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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Anonymous 3 years, 4 months ago.
May 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm #1993
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Please be polite and civil and do not post content that violates a copyright.September 11, 2014 at 1:25 am #2199
Why don’t we stop talking about solving the transportation problem and take positive action as an interested group? When I developed my ‘solution’ and began looking on the internet for a way to get it looked at, I found that there are many people and companies doing the same thing. There have been meetings, conferences and papers written about the problem for many years but still no one complete solution.
The subject of solving the (only 1?) transportation problem worldwide has been studied, lectured about, proposed and attempted sense the 1950s. We seem to be no closer to a solution now than then. There have been and still are many proposals put forward. Many small companies have tried to build their favorite proposal and sell it but most are gone. The few that remain are at best building airport transports or amusement park ‘rides’.
This can and will go on forever unless a way is developed to determine what the BEST answer or answers are. With this one solution there can then be developed ‘standards’ for the companies to follow. Instead of 20 different guideway designs there would be one, instead of 10 different drive systems there would be one etc. If a city wanted to install a system they would know that should the company that they were working with went out of business there would be other sources for equipment and support. Without this assurance no government entity would start such a project. In addition this would provide the competitive bidding that most government agencies demand.
I worked in the Integrated Circuit (IC) fabrication industry for years. Their equipment is very complex, expensive to design and build and there are many companies building the equipment.
I always wondered how all of those varied companies were able to build equipment that would all handle the same size of silicon wafer. This thin sliver of very pure silicon (glass) can be made any size that the maker wants or that the customer wants. But when I was first involved in the industry the wafers were all 2” in diameter and all of the various manufacturers of the equipment made their equipment work with 2” wafers. Then they went to 3”, then 4”, then 6”, and when I left the industry they were going to 8” wafers. However during that time all of the equipment worked with the current size. I never saw a machine designed for 2 ½” wafers.
How is this possible? Imagine the ciaos if one customer was using 1 ¾” wafers and another one using 2 ¼” and another using 3 ¾” wafers and each manufacturer of equipment had to make a different design for each size to have some market share.
Here is where SEMATECH came to be. The equipment manufacturers got together to establish ‘standards’ for the industry. They did not discuss pricing or things involved in being competitive, as that is illegal. However by setting standards they were all able to give the industry excellent equipment to produce ICs. The industry has thrived and SEMATECH is still going to continue to help the industry grow.
Jim Longbottom, CEETI, Texas A&M University wrote in 2007
“I do not believe an individual entrepreneur is going to get his system implemented to any significant degree unless the transition to a new architecture is institutionalized. A networked system change requires mutually dependent players to move together. Private rationality rather than collective good determines market outcome and unless the interdependent players have a common belief in “the future vision” they will individually make decisions that incrementally move the status quo rather than shift the equilibrium of the system to a new architecture.
The question then becomes how we can encourage a collaborative shift to a new architecture. There are examples such as Sematech, which works on semiconductor fab technology. In that consortium you have some companies that are arch-competitors – TI, Intel, Motorola, AMD, …. They have agreed on what is competitive and what is pre-competitive and they have a sense of where their real market opportunities lie. They collaborate on the pre-competitive definition of next architecture for fabs. Another example is the SNP consortium for defining the human genome. Pharmaceutical companies contributed their proprietary R&D efforts to the collective because they recognized that their competitive arena was in developing drugs using the genome info and they could get to the market potential faster by working together. I absolutely believe the market must make the decisions and capitalists will need to benefit from their investments but if there is not collaboration, then patents will be long expired before anyone makes any money.
This will need to be institutionalized – standards developed, certification processes in place, transportation planning tools developed to incorporate the new mode, education/training in place for implementation and maintenance of new vehicles and infrastructure, etc.
Investment in this consortium could be equity investment with a return to be derived from licensing fees per mile of infrastructure built. Competition would still rule in the contracting for any segment built. Vehicles to access the system could be sourced from any manufacturer certified as compatible with the published standard interface.”
December 17, 2000
But we must come up with a standard national guideway design. If we end up having CyberTran operating in New York, RUF in Denmark, Biway and ULTra in England, Autoshuttle in Germany, SwedeTrack in Sweden, Flexitrain in New Zealand, InTranSys in the Southwest, MegaRail in Texas, Monomoble in Ohio, plus Higherway, Autobus, Segway, Carbus, Autran, Autotrans, NAP, and a few others, we will have chaos. We don’t want problems like we had with different railroad gages, or both AC and DC power systems. A nonstandard guideway mix would be much worse than having both PCs and Macs, different power voltages and frequencies in different countries, driving on different sides of the road, or using both metric and English weights and measures.
I don’t wish any of my dualmode colleagues bad luck, but in my mind there should eventually be only one worldwide standard multi-use guideway system.
“It takes only one properly communicated vision to motivate and inspire individuals to become a unified team who together strive to reach their common goal.” Mark S. Buehrer, P.E
Am I that person? Possibly, if many others will help me!
With many individuals and small companies trying to get something done is like having many wagons being pulled in many directions. None of them are getting very far. My proposal is for as many as possible of those individuals and companies getting together and looking for a common proposal. This would be more like a wagon with many pulling it and all pulling in the same direction.
The Third Generation Roadway
By Roger Davidheiser
“A road map is needed.
A road map will define goals, define key milestones in R & D, set time lines, and set expectations. Goals include definition of what the Roadway is, where it will go, how it will be used. A road map will keep all participants focused as “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” impede the ultimate goals.
The anticipated expenditure within the U.S. for a Roadway servicing the nations major metropolitan areas and the private cars to run on it is $2.2 trillion. (ED – That is $2,200 Billion or $2,200,000 Million) To expend 5 to 10% of that amount for development is a staggering $110 to $220 billion. Now, although this expenditure is assumed to include all phases of developments including critical area demonstrations, there could be $220 billion spent before a mature, glistening system exists for all to see. And most people require a mature, glistening system to believe something is real. And no government or collection of governments and industry can be expected to expend that amount on a domestic project in order to initiate it. So the question becomes how to cobble together disparate sources of effort without eviscerating the goal. Without a road map during the cobbling process, the reasons for success or failure of steps will not be fully understood. Lost in “the fog of war,” the reasons will seem to be random. Maybe PRT people movers and guideways at airports will demonstrate key elements. Maybe they won’t. (ED – So far they have not!) Maybe the automobile industry will develop a suitable Rail Car; maybe it won’t.
Perhaps developing a road map might be analogous to aiding “Blind men examining the elephant”. That is to say, give enough intelligent groups a chance to feel, a facility to analyze impressions, and the characteristics of an elephant, or an attractive Roadway system, will be uncovered. Give one of these groups tools, an optical spectrograph perhaps, and they will know the elephant’s color. The project itself needs a developmental road map and a consistent approach, because, clearly, “1,000 monkeys pounding on a typewriter” is not acceptable.”
I can not say it any better than that!
