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Can Segways Become Part of Mass Transit?

Techstination feature for Friday, May 17, 2002

Can the Segway become the next form of mass transit? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. In the nearly six months since inventor Dean Kamen unveiled the Segway HT... short for human transporter... .they have started to become more visible. Police and Postal Service trials have put them on some city sidewalks... and Richard Dreyfus rode one around in his network TV show not long ago. And behind the scenes Kamen has been making visits to Washington and New York... trying to convince lawmakers and transportation officials not to think of the electric powered devices... as scooters... but as...

"Mass transit to the individual. But that's a really big leap in thinking."

In an interview in his Manchester, New Hampshire headquarters, Kamen told us his vision is that the Segway HTs could become a more flexible kind of people mover system...

"When people are in that last mile, when you literally have a few million people in these downtowns, what if we could give them a factor of two or three in speed and range and productivity."

There could be, he says, transit system pick up and drop off points for Segways... with special pathways for riders. Could it happen? Kamen says there was enthusiasm for the idea among New York transit officials involved in re-building plans for lower Manhattan...

"Instead of moving the mountain to Mohammed, let the individual people use a Human Transporter to glide along anywhere they want to go, at any time they want to go there, to any location they want in a downtown and you've essentially built a virtual moving sidewalk."

That's where the Segway stands, after six months. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.