That is a good point Robert. A very good and lightweight jacket and gloves makes it much more tolerable to be out in the cold. Heated jackets make it not only tolerable, but enjoyable. Such clothing should be subsidized to be easy to get for people with limited income. More on heated jackets here: https://challenges.cityoftomorrow.com/challenge/detroit/explore/better-cheaper-winter-jackets Warm regards, JS
Great to hear it Boratha! Me too. I think heated hoods will turn out to be a particularly welcome innovation. We'd have to cover our faces a lot less often in Winter with better heated hoods, which means we'd see each others' expressions a lot more, which is great for connecting emotionally with others in our communities.
Affordability is a great question. Entrepreneurs globally will have their own ideas for that. Whether we get a cheaper solution soon or later may depend on how much incentive we give to entrepreneurs, and whether they can get venture capital. The TAM (total addressable market) seems huge for this. In one scenario, someone with political influence might champion this idea, fund a market study, send a bunch of the best current heated jackets to Northern mayors and leaders to try for free (after getting their size) and get someone to offer a financing plan for them for those with limited income. Even if the version I described cost $200 each, that would not be a problem for many residents if low-interest financing were available. I'd love to see a City smart enough to pay the interest on a $10/month installment plan for purchasing these jackets, and advertise that on billboards around the city.
Their use would scale rapidly once people really know about their benefits, and costs would drop according to Wright's law for automated production lines (usually between 3-10% drop in cost with every doubling of production of any standardized product).
In another scenario, unfortunately a much more likely one, this idea will sit around for a number of years without a champion, until someone finally makes the version I outlined. That version seems so convenient its demand will very likely start to take off on its own, even without a lot of promotion. Most great ideas get done in time, but in my experience it often takes great strategy and execution to get good ideas done when first doable.
As for how these jackets would transform mobility in Winter in Detroit, I think that people would spend a lot more time outdoors, walking or riding. I'd bet the average person would spend 5X more time outdoors in Winter, enjoying themselves and each other a lot more while out in natural environments. I'd argue they are the best money you can spend on urban mobility in northern cities today, as they give the greatest personal freedom to get around outside, in Winter. Most every other Winter mobility solution is also subject to being comfortable in the cold, at least during transitions, so this solution helps most of the others work a little better or a lot better, like Pedelec Trikes.