How can this ‘industry’ benefit from this idea? Forming a consortium consisting of people and companies interested in finding a solution to the problem. Without asking for proprietary information the participants would first identify the problem. With all of the studies and articles I do not feel that anybody has clearly identified what the problem or problems are. When the problem was clearly defined they would look at all of the existing ideas and solicit others to try to find the best solution for the problem that they have identified.
A consortium is an association of two or more individuals, companies, organizations or governments (or any combination of these entities) with the objective of participating in a common activity or pooling their resources for achieving a common goal.
At this point I think that there are two ways that this could go.
First would be that this consortium would publish its findings with proposed standards to achieve building their chosen solution. The consortium could then disband or continue to develop standards for the industry.
Each company that would build to satisfy the standards would be on their own in getting funding to build test facilities so governments would accept their product and finding the funds to expand to build their version of the solution. The good part would be that each companies’ product would be compatible with others so if they built close to each other their equipment would work on the other companies system.
Second the consortium could incorporate into an independent corporation to design and build the proposed solution. The actual construction would be done through contracts with outside companies, using designs developed by this corporation. This would be a ‘for profit’ company and the people who shared in identifying the problem, identifying the solution and designing the final production would share in the profits.
With the combined efforts of interested persons, firms and manufacturing companies, a network could be developed that would have the power to get the attention and support of city, state and national governments. They would work together to gain support through grants and loans to build one test facility (instead of many) and with many manufacturing facilities available working together, each perhaps building one part of the system, begin building and installing systems.
With a focus on the one solution there is a good chance that there will actually be a world wide solution. That would be the result of having people from all interests involved in identifying the problem and the solution.
This is not a simple thing to do. Each individual and each company has their idea of ‘the solution’ and they do not want to share with others. Overcoming giant egos will be the first problem to overcome. With out many small companies and people combining to fight the large oil companies and transportation companies the result is more bankrupt companies and no real progress. Yes there are small installations at airports and amusement parks but I am talking about a design that will be accepted worldwide! This can only happen when smart people combine their ideas (compromise) and develop a solution that they can all support. This is consensus, which I learned to use at Hewlett-Packard Co. It takes longer than just saying ‘do it my way!’ as companies now are doing. With consensus however the result is that everybody has had a part in developing the solution so they will support it. Again I say that this will not be easy to do. Some companies have their own ‘solution’ that they have developed and want to sell everywhere and they may continue to do so. Individuals will have to bend and accept that the ‘final’ solution will not be theirs but may contain some of their ideas.
If such a ‘solution’ is developed and sold to cities, states and countries there will be an enormous need for companies to manufacture all of the things needed. So the small company that now has a few miles of their system in place will find itself manufacturing thousands of items for the new system. OK they might still push their small-scale system for airports and amusement parks but if this solution is in fact ‘the solution’ there will no longer be a demand for isolated individual systems. If a company does not participate or ‘drops out’ and sticks with their system and the consortium does in fact develop a solution, that is accepted for worldwide use, they may just go out of business entirely. Does this sound like ‘join or die?’ Well it was not ment to be but that might be the result.
So how do we start? I propose that each interested entity, be it an individual or a company, agree to send a representative to an ‘exploratory’ meeting to look into forming the consortium. How much each entity would participate in creating the solution (EG – hardware, soft wear and manpower) and the possible resulting profits would be considered at a later meeting, if there is one.
Here is how his might work:
Each ‘member assigned a number. This number will be on all correspondences with me or whomever the group elects to be the ‘facilitator’.
Each member is asked to state what he or she thinks is a problem, no ‘solutions’ only ‘problems’. These will be listed on the board. Only one ‘problem’ from each member at each go-round.
When everybody has entered their idea of what is a problem there will be discussion to narrow down the problem list to those that fit into the transportation problem area.
Note: It may take many meetings to settle on this list. If members decide to continue the process additional meetings will be scheduled. I suggest one two-day meeting every month.
After the meeting the facilitator will email each member a copy of the ‘problem’ list.
Each member is asked to propose a solution to each problem. For company representatives they should insure that their ‘solution’ does not contain any proprietary information from their company.
The problem number should connect the solutions to the problem.
All ‘solutions’ should be emailed to the facilitator with only their member number and the date at the top. EG. 5-22-14 324. This number will allow the information to be consolidated for all to see but the identity of the submitter will be unknown to all but the facilitator.
The facilitator will compile all of the ‘solutions under each problem. This list will be emailed to all members.
Each member should take the list and in front of each ‘solution’ indicate ‘like’ or ‘not’ and send this to the facilitator.
The facilitator will compile a list and tally the ‘likes’ and ‘nots’. Those solutions with over a 50% ‘like’ vote will be listed. This list will be emailed to all members.
If the list has many ‘problems’ additional meetings should be scheduled until the membership is satisfied that ‘the’ problem or problems have been clearly identified.
Meeting after the meeting where members are satisfied that they all agree on the problem or problems that they want to try to solve.
Discussions begin on ‘solutions to ‘the’ problem. If more than one problem is identified then the members will vote on which problem they want to work on first.
Each member will be asked to suggest a solution to the selected problem.
The same process as was used to identify the problem or problems will be used.
When all members reach agreement on a solution to the problem or problems their initial work is done.
At this point I feel that this process could go one of three ways.
1. A copy of the results of the process would be sent to each member to do with whatever they want to do and the group disbanded.
2. The group could decide to form a formal consortium with a goal of setting standards for the solution or solutions that were identified. These standards and the problem description would be made available to the public. The group could continue to operate if there seemed to be a need for continuing specification development.
3. The group forms a corporation with the goal to design the hardware and software for the identified solution or solutions, identify sources of funding to build first a small test facility, next build a full scale demonstration system and eventually build systems for customers. Subcontractors will do all of the actual building. Members companies would be given priority. This would be a for-profit corporation with the members being the stockholders and receive their share of the profits.
Below is a suggestion of how a corporation, consisting of members with a common interest, might (I am not a lawyer) be composed. Come to this meeting and add your ‘2 cents’ worth. Add your thoughts as to how such a group should be formed. Let’s find a solution we can all support and then let’s build it!
This association is formed to identify problems and find solutions to the national and world wide problem of moving people within larger cities, moving autos between cities safely while reducing usage of petroleum products and reducing pollution of the air, soil and water by applying the latest technology available.
The association will be incorporated as;
Transportation Solutions Inc.
The association is made up of one representative from each company involved in finding a solution, professional firms and individuals who have knowledge that will help in finding a solution and individuals who want to help find a solution. Membership will be open to any person or company up to the point that a solution or solutions have been identified. After that time members may withdraw but new members will only be allowed with a 75% yes vote of members who vote. Each entity, company, professional or individual will have one vote in deciding corporate maters. Members will act as the board of directors and may appoint members or others to carry out the day to day operations. All motions must receive a 75% yes of those who vote to be passed. The board of directors will receive no compensation for their service. The membership list will be public.
