Electronic Thumb !

Think "The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" !

Think Waze (awesome app)

Another green idea.

Hitch hiking - The Good
1) Cheap, Resource efficient way to get places. Spare car seats are used which would otherwise get wasted.
2) Social. Yes human contact , come out of the isolation of your car and meet other living beings.

Hitch hiking - The Bad
1) Time inefficient. It can take a long time to find someone willing to offer a lift to a hitcher.
2) Inaccurate the match between the hitchers and drivers destination often has to rely on luck. A driver often does not know where a hitcher wants to go unless he stops.
3) A Driver often needs to make split second decisions on whether to stop for someone or not since you could be travelling at high speed.
4) Uneven benifits from the relationship. The driver is giving and the hitcher is receiving. This is an act of goodwill, which is great for good people, but sometimes the driver would like his cost to be shared.

Hitch Hiking the Ugly
1) There is a perception that it is dangerous,  for the driver and/or the rider. Although there have been instances of foul play by one of the parties, the reality of the danger is far smaller than the perception (find the Freakonomics podcast on this)

The Solution
A smartphone app - The Electronic Thumb

How ?
Try use Waze, the GPS collaberative smartphone App. This application is amied at traffic avoidence and route optimisation and also warning others of hazards en route.

A driver will have the app running and will have his route to his distination on the system.

The hitcher puts in his destination and the system automatically  knows both their and the drivers locations. It alerts willing drivers of hitchers on their route whose destination matches.

The driver is given advance notice 1 km , the destination will always match or at least partially match.

The driver stops and the hitcher is now alerted to the existence of a willing lift. Once the hitcher gets into the car. The system registers a match. Now there is a record of the matchup and noone can kill or kidnap the other witout some sort of evidence. Each parties journey is also individaully tracked by the system so they can be located in emergencies.

What have we solved ?

1) The Hitcher should be able to find someone quickly. Time efficient
2) The lift and will always be in the right direction. Accurate.
3) A driver will be notified of ahead with an audio signal   that there are matching hitchers. No split Second decisions
4) Greatly diminished the safety issues. A record of both parties is on the system. Frequent users could be given ratings and comments like on ebay

5)Financial  incentives could possibly be offered to the lift giver by the hitcher. You see this in sometimes where hitchers wave a not of cash in order to encourage drivers to stop

Other points
Maybe it would be possible to get some sort of insurance coverage for the hitcher. This could have accident and or kidnaping cover.
Ideally this would be integrated into Waze or a similar App. This would make it smalller, make it easier to build up a critical mass of users.

If you have not read  "The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy"  do so


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