Posted by Ling

Earlier this year, our sister initiative BetterCities came up with a concept and design to improve urban travel. Their idea: the ReCar, a small and environmentally friendly car that can be hired from carports throughout the city. The concept was nominated for a Living Labs 2012 Award, and it is now featured in the British Council’s Everything Forever Now exhibition of sustainable design at Publika.

So what’s the story behind this futuristic, friendly little car? Well, it was inspired by KL’s very own terrible traffic and parking congestion. As the innovators behind ReCar point out, a typical office worker drives into the city in the morning and leaves the city for home around sundown. Even in the most traditional work cycle that’s an 8 hour stretch of her car sitting idle waiting for the return trip.

Multiply one car by every office worker in the city and you have thousands of empty cars in parking spaces, which creates massive dead spaces within cities. On top of that, people find their mobility in the city centre restricted because they don’t want to pay extra parking charges. It’s an inefficient use of both time and space, not to mention an unnecessary contributor to carbon emissions because of the long commutes.

The ReCar is an alternative model that allows people to move freely within a city, save time on traffic and save money on parking. Commuters would use public transport like buses and trains to get to the city. They would then able to hire a ReCar at various points throughout the city for intra city commute, leaving their ReCars at the carport closest to their destination. These cars would run on natural gas.

Design by Wai Lam Wong

According to the innovators behind ReCar, this model could lead benefits in the economy, environment and in the community. Importantly, it would encourage more interactivity in the city, and could allow public spaces to be reclaimed from vast, idle car parks. Find out more about the possibilities of the ReCar by watching the video below, or checking out the Everything Forever Now exhibition at Publika, which runs until 13 September.