The corporation will issue shares. Initial distribution of shares will be;
Each 100+ employee company or professional firm will receive 500 shares. Each will pay an annual donation of $1000.
Each 50 – 100 employee company or professional firm will receive 300 shares. Each will pay an annual donation of $600.
Companies or professional firms with less than 50 employees will receive 100 shares. Each will pay an annual donation of $200.
Each professional person will receive 50 shares. Each will pay an annual donation of $100.
Each individual will receive 10 shares. Each will pay an annual donation of $20.
* The number of employees will only include those directly involved in working on a solution to the transportation problem.
Members may have others with them at meetings but each entity has only one vote. Companies and firms should select one person as their voting representative who will attend all meetings and do the voting for the company. Others may attend meetings and participate in discussions but may not vote.
When the TSI receives profits from its operations the profits will be divided equally among the shares on the last day of February of each year. The corporation will have its fiscal year end on January 15 of each year. An amount determined by the board will be held back to cover expenses for the following year.
1 Statement of objectives
The objective of TSI is to;
Identify a solution or solutions to the transportation problem.
Generate proposals to accomplish the efficient movement of people within cities and of autos between cities by applying the latest technologies.
To identify ways to reduce the usage of petroleum products and reducing pollution.
To improve safety to the driving public and people moving within cities.
2 Statement of work
The initial responsibility of the members will be to generate a detailed statement of the problem or problems to be solved. This statement must be detailed in the specifics of the problem to be solved. It will include what would constitute having solved the problem.
Estimated time – 6 months.
Once the problem or problems to be solved are identified, the members will develop a detailed proposal for solving the problem or problems.
Estimated time – 1 year.
After a solution has been developed new members will only be admitted with a 75% yes vote of the existing members who vote. The new member must pay dues equal to what other similar member types have paid up to the date that the new member joins the corporation. When the dues are paid the new member will receive the shares that are allotted to his/her member type.
Committees should be formed to deal with the many aspects of the problem(s). Possible committees are:
Identifying local and national laws and codes that will guide and control the final solution. There may have to be slightly different solutions for each controlling governments codes.
Develop a plan for the construction of test facilities to test and demonstrate the solution to the problem. If there is more than one problem and solution developed then test and demonstration facilities for each solution may be required.
Identify methods for developing the funds for the test facilities and later for construction of the solutions.
Identify the legal codes that must be followed in developing the solution and implementing the solutions.
Identify possible locations for implementing the solution. E.G Cities, states or countries and begin the process of securing permission and support for installation.
Identify specific locations to install the solution within the locations identified. E.G. Interstate right-of ways, railroad right of ways, city streets and subway or elevated rights of way.
Solution implementation. Each solution will be broken down into sections and have a subcommittee assigned to develop a plan for implementation of that section. Examples of the sections might be a committee to design and build the track or guideway required another might be to design and build stations and another might be to design and build or specify requirements for vehicles that will be on the system. Subcommittees may include:
Identify the design of each section of the solution.
Develop a detailed list of the required material and labor required for implementing each section of the solution.
Develop estimates of costs for each section.
Generate an estimated time frame for completion of each section of the project.
Create detailed drawings of the construction required for each solution.
Create detailed drawings and specifications for the electrical and computer systems required for each solution.
Create contracts and agreements with suppliers for the construction of the sections. Member companies will be given priority.
Using an accounting firm, monitor and control all financial matters. Funds received, spent and profits distributed.
3. General Provisions
Publication of any information generated by TSI must be approved by a yes vote of 75% of the members who vote.
All information discussed and developed by TSI is confidential and may not be divulged outside of members and guests except for publications that are approved.
3.3 Intellectual property
All intellectual property developed within TSI will belong to the corporation. Any IP brought to the collaboration will belong to the person bringing it and will be used only with an agreement with the owner.
Any member may leave TSI at any time. They must surrender their shares. There will be no compensation for the surrendered shares. Shares have no monetary value and are only used to determine distribution of profits from TSI operations.
How will the various phases of the project be funded?
The corporation will solicit funding in the form of grants, donations and loans. Repayment of all loans will be completed before any funds are distributed to shareholders.
How will profits from the projects be distributed? All profits will be distributed equally to each share.
Note: All members will be contacted with information concerning any issues that are brought before the board for a vote, if they are not at the meeting. They will have 24 hrs to reply with their vote. If no reply is received within 24 hrs their vote will not be counted. Motions will pass with a 75% yes vote of the members who vote.
Do I think that the final agreement will be exactly what I am proposing? No! It is just my ‘stick-in-the-ground’. Every member will have their chance to add their ideas. Every member will have a chance to ‘move the stick’ to where he or she thinks it should be. Eventually all members will accept the ‘stick’ in one place and a solution will have been developed. Easy huh? Well it will take many meetings and discussions to arrive at the final decision and this is just the makeup of the corporation. Then we move onto the more difficult chore of identifying the problem. This might take 6 months or 2 years or never.
If you think that this is worth a try please send me a letter designating the representatives name and contact information. If I receive more than 10 replies I will begin the process of finding a date for the first meeting where every representative can attend. If less than 10 reply I will forget this idea. Next? Anybody else have a suggestion?
1913 Rising Hill Dr.
Norman, OK. 73071
email@example.comSeptember 11, 2014 at 1:26 am #2200
When this was submitted none of the drawings came through. If you want a copy with drawings contact me @
firstname.lastname@example.org Or 336-541-4149 Lee Spprecker
SOLUTION TO TRAFFIC CONGESTION 3
MY PROPOSALS – THE PALLETWAY AND THE PODWAY 3
THE PALLETWAY 4
A NEW INTERSTATE TRANSPORT ‘SYSTEM’ 4
The Problem 5
What is ‘the answer’? 8
How do we make this possible? 9
What is the ‘secret’ 12
Paying for the Palletway 13
Getting ‘on’ the Palletway 16
Another large advantage 16
Compare to bus, train or air travel 17
Details of construction 17
‘Locking’ cars to the Pallet 20
Switching Lanes 23
The Magnetic Pallet Switch 26
Changing from one interstate to another 26
Some additional items 28
Climate Control & Power 28
PVTU breakdown 30
Fire or other such emergencies 30
Bad Weather Concerns 31
Other problems 31
Possible commercial application. 32
What is the ‘downside? 32
What are some of the benefits? 33
A NEW ‘SYSTEM’ FOR COMMUTER AND CITY TRAVEL. 34
THE PODWAY 34
Compare to bus transport system 35
Compare to commuter auto travel 36
Is it ‘cost effective? 37
What does the PODway look like? 37
The Roundabout 41
Local Interchanges 45
Handling a POD breakdown 45
Medical emergency on board 47
Dealing with vandalism on the POD 47
What are some ‘down-sides’? 47
What are some ‘up-sides’? 48
Solution to traffic congestion
My proposals – the Palletway and the PODway
This proposal is actually three proposals. One proposal is a system to move autos, with passengers, from city to city at 150 mph or faster. This system I call the Palletway. The second and third solutions I call the PODway. The second proposal would have people from outside a city drive to a station and park their car. Here they board a 2 or 4 passenger POD, which it takes them to their selected destination, which would be within 0 to 4 blocks from their final destination. The third proposal is similar to the second one but would be a system within cities to move people within the city. As with the first proposal the trips are point to point with no stops or slowdowns. The two basic Items that make both proposals work are:
