The Witkar was one of the first technology-based car sharing projects
The Witkar or White Cart was one of the first technology based car sharing projects in the world. It is the invention of Dutch social inventor and politician Luud Schimmelpennink, an industrial designer and at the time Amsterdam city Councillor. The project was opened by minister Irene Vorrink on 21 March 1974.
The core of the Witkar concept is that of people sharing small environmentally acceptable vehicles specially designed for urban use. It was seen by Schimmelpennink and his team as a way to wean people away form conventional car ownership and use, on the grounds that such vehicles have no place in densely settled cities.
The wtikar project took place in Amsterdam between 1974 and 1986 with providing daily service for more than 4000 registered users over those years. The project started with 250,000 US dollar fund raise for the first phase in 1974. This included the design and construction of the vehicles, the purchase of PDP-11 mini computer for the central control system, development of the control software, and construction of the first 35 cars and five stations. But due to the lack of government support , project failed to get develops beyond the limited demonstration phase.
These were specially designed electric vehicles. They had two seats, and offered little luxury. They were very easy to recognize. The vehicles were located around the city in pods. In Amsterdam 35 of these cars were available to hire from five stations in the city center. The original system was designed for fully automatic control, including direct debit of hirer’s accounts at the Amsterdam Saving Bank.
The idea was that any person could take a Witkar, and leave it at the Witkar station closest to their destination. The initiators thought that the flow of traffic to and from these stations would allow for an even spread of Witkarren.
The system actually operated, the problems were several: the vehicles needed long recharging times, so many were needed to have some on the road all the time. The biggest problem was that the flow of traffic was generally in one direction. As a result of this, some stations were always full, and others always empty. To correct this by moving Witkarren would have caused a lot of extra traffic.
Article ref : wikipedia