Archive for September, 2011
The Segway Personal Transporter (PT) is arguably the most convenient way for most people to cover distances that are too far or take too long to walk. How far this distance is for you might depend on whether you are fully active or mobility impaired. How long is too long might depend on your schedule or how how much money you earn per hour (or how valuable you are to an organisation). This article looks at how a number of New Zealanders take their Segway PTs with them, with links to two of our Information Sheets about ramps, carriers and haulers and about taking PTs on public transport.
Geoff Parsonage lives in Auckland and lives with a very significant mobility impairment. His Segway PTs – he has an i180 for everyday, and an XT so he can enjoy the beach at Mission Bay – have changed his life. He has a TriLift hauler fitted to his tow-bar, which is an electrically powered lift that securely holds and raises the PT. Here is a photo of him driving from his home to the mall, where he can shop with ease.
The TriLift is a convenient way to take you Segway PT with you, and does not require any lifting. There are also manual tow-bar carriers similar to a bike rack but for a PT. Alternatively, the lightweight, folding Segway Ramps enable you to stow your PT inside your hatchback or SUV with minimal effort – the PT climbs or descends the ramps under its own power, so once again no lifting is required. When you’re done, simply fold the ramps and put them into the zippered bag, which is padded to prevent the ramps from making any rattling noises.
Find out more about these options on our Case Study Ramps Carriers 2011 information sheet.
Read about other New Zealanders who regularly take their Segway PTs with them – on trains, on ferries, and even on business trips or holidays to Australia in our Case Study Planes Trains Gardens.
If you are in business and have large distances to cover look out for an upcoming article in which we will focus on how putting yourself or your staff onto Segway PTs increases profits. Examples of New Zealand businesses we’ll be covering include:
1. Meter reading in the South Island
2. Fabric delivery from warehouse to retail shop in Christchurch
3. Mail delivery at Auckland Hospital and Canterbury University
4. Fetching items to fill orders in a medical supplies warehouse
In the meantime, read our previous two stories about Sals Pizza using Segway PTs for delivery at their three Auckland stores, and how Segway PTs are working hard during Rugby World Cup at Queens Wharf, Eden Park and North Harbour Stadium. Scan back through our News archives for many more examples of businesses using Segway PTs to boost profits.
A Segway Personal Transporter (PT) takes centre stage in an artist’s impression of the new “pop-up” Christchurch Mall set to open at the end of October 2011. This image has already appeared several times on national TV news programs and in other media as part of illustrating this initiative to get visitors to return to the Red Zone of the Christchurch CBD that was heavily damaged in the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.
Twenty seven converted shipping containers located on the site of demolished buildings in Cashel Mall are to provide temporary retail space for businesses.
Segway PTs have been a common site in central Christchurch since 2005, when Urban Wheels began selling and hiring PTs, running corporate and group activities, and offering highly rated Segway Tours through Hagley Park and the historic parts of town. International visitors and travel writers claim this tour to be one of the highlights of visiting the city. For example, Trip Advisor currently rates the excursion in Christchurch’s top 5 tours. Since the earthquakes, owner Graeme Gordon has reworked the route to exclude the closed-off part of the city.
Christchurch is particularly well suited to Segway PT use, and it is no surprise the city has the second-highest number of private Segway PT owners in New Zealand. Individuals are often seen commuting to work on PTs, or out exploring all that the Canterbury region offers.
That the artist’s impression of the “New Christchurch” prominently features a Segway PT is indicative of a city that has already embraced 21st century transportation solutions in its core philosophy. Perhaps it is no surprise that the Yike Bike and Martin Jet Pack were both invented here, rather than anywhere else in New Zealand (or around the world). Your can read about Segway NZ managing director Philip Bendall’s experience of riding/flying both of these inventions here (as well as walking in the Rex Bionics Exoskeleton).
The new city layout is destined to be more pedestrian-friendly than old, with more people/vehicle shared spaces, extended tram lines, and possibly light rail. The Segway PT is designed to use existing transport infrastructure (footpaths, bike lanes, roads) and excels at providing people with convenient primary transport for journeys of up to 5 to 8 km. It is also ideal for covering that “last mile.” That is, the Segway PT is a quick, efficient way to travel the last mile from home-to-rail station, and then from station-to-workplace. The time and effort involved transversing that last mile is a key factor in discouraging individuals from choosing public over private transport, and the Segway PT offers a solution that is attractive to a wide range of people.