1. The use of ‘Long Stator Linear Synchronous (LSLS) motor’ technology for the ‘drive’ system of both systems.
2. The application of a childs’ toy to make a simple and extremely safe guidance system – the ‘slot car’.
My interstate or Palletway proposal does not require everybody to go out and buy an expensive ‘special’ car to use. When the first ‘station to station’ section of the interstate system is completed existing autos that qualify can begin using it. It does not require expensive complex tracks and is NOT mag-lev, which works but is not cost effective. Autos drive onto a ‘Pallet’ which is a completely passive (meaning that it does not have any mechanical drive system) platform which will transport the auto to the selected destination at 150 mph or faster in complete safety.
The ‘City’ or PODway system transports people in 2 or 4 passenger PODs in complete safety and comfort to their selected destination, which will be with 0 to 3 blocks of their final destination. The PODway takes autos off of the city streets while providing employees quick access to their workplace and back to their car in the suburbs or their home within the city. Shoppers are brought to where they want to shop and, with a carrier for their packages, back to their car in the suburbs or for city dwellers to a station close to home.
A new interstate transport ‘system’
I propose a new ‘Interstate’ auto transport (pallet) system to supplement the existing system. If fully implemented a personal auto, not a ‘special’ auto, could travel from New York City to Los Angeles non-stop at 150 mph or faster. If desired the passengers could ask to stop along the way at any exit and resume their trip when ready. It would use no gas and safety would be extremely high. The Palletway would be electrically operated using Long Stator Linear Synchronous motor propulsion to move the vehicles. The system would be computer controlled and the Long Stator Linear Synchronous motor propulsion would make collisions virtually non-existent (nothing is completely impossible, the Titanic sank on its first voyage). The pallets would be ‘locked’ to the track and the auto would be ‘locked’ to the pallet. Charges to use the ‘system’ would cover the costs to build and operate it. The savings to the driver would include gasoline, stress, frustration, wear and tear on the vehicle and time. Once a vehicle entered the Palletway the driver is just a passenger and the computer does the driving. The ‘old’ interstate system would be the domain of the trucks, busses and local travelers. The system would restrict travelers to trips of more than say 20 or 30 miles to prevent it being used by commuters or local traffic. The reduction of auto traffic on the ‘old’ interstate would significantly reduce accidents and deaths (what is the cost of a life?).
The transportation of people in the USA is a mess. We had an excellent system of railroads that connected almost every city in the country to every other city. We let that system slowly deteriorate so now it only carries freight and is not too good at that. With the advancement of air travel and cheap fuel we allowed ourselves to become dependent upon a vastly inefficient method of moving people at a heavy taxpayer cost, in subsidies to the airlines, so wealthy people could travel in the air.
To travel by air now in the ‘terrorized USA’ we must undergo insulting and expensive inspections of our baggage and person. When you do get into the ‘tube’ you are stuck in a seat constructed for a 5’ tall 120lb. person. You are treated like cattle. You must arrive at least one hr. early so you can suffer the indignity of stripping to show that you do not have a bomb or sharp object that would allow you to take over the aircraft. This is all the sadder when you consider that the 9/11 disaster would not have been successful if our government and airlines had taken the advice of experts who said that aircraft cockpit doors should have been bullet proof and locked from departure to landing. You cannot take over an airliner if you cannot get into the cockpit!!! You might kill passengers and other airline personnel but you cannot turn the aircraft into a flying bomb if you cannot take over the cockpit and you will be captured or killed when you land.
The biggest problem with the present system is that it is not a system at all. Trains, busses and airports are not linked so a person can use one to get to the other. If you want to go to the airport you cannot get there on a bus you must drive and park your car or get a cab or have someone drop you off. Of course busses do not cover everywhere, only in the metro area and not even very well there.
A typical trip to another town requires you to load your luggage and have someone drive you to the airport or drive your car and pay to park it while you are gone. When you arrive at the airport, if you drive, you unload your baggage and drag it to the terminal from the unconditioned parking area. You wait in line to check your baggage and get your boarding pass. Next is the trip through the inspection area. You had to get to the airport at least one hour before your flight to insure that you have time to get everything done. Now you wait to be herded onto the plane and sit in the small area allotted to you. Now you wait while the airline people go through their rituals to get everything set to take off. Off you go away from the gate and into another waiting line to take-off. Up you go and soon someone offers you a small drink and some cookies. Now you are going down and landing. You taxi around the airport for what seems like the total distance from your home to this city and wait while your gate is ‘prepped’ for your plane. Now you wait while the front people slowly get their baggage out of the overhead bins and finally start to get off. At last you are off the plane. You look for signs to tell you where to find your baggage. Off you go to the baggage area and when you get there you wait for your bags to show up. Found your bags and dragging them you are off to the car rental desk for your reserved car. Again you wait in line and finally are served and must fill out three thousand forms but you are assigned the car in slot 25C. Dragging your baggage you are off to the unconditioned parking area looking for slot 25C or you might have to wait for the shuttle bus to take you close to your assigned car. When the bus arrives, you drag your baggage onto the bus and off again when you reach your car. You load your bags into the car and get in and try to figure out how things work on this car and you are off to your meeting. When the meeting is over you reverse this procedure to get home. Gee that sounds like lots of fun.
Driving from home to airport 45 min.
From parking lot to ‘inspection area’ 25 min.
Waiting to load (had to arrive 1 hr. early) 1 hr.
Flight time gate to gate 1hr. 35 min.
Gate to rental car 25 min.
Trip into town 35 min.
Total travel time to meeting 4hr. 45 min.
Total return time 4 hr. 20 min.
Time at meeting 4 hr.
Total trip time 13 hr 5 min.
Time available for working on computer or relaxing 1 hr. 5 min.
Total time available for computer or relaxing 2 hr. 10 min.
If the meeting lasts 4 hrs., including lunch, you will spend 13 hrs 5 min away from home to attend the meeting. Costs will include auto to and from the airport, parking charge, round trip airfare and rental car. Except for some time in the air, the person cannot do anything on his computer or anything on business. He must drag his baggage all over the place and load and unload it numerous times. This is about 10 hrs of unproductive frustrating time.
If you are going on vacation with your family, things are even worse, more baggage and things to take care of. By the time you arrive at the vacation spot you are worn out and not eagerly anticipating the trip home. Of course you could drive and spend days fighting the trucks and idiots on the interstates in your gas-guzzler SUV.
