UTSOA professor Dr. Robert Young's Green Cities class. (The segment about Dr. Young begins at 43:35.)
"DUBNER: The inspiration for Lyft – and a predecessor, called Zimride – came from a college lecture:
ZIMMER: So in 2006, I went to Cornell Hotel School, and in my senior year took a class in city planning in the architecture school. And the class was called “Green Cities,” and had this amazing professor.
DUBNER: The professor was Robert Young …
ZIMMER: His first lecture was the history of the world in 30 minutes.
DUBNER: The eighth lecture, as Zimmer recalls, was on the history of transportation.
ZIMMER: And he talked through the evolution from canals, to railroad, to highways. And I saw images of these networks, of these physical infrastructure systems, that he put up on the board. And I started thinking when he lays it out so simply as step one, step two, step three, there’s got to be a step four. And I started racking my brain thinking what will be the fourth infrastructure that is built? And at first, I thought it would have to be physical because everything else that I saw on the screen was physical infrastructure system. And then, you know, using the main metric that we think about in the hotel school being occupancy, I asked what is the occupancy of the seats within this system, within this network, and the professor said it is under 20 percent.
DUBNER: If you’re a hotel with 20 percent occupancy, you go out of business. If you’re driving a car with 20 percent occupancy – well, you’re just a typical American.