There is also the opportunity for Christchurch to consider extended dedicated corridors for zero-emission vehicles (pedal bikes, electric bikes, Yike Bikes, stand-on in-line scooters, Segway PTs, etc) that have few crossings with lanes carrying motorbikes, cars, buses and trucks. Segway New Zealand has calculated that the transit time riding a PT along a dedicated corridor between the CBD and Canterbury University is about 10 minutes – considerably faster than light rail that stops multiple times along the same route. Moreover, the cost of moving say, 1,000 people per hour on a fleet of hireable Segway PTs, is about 1/100th of the cost to build and subsidise light rail. This same corridor could be used by semi-autonomous vehicles such as the General Motors EN-V that carries two people at a time, and is based on Segway Inc.’s Smart Motion self-balancing technologies. For more about the EN-V, start with our recent coverage here then round out your knowledge here and here. Small, lightweight personal transportation solutions such as the PT and EN-V are blurring the line between traditional concepts of private and public transport for journeys over relatively short distances.
UPDATE 3 October 2011: According to the Christchurch i-Site website, this project – now named Re:Start – is on schedule to open at the end of this month. Find the latest details here about the many stores opening “container shops.”
Michael Kuhn identified the Segway Patroller as the only practical solution to his need to cover dozens of kilometres every night there was a big game at these stadiums.
He was already very familiar with the operation of Segway PTs, having enjoyed tourist activities on them a Taupo and Rotorua. Segway New Zealand provided additional rider training to ensure Michael was familiar with all the features of the x2 Patroller model, which has been branded for the event and fitted with a headlight.
Down at ‘Party Central’ on Queens Wharf the Auckland Arts Festival are utilising two Segway i2 models to move staff and equipment around the vast space that is the epicentre of the city’s activities. Festival staff were already familiar with Segway PTs, having hired them on many previous occasions for other large events they’ve organised.
Read our recent story about rigging business UniRig using a pair of Segway PTs at Eden Park for productivity throughout the Rugby World Cup. This is an excellent example of how a small business did the sums and quickly worked out they could lift profits by putting staff onto Segway PTs to move more efficiently around a worksite.
The Segway PT is not only a proven productivity tool, it is an effective solution for increased public safety at events. Ask us for copies of our Case Studies about NZ deployments these and many other applications.
In just a few days the eyes of the sporting world will turn to Auckland, New Zealand, for the opening of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. And right now Segway Personal Tranaporters (PTs) are being deployed to help organisers be ready in time.
Uni Rig Ltd is responsible to erecting the structures that performers will use during the opening ceremony at Eden Park, and they chose Segway PTs to provide their staff with the ability to get more done in a day. They have hired PTs to boost staff productivity at many previous events. Time is money and the distance around a stadium is vast. Profits are lost during the time it takes to walk from A-to-B. Only the Segway PT offers a cost-effective, practical solution in work environments like this. Uni Rig hired two PTs from Segway NZ for 3 weeks leading up to the games, then as the full extent of the on-the-ground usefulness of these machines became apparent they extended the hire until the end of the event.
Look out for our next update on who else is using Segway PTs during Rugby World Cup 2011.
Dick Cheney, former Vice President of the United States of America, suffered an Achillies tendon injury in 2002. This condition can take up to a year to heal, during which time the patient has greatly reduced mobility.
In late 2002 Cheney became one of the first people in the world to adopt a Segway PT as a mobility device. We first reported on this here, quoting a BBC article lamenting the relatively low take-up of Segway PTs in UK compared to the US – and how the quality of life of individuals, business productivity and public safety were missing out. Cheney’s story was also reported in TIME Magazine.
Cheney used a Segway PT extensively during his long injury period, to move about this office and around the White House doing his job as the second most powerful person in the world at the time. The ABC News article “The Feud, Dick Cheney’s Humor, and Colin Powell on a Segway in the West Wing” reports of an instance where Colin Powell “borrowed” Cheney’s PT.
With the Segway PT delivering the kind of personal productivity and capability that old-fashioned 20th century mobility devices cannot offer, it is no surprise that US states defined the Segway PT as an Electric Personal-Assistive Mobility Device in enabling legislation.
Here in New Zealand the Segway PT has become an ever-increasingly-popular solution for individuals who require mobility assistance. Indeed, our very first customer in 2003 was mobility impaired, and this helped us to fully realise the incredible utility of the Segway PT (and it also underlined how cleverly it had been designed – useful to just about everyone – whether disabled or not – because the Segway PT incorporates the principle of Universal Design). Today, this sector represents half of all sales in this country. As an example of the range of conditions for which the Segway PT improves quality of life, today an individual with Motor Neuron Disease purchased a Segway PT.
New Zealand has one of the higher (if not the highest) per capita ownership of mobility scooters in the world, and also the 3rd highest per capita ownership of Segway PTs (excluding North America). And this is just another great example of how Kiwis are great at spotting a fantastic new technical solution to a problem – then adopting it quickly and widely to obtain the benefits. Good on ‘ya, mate!