What is ‘the answer’?
Well I think we need to devise a system that will encourage people to drive the small efficient cars, which they will not if driving long distances. We need a system to move people quickly and efficiently long distances. We must face the fact that people are in love with their personal car and do not want to take a bus. The Palletway could cut air traffic by one-half or more, so airlines will oppose this idea. Passenger train travel would probably be eliminated so railroads would love this idea as they do not like people on the rails. We would not need to spend billions of taxpayer dollars trying to build ‘high-speed rails’ so taxpayers should love this idea. However the railroads wouldn’t because all of that taxpayer supplied money allotted to high-speed rail goes to improving their rails so they can ship more freight. The interstate highways would be almost exclusively for the large trucks to use, so trucking companies should love this idea. However later I will indicate a reason for trucking companies and warehouse operators to not like the idea. What I propose does not require new technology but the application of existing technology to solving the problem.
Some proposed solutions to this problem require special cars to be purchased to use their system. While it is being constructed there would be limited places to use the system so which comes first the roadway system or people buying a special car so they can use the system when it exists? With my system existing autos would be able to use the system when the first station to station section is finished. The designers would determine the limitation of vehicle size. I feel that the smaller vehicles could be encouraged through a charge for size and/or weight. However as soon as the first section of the Palletway is completed it can be used by existing cars that qualify, no special car to buy.
What if we had a system where a person could load his baggage into his car, drive for 10 to 20 min. to a Palletway terminal, drive onto a pallet, load his destination into a computer, pay for the cost of transport and let go of the wheel. His pallet moves him onto the high-speed computer controlled roadway and soon he is zooming along at 150 mph (or more?) in perfect safety. He gets out his computer or reading material, pours himself a drink and settles down for the 200 mile 1 hr. 20 min ride to his destination. When he arrives he drives his car off of the pallet on to the local roads for the 15 min drive to the meeting. No loading and unloading and dragging baggage around.
Drive from home to PVTU terminal. 10 min.
(Personnel Vehicle Transport Unit terminal)
Transport to meeting city (200 mi.) 1hr. 20 min.
(on the PVTU @ 150mph)
Drive to meeting location 15 min.
Total travel time to meeting 1 hr. 45 min.
Return trip time. 1 hr. 15 min.
4 hrs. at the meeting. 4 hrs.
Total time for the trip 7 hrs 0 min.
Time useable for reading, computer time etc.
each way – Aprox. 1hr. 10 min.
Time available for ???? whatever you want to do. 2 hrs 20 min.
How do we make this possible?
Well I think the technology already exists. We use Long Stator Linear Synchronous Motor concept (No NOT maglev! Only ½ of maglev) to move a computer controlled pallet along an elevated guideway following the interstate road system or what I call the Palletway. When a car dives onto a pallet at a loading ramp it will be ‘captured’ and locked to the pallet. A power, computer interface and climate control unit would be connected to the auto. The driver would enter the destination and pay for the service. The computer would then move the pallet onto the entrance ramp where its speed would be adjusted to merge into a computer assigned spot on the high-speed roadway, the Palletway. At the destination the computer would alert the driver and move the pallet onto the slow-down ramp and guide it to an unloading ramp. The auto would be released and the driver drives off on to local roads. This Palletway should allow for speeds of 150 mph or more in complete safety. The driver can sleep, text, cell phone, play cards or whatever, if he wants to as it is all computer controlled. There would be many crossover points so the computer control could move pallets from lane to lane to make room for units entering the system and around a problem area.
If at some point the driver wants to stop for a break, they push the ‘exit’ button the computer will direct them to the next exit. When ready to continue they reenter the system just as they did at the start. There will be a charge for each entry and exit to help pay for the stations. At the ‘stations’ there will be restrooms and a climate controlled lounge. I feel that at most stations additional space could be provided for businesses to rent for restaurants and other shops, again providing income to the ‘system’. Of course there will be no need for gas stations there being as the ‘system’ is electrical and the vehicles motors are off.
Unload Ramp Drawing
The figure above shows how an unload ramp might look. The pallet would come from the left and be switched to the unload ramp. The auto would be released and move down the ramp and onto local streets. The empty pallet would be moved backward across the guideway to the load ramp where another auto would drive on, be locked down, move off to the right and up the ‘speed-up’ ramp to merge with other pallets moving along at 150 mph.
Pallet Station Layout
The drawing above shows how a Palletway ‘station’ might look. There are two guideways running in each direction. As a pallet that is leaving the system approaches the station it is switched onto the ‘slow-down’ track and guided to an ‘unload’ ramp. When the auto has cleared the pallet, the pallet is moved across the track to a ‘load’ ramp where another auto can drive on and be locked down. This pallet will then be switched to the track and to the ‘speed-up’ track to merge with other pallets going 150 mph.
The driver can tell the computer to let him off at the next exit where there is food or restrooms or whatever. Imagine taking the whole family on a 600-mile trip and never leave your personal car and get there in four hours. No xray inspections, taking your shoes, belts etc. off. On the trip you can play games, read, eat, sleep and are rested when you arrive. Load all of that baggage one time and unload at your vacation spot and have your personal car to drive around.
What is the ‘secret’
So what is the ‘secret’ to the Palletway? The Long Stator Linear Synchronous Motor system allows the high speed without mechanical motors that break down. Some systems have been tried where the travel units were ‘levitated’ with magnetic fields, this is called Maglev. This is very expensive and impractical for a nationwide system. My proposal would have the pallets ride on solid rubber tires like any car but the drive system would be Long Stator Linear Synchronous Motor drive. This is used on amusement park rides where they want to move something very fast. This system uses magnetic fields to move things rather than a mechanical drive system. No mechanical drive system to break down, just pallets driven by magnetic drives. No concerns about traction, being as the tires do not ‘drive’ the pallets. If the road is wet or icy there is no problem because the pallet is moved by magnetic energy, not a motor drive to the tires.
So what keeps these pallets on the road? Well, a very simple solution that I saw as a kid. I played with ‘slot cars’ and they would stay on the track because they had a pin that kept them on the track. If this is incorporated into a paved track with a slot and not just a straight pin in a slot but an upside down ‘T’ shaped pin, that I call a ‘T slot pin’, that would ‘lock’ the pallet to the roadway. The pallets could not leave the ‘track’ at any (reasonable) speed. The addition of the bottom plate would insure that the pallet could not leave the track.
