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View Full Version : An Interesting future transport idea



kashi
2004-Nov-20, 03:39 AM
http://www.salon.com/mwt/the_big_idea/2004...i/index_np.html (http://www.salon.com/mwt/the_big_idea/2004/11/19/new_taxi/index_np.html)

Matthew
2004-Nov-20, 03:43 AM
The article doesn't exactly say how any such system would actually work, how would something like that work? You'd need a hundred lines to just skip past the stations you don't want stop at.

Josh
2004-Nov-20, 05:43 AM
A friend of mine is working on and advocating this very idea. It's pretty impressive. It'll take a sea change to get it up and running in any major city though. That being said, however, there is real possibility behind this. I just rang my friend, Tim, and asked him to send me something to post here. on the subject. Here's what he had to say ...

__________________________________________________ __________________

The concepts these transportation systems rest on is known as Personal Automated Public Transport, PAPT. It may at first seem to be an oxymoron to call a system both personal and public, but that is the fundamental reason why the proponents of these systems feel they will succeed in providing quiet, safe, environmentally friendly, non-stop travel from origin to destination for the same costs as conventional transport methods. Some have also referred to PAPT as Personal Rapid Transit, PRT, although this leaves out one of the most interesting aspects of the system, namely that it is entirely automated.
PAPT systems begin with the concept that less is more. Where cars clearly have an advantage over trains, busses, or trams is the fact that they can take a commuter directly from wherever they are to wherever they want to go. The only way any transportation system can offer this advantage is to utilize vehicles that are small enough that as few as one person can use them, while still being efficient. To this aim, Sky Web Express (by John Anderson, Minnesota USA) offers vehicles they call pods that can hold up to 3-4 people or 1-2 people with wheelchairs or bicycles. Similarly, Austrans (by Arthur Bishop, NSW, Australia) and his Austransholds 9-18 people, instead of the 50 or so people that can sit on a bus or hundreds in a train. Even holding as many as 9-18 people however defeats the purpose of PAPT, and the people at Austrans may find shrinking their pods may allow them to offer better service.
The second aspect PAPT systems offer that stands out as different from anything else besides a rollercoaster is that they are entirely automated. Not only does human error or intoxication no longer factor into accidents, but closer vehicle proximity is also achievable with computer guidance allowing higher density travel for less space. Thirdly PAPT systems run on electricity and thus are quieter, more energy efficient, environmentally friendlier, and also don’t require constant refilling. In both of these respects Austrans and Sky Web Express are evenly matched.
A fourth factor, offline stations allow a few benefits over conventional systems. But first it may be helpful to explain what we mean by an offline station. A station is a commuter platform much like a train platform next to a line where the pods may pull up to load or unload passengers or goods. By offline we mean that the main line of travel for pods is actually parallel to the station line. Essentially the idea is the same as a pit lane on a race track. Some vehicles can pull off of the main track while others can continue past without being interrupted. But while under normal conditions a driver rejoining the moving traffic may misjudge speed and cause an accident, PAPT systems are fully automated and can thus speed up or slow down vehicles on the main track to smoothly accommodate the merging pod.

kashi
2004-Nov-20, 07:16 AM
Originally posted by matthew@Nov 20 2004, 02:43 PM
The article doesn't exactly say how any such system would actually work, how would something like that work? You'd need a hundred lines to just skip past the stations you don't want stop at.
No mathew, you need 3 (one in the middle that doesn't stop). You move to the outer ones when you want to stop.

Spacemad
2004-Nov-20, 06:24 PM
Sounds like a very good idea - a sort of hybrid between public & personal transport! It might well turn out to be the transport system of the future. But the biggest problem would be building the immense network of rails - what big city is going to invest fabulous sums of money in such a system?

In areas of new construction it might be feasible but in the established districts of big cities I can´t see how they would built such a network. No, the only way forward is to build smaller, lighter, more efficient cars. I, myself, am not a driver but It´s undeniable that once you´ve owned a car you´re never going to give it up easily! Being dependent on public transport all your life is a bane, - at times at least! - so I would welcome a system such as described!

Josh
2004-Nov-20, 11:27 PM
Hey Spacemad,

I think the idea is not to have these systems to replace cars but to compliment them. From what I understand there are a number of ways of doing it - none of which involve people selling their cars for scrap. The first is like a monorail type system. I've been told that the monorail analogy doesn't do it justice because you immediately get an image of some large eyesore of a track above ground. This PAPT system, however, would be much less visually intrusive - unless a pod was actually flying past a particular point you generally wouldn't notice the track there. This (http://kinetic.seattle.wa.us/~prt-q.html#glook) page shows this idea (and pressing next and previous at the bottom of that page gives more information about the whole system). Another is to have these types of transport only in the city proper, the central business district, on ground level and no other cars around. park your cars at the gates sort of thing.

I think there's even a trial going on in Cardiff, Wales.

Spacemad
2004-Nov-21, 01:32 PM
Thanks for the link, Josh. It's a very interesting page.
The first is like a monorail type system. I've been told that the monorail analogy doesn't do it justice because you immediately get an image of some large eyesore of a track above ground. This PAPT system, however, would be much less visually intrusive - unless a pod was actually flying past a particular point you generally wouldn't notice the track there My first impression was, indeed, that of a monorail installation, but now that I've seen these pictures of the system it would indeed seem more viable as well as less visually ugly, (something that would be important in our present culture status). It also seems a good idea that all manner of ariel cables could be hidden below the platform.
Josh:

I think the idea is not to have these systems to replace cars but to compliment them.

I didn´t mean to give the impression that the present day use of cars should be done away with, rather, as you say, they should be complemented as I said:

Spacemad:

No, the only way forward is to build smaller, lighter, more efficient cars.

I think this system could have great applications in city centres after all - if they are built like the pictures show in the link you supplied! If that image could be sold to the city authorities & the general public then in some years time some of our mayor cities could take up the idea! (It might even prove to be more popular than the underground systems of trains currently in use in many great cities around the world. It would be vastly cheaper as well!!!! Something the city authorities will appreciate a great deal!!!

bossman20081
2004-Nov-21, 03:21 PM
It sounds like it would clear up city traffic as well. I only see it being successful if it stretched throughout an entire city and I dont think it would be too popular in rural areas.

I have a couple questions though, like would it be free, would we have to rent it or buy our own? If its completely public transportation, what about the dangers of being trapped in a small car with just yourself and another person, or could we get a private car? I know its all automatic, but would about large families that want to ride together?(my immediate family has 7 members and and thats not including my niece)

Other than that, it looks like it would be a good idea.