So there is the Palletway. A pallet to ‘lock’ a personal auto onto and ‘take control’ of the auto. A power and computer interface to control the operation. Perhaps a power attachment to charge a cars system to encourage the use of hybrid or electric autos for long trips. A system of elevated slotted roadways perhaps with electric generating windmills every ½ mile to generate the power for the Long Stator Linear Synchronous Motor system in the open country. With banked guideways the pallets could travel at much higher speeds than the existing interstate roads were designed for. Just as in an aircraft when it banks left and right the passengers probably do not even notice that they are at a angle but are held in their seats by centrifugal force. I am not an engineer but to me it seems possible that speeds of 200 mph or more could be safely obtained. With the ‘T slot pin’ system it will be virtually impossible for a pallet to leave the track. Note I say ‘virtually’ because as in the case of the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic sometimes the impossible happens. As for the vehicle coming off of the pallet again with properly designed clamping system this should be ‘virtually’ impossible.
Paying for the Palletway
A charge for each mile and for each on or off trip, would pay for the Palletway while possibly saving the riders money over the cost of regular driving or flying and will save time spent traveling. Another charge could be made for charging the batteries of electric cars. This would require a special, higher current, connection so it could be charged separately from just supplying power to the vehicle for its systems. Going 150 mph or 200 mph, instead of 55 mph, with no fuel stops or slowdowns for congested cities and not even having to watch the road. Even ‘bad’ weather will not close the roadway because the magnetic drive does not depend upon having good traction for the tires. If the road is icy or rain covered that will not affect the pallet movement. The pallet is locked to the roadway so it cannot slip off of the road. Arriving with much less stress and having time to work on the computer, read or even take a nap would be a bonus. Taking cars off of the interstates will let the trucks have them without the hassle of ‘four wheelers’. Less accidents with trucks and less deaths. How much is a life worth?
I can ‘estimate’ the possible income from a section of the Palletway when it is in operation. This is an ‘educated’ guess, but I think will show the possibility. Obviously the traffic will not be the same on all sections of the ‘system’, so I have chosen a section of interstate that I am familiar with and have a feel for how busy it is. If I looked at a section from New York City to Washington, DC the traffic there would probably be very heavy. If I chose a section in North Dakota traffic there would probably be very light. My choice will be the I-85 section from Greensboro, NC to Charlotte, NC. This is about a 100-mile section, actually 93 miles but round to 100 miles to make the figures easier.
If you drive a car the average speed is about 50 mph. This section of highway does not have a large number of 18 wheel trucks so it is fairly pleasant to drive. At 50 mph it will take about 2 hrs for the trip. As you enter the cities the speed does slow down considerably. If your car gets 20 miles per gallon of gas at $4.00 per gallon you pay $.20 cents per mile just in gas. This does not include oil and ware and tear on the auto.
So lets take the same trip on the Palletway. The time from downtown to downtown will be about 40 minutes (not 2 hrs.). Your cost in gas, oil and wear and tear is zero. Because you were not ‘driving’ the car you arrive relaxed and refreshed. How much would you pay for this trip on the ‘system’? Lets guess at $.35 cents per mile with a $2.00 charge for each entry and exit. So your cost for the fast, relaxed and very safe trip would be $35.00 plus $4.00 for a total of $39.00. If you subtract the $20.00 gas cost savings, the trip costs $19.00 to go 100 miles in 40 minutes in perfect safety with no stops or driving hassles. In bad weather the safety and lower stress is greater. So if $.35 cents per mile is reasonable lets see if this pays for the ‘system’.
What if I sat by the side of the I-85 interstate about mid-way between Greensboro and Charlotte and counted the number of cars that passed that point in one minute? I think that I would see an average of 15 cars per minute during the busy daytime 12 hrs and 5 cars per minute during the slower nighttime. This gives an average of 10 cars per minute for the 24 hrs. So 10 cars per minute going south and 10 going north gives a total of 20 cars per minute. Take the 20 per minute times 60 minutes to get 1200 cars per hour. Take the 1200 cars per hour times 24 to get 28,800 cars per day. Take the 28,800 per day times 365 days equals 10,483,200 cars per year.
If we assume that each car goes the full 100 miles it would not seem to be correct, because people get on and off along the way. I suggest however that about the same number get on as off at the intermediate points so the figures are essentially correct. Only placing sensors between each intermediate exit point would give an accurate count.
So here we go. We have 10,483,200 cars going 100 miles at $.35 cents per mile. That gives an annual income of $366,912,000 per year. If we add one entrance and one exit fee for each car, at $2.00 each, for the 10,483,200 cars we get additional income of $41,932,800 for a total of $408,844,800 per year (over $400 million!).
If the entry/exit stations cost $20,000,000 to build and we have three in Greensboro, five in Charlotte and one every 20 miles for a total of four, we have a total of 12 stations so the cost to build the stations would be $240,000,000. If the cost to build the highway were $5 million per mile the road would cost $500 million. The total cost to build would be $740 million. The income for the first year would be $408,844,800.00. If you had an $800 million government loan to build the section, you could pay $100 million for the next 10 years and pay the loan off with interest! That would leave almost 300 million to pay operating and maintenance costs and have a profit.. Each year after that the whole $400 million will be available to pay operating and maintenance cost with I feel sure a profit to the shareholders. That is for a 100-mile section. The totals for a nationwide system will be enormous. The interstate system was built using all taxpayer money. Costs to maintain the system are also taxpayer funds. With the Palletway taxpayer funds would not be required. Perhaps loans to cover initial construction but even with just a 100-mile section completed the ‘system’ would quickly pay back the ‘loans’ and for itself.
Getting ‘on’ the Palletway
When a vehicle enters the ‘cue’ to get onto the Palletway, if it does not have an ‘on-board’ computer interface built in, an attendant will give the driver a portable computer unit. This unit will have wireless connection to the systems’ computer. The driver will move the vehicle to a ‘staging’ area where the driver will be instructed how to enter the desired destination. The charge will be displayed and the driver will slide a credit or debit card through the reader. Only debit or credit cards will be accepted for payment. If the payment is accepted the driver will be told that there is no smoking while on the system as a safety concern. When the next pallet is ready to load the driver will be instructed which loading ramp to go to. If the payment is rejected or the driver decides to cancel the trip, this would require the driver to enter ‘reject’ into the computer unit. The driver would then be instructed to drive to the exit point where the computer unit will be returned and the vehicle allowed to exit the system.
Another large advantage
Another large advantage of the Palletway is that while using a bus, train or plane the transportation provider must provide a waiting area, check-in and loading people, drivers, clean and maintain the transport vehicles and facilities. In this system those things are unnecessary. The users provide the seating, lighting, air conditioning etc. and there is no driver as the computer does that.
The savings in costs to maintain facilities and equipment would be substantial over trains, busses and air travel. While initial costs to install the magnetic drive (high copper costs) and the computer control system, over its lifetime the cost would seem small when compared to other systems which have been proposed.
Compare to bus, train or air travel
A bus trip from Greensboro, NC to Kansas City, MO takes two full days and three changes of buses, sometimes in the middle of the night (ever tried to use the on-board potty in a bus? Great fun-huh?).
A train trip goes from Greensboro, NC, to Washington, DC, change trains go to Chicago, IL change trains and go to Kansas City, MO. This again taking almost two full days (a lot more comfort but a long time in transit) and costs as much as flying but you can take more stuff without extra cost and it is a pleasant trip.
A plane trip is much faster. Board in Greensboro, NC change planes in Charlotte, NC and after a layover on to Kansas City, MO. This takes most of a day for the total trip even though the airtime is short (the way you are jammed on the plane is not comfortable for most). I always seem to get seated between two sumo wrestlers. The plane seats are designed to be comfortable for anyone up to 12 years old, older than that and you are sandwiched in.
On my proposed Palletway you enter the system in Greensboro, NC. and arrive at Kansas City, MO. about 7 hrs. 15 min. later having traveled the 1074 miles at about 150 mph with no stops, unless you decide to get off for a break. If the system can function at 200 mph the travel time is just over 5 hrs. point to point and all in the comfort of your personal car and you have your personal car to drive at the destination. No long-term parking fees for your car and no rental cost to use someone else’s car.
Details of construction
This figure shows how the Palletway might look like in cross section. The ‘T slot pin’ holds the pallet onto the road. There would be no worries about slippery roads. Ice, rain or snow do not affect the magnet propulsion system. The magnetic propulsion units could be on the bottom or sides of the guideway. An electric pickup foot could also ride on the side or bottom of the pallet although I think that an electrical producing system can be driven with the energy from the Long Stator Linear Synchronous Motor system. This would eliminate the need for any type of mechanical pickup. The computer connection could be a wireless unit. The customers’ vehicle is locked onto the pallet but if there is a problem the riders can climb out onto the walkway and down escape ladders to the ground. Emergency personnel can access the roadway through those escape hatches in the pillars.
How the interstate guideway might look like in the center of an existing interstate highway.
‘Locking’ cars to the Pallet
For the Palletway to function safely the autos must be securely ‘locked’ to the pallet. I have drawn my suggestion of how this might be accomplished. It is a fairly simple setup but I feel would provide a very secure hold on the auto. With this system the autos suspension system is still functional so the transport unit will not need any sprung suspension (no maintenance costs for the system to pay). The auto will drive onto the pallet and go into a guide track. When the front wheels drop into the wheel well it will be stopped. The front tires will be locked down. Being as there are many differences in the spacing of the tires both across and front to back the system must be able to adjust for these differences. For the rear wheels there will need to be a sensor that determines where the axial is located so the clamps can be moved to that location. The clamps will move in from the sides. When a clamp hits the rim the current drawn by the drive motor will increase telling the controller that it is where it needs to be. When both clamps are in position the up-down motors will drive the clamps down until the current indicated the correct amount of down pressure. The auto is now securely locked down.
The Pallet is a passive vehicle. There is no active drive system. The unit is ‘pushed’ or ‘pulled’ down the road by magnetic attraction or repulsion. The coils that create the magnetic field are in the roadway. On the bottom of the unit are magnetic plates that react to the magnetic field. The auto is clamped to the pallet. The wheels are mounted to a solid shaft riding on bearings. There might be mechanical breaks that could be activated in and emergency condition. Below is a ‘simplified’ drawing of the unit.
How are the pallets switched from lane to lane and on and off of the high-speed guideway to the loading and unloading areas with such high speeds? Again this is made simple by the ‘pin’ holding the pallet to the track. If the guide the pin is switched the pallet moves that way. This would be done with a simple switch unit. No complex steering system required, and less things to break down. The figure below shows what this ‘switch’ unit might look like. It is a very simple unit and very rugged. The switches could be heated to prevent a build up of ice on the points.
This Palletway does not propose to ‘bunch’ the transport units together like small trains. The spacing between units would be controlled by how the pallet is merged with existing traffic. With LSLSM all units will travel at the same speed, therefore it is not possible to ‘bunch’ or adjust the spacing of pallets. Once a pallet is ‘on’ the Palletway it cannot gain or loose distance to other pallets. At 150 mph a pallet will cover 220 feet per second so it would seem that a spacing of 440 ft or more would be required to allow for the switching to happen at 150 mph. I believe that the ‘slot’ will only be 4” to 6” so throwing the switch should be very quick, perhaps 1 second or less. I think that my switch design will allow a 2-second switch time or less, so this switching system will allow high speed switching with little disruption to through traffic. Only building a unit and testing it will prove or disprove my theory.
A fail-safe system would consist of the end of the moving part having a metal contact portion. Each side of the ‘slot’, where the ‘point’ of the switch contacts it, will also be metal. The computer would verify that the switch has left one point and when it reaches the other point. If there is a problem the computer will initiate emergency stopping if required and for units further back to move to the adjacent track.
What if the ‘switch’ unit fails to move into the ‘switched position? Perhaps something goes wrong with the solenoid that moves the switching unit into the ‘exit’ position? Here I would suggest that the switching assembly be built as shown in the drawing below. The switch is held in the ‘through’ position by a spring. When the switch needs to move to the ‘exit’ position a solenoid pulls it to that position and when it is there a contact is made that tells the computer that everything is OK. If within a specified time period the OK signal is not received by the computer then a second ‘emergency’ solenoid is activated to pull the switch back to the ‘through’ position. The first solenoid is mounted with ‘break-away’ bolts so if it is jamed or stuck, the ‘emergency’ solenoid has enough power to pull the 1st solenoid off of its mounts so the switch will return to ‘home.
Switch as seen from below
If the exit switch ‘fails’ and the emergency solenoid activates the transport unit that was supposed to exit will now not be able to exit. In addition this exit point would be ‘out of commission’ until maintenance repairs the problem. This would not be acceptable so I suggest that there be a triple redundant exit system. The likelihood of a switch failing is very remote given the simple design. However the possibility must be addressed. If the first switch fails then there should be two additional switch points and the computer would exit the unit at the second switch point. If, in the absolutely unlikely situation where two switches fail there will be a third switch point for the computer to use. If all three fail then I guess the exit will be closed until the problems can be resolved.
Triple redundant exit system
The Magnetic Pallet Switch
There are those who feel that mechanical switching on the roadway will not be fast enough or safe enough. Only running tests on a test track would prove or disprove those concerns. I have developed another version of the switch, which uses magnet ‘steering’ to switch a pallet from the high-speed track to a slowdown track at an exit. In this version the normally 4” wide slot will open up to 8” or 10” wide some time before the switch location. With a strong magnetic repelling force the ‘guide pin’ on the pallet that is to exit will be forced to the right against the ‘exit’ track. The pallet will then be guided onto the exit switch and onto the slow-down track. Another strong repelling magnetic force will be applied to all other pallets as they pass the switch to keep them on the ‘through’ track.
Magnetic Pallet Switch
Changing from one interstate to another
Again I am not an engineer so my proposed solutions may be simplistic but I feel that they point the way to a real solution. The problem of moving a pallet traveling at 150 mph or more to another 150-mph highway is the same problem with my system as it was for the interstate designers. I assume that the pallet would need to slow down to perhaps 40 mph to execute this transition so slow-down and speed-up tracks will be required. It is possible that the ‘clover-leaf’ intersection design used frequently on the interstate system would work here too. This design would only require two levels of ‘system’ highway above the existing two levels of the existing interstate highway.
‘Go-Round’ for interstate exchanges
If the ‘clover-leaf’ type of interchange cannot be used due to space restrictions, then the ‘go-round’ system that I propose for the PODway could be used. This would require an additional overpass system but would allow interchanging within a much smaller space.
Some additional items
Climate Control & Power
With a gas engine running there is a way to have a drive belt run a compressor for air conditioning. The water for cooling the engine will provide heat. However in this system the engine is not running. Again I am not an engineer so I do not know exactly how to solve this problem but I do see a possibility. In an electric car the problem is the same as there in no hot water to provide heat and it seems that it is difficult to have the electric drive motor drive a compressor for cooling because when the car stops the motor is stopped too. I assume therefore that there is a system in electric cars to provide climate control from the electric system, thus just supplying power to operate that system will provide climate control. Within the pallet there could be a heat pump system to provide heat and cooling to the vehicles. This could be powered from electricity generated from the magnetic drive system. When a non-electric vehicle drives onto the pallet an attendant would attach a hose assembly to the pallet climate control system and place a unit in a window that will provide heat and cooling with a return air duct. There would be a control center to set the desired temperature inside the vehicle.
To supply power to the cars would require the addition of an access panel to connect the power. Eventually the auto manufacturers could build in an access panel and other mods to allow only power to be connected to the access panel. The auto would come equipped with electric climate control and a computer interface as a hard-wired unit through the access panel with wireless computer connection from the pallet to the ‘system’. The power required to operate the autos systems could be generated on the pallet by using the magnetic induction from the drive system.
Safety must be the number one concern. Being as the Palletway is for, the most part, computer operated there must be monitors and rules to allow safe operation of the system.
Here the Palletway has advantages in that the Palletway is computer controlled so if a problem occurs the computer could stop the vehicle and unlock the right doors so people could get out and to safety. The computer would route the pallets that are behind a disabled pallet onto the adjacent lane and around the problem, notify emergency personnel of the problem and give instructions to the people in the car. This seems to be workable. However in the very unlikely event that there were problems inside of the auto, how would the system be notified. Here it can be difficult. On the computer there could be an emergency button that would connect to an operator similar to the 911 system does now. The operator would determine what the emergency was and take appropriate action. We could insure that there was a CO monitor and a smoke detector in the auto if it was a part of the climate control unit provided to the unit if none were built into the auto. For the cars that are ’wired’ for the system that will eventually be built, the conversion would include a CO and smoke detector, which would be connected to the on-board computer. Next problem is gasoline driven cars. When the climate control unit is placed in the unit it could also have a CO monitor and smoke detector with it and those could be connected to the pallet where there would be a wireless signal to the computer control system. Last are the electric cars. All they will need is a power connection to provide power to run its systems. Again a wired or wireless unit could be given to the driver to clip to a sun visor, which would have a CO monitor and smoke detector with interface to the pallets’ wireless computer. Therefore there would be no smoking allowed while on the Palletway.
Also in the safety area I feel that when the power interface system is connected the doors should all automatically lock so nobody can open the doors while the pallet is moving. The only exception to this would be in an emergency situation where the pallet was being stopped. The right doors would unlock when the speed dropped below 20mph. I say the right doors because I feel that if there is an emergency detected the computer would move the pallet to the right lane if not already there. You want people to exit to the right so they do not step close to pallets passing them on the left. If the pallet cannot be moved to the right lane then, when the vehicle stops the computer opens the left doors.
In the unlikely event of a problem occurring on a pallet so the unit could not be moved to safety by the computer, a system must be in place to safely go to a disabled pallet and move it to a safe location. If the problem was just a breakdown so the pallet could not move, the occupants should remain inside their vehicle. If however the problem could be a danger to the occupants of the vehicle they should be told to exit the vehicle and move 100 feet forward of the pallet. When the automated tow unit arrived there can also be a pod unit sent to transport the passengers to a safe location. At the safe location, if the vehicle does not have a problem it will be removed from the pallet and put onto another one and the passengers can continue to their destination.
How does this ‘Automated Tow Unit’ work? The unit will be dispatched from the next exit ahead of the disabled pallet. The computer must clear the track from the exit station to the disabled pallet being as the ATU will be going ‘backward’ along the system. When the ATU reaches the disabled pallet it latches onto the front of the unit and two hydraulically operated arms extend under the pallet and lift it off of the track. Now the ATU can move the pallet to the safe/repair area and the computer can return traffic to normal operation.
Fire or other such emergencies
In the event of a fire or medical emergency where the pallet cannot be safely moved to the next exit, specially trained emergency response units will be dispatched to the location of the pallet. If only medical personnel are required there will be emergency access points at every support pillar to allow emergency responders access and passengers a way off of the ‘system’ if required. If there is a fire or other problem requiring firefighters to gain access, they will have a special unit with a ladder to provide them access to the ‘system’.
Bad Weather Concerns
How does the Palletway perform in ‘bad’ weather? Due to the fact that the wheels do not ‘drive’ the pallet there is no concern for ‘slippery’ roads. The magnetic drive works through rain, snow and ice. Being as the pallets are computer controlled it seems that there could be special pallets equipped with plows to ‘run’ down the track and keep it cleared off. If they were run frequently there would not be any ‘build-up’ of snow or ice. The roadway would not need to be ‘scraped’ to the pavement, possibly damaging the magnetic drive, because traction (or loss of) is not a concern. Keeping any build-up to 1” or so would be sufficient. It will seem strange to see pallets travelling at say 150 mph at night or in bad weather with no lights on. They would not be needed, as the system is computer controlled. Also there would be no need for ‘street lights’ on the system. Another cost saving.
In the event of life threatening weather the computer system could shut the system down where there is a threat. All pallets could be exited until the problem was cleared. On the interstate to do this requires many law enforcement people to block off the bad area so again more safety at less cost.
Of course there are many other technical problems that will have to be solved for such a system to work and perhaps it is not possible to have a magnetic propulsion system across the whole country. I do not know. To provide a system that runs on electricity would require backup system in case of power failure in one area. This has been addressed in our nationwide electrical grid so I suspect that it is not an impossible problem to solve. One company that I spoke to has proposed a system of natural gas generators along the system to power their system. Perhaps this could provide the ‘back-up’ needed in case of power loss?
The Palletway as I view it is for travel between cities, not local or commuter travel. I would feel that the on/off stations be no closer than 5 miles perhaps more. Where the system travels through a city I would suggest perhaps only an on/off station a mile or so outside the metro area and few or none in the metro area. I feel that autos entering the system be required to have a destination 30 miles or more away. This would discourage short (commuter type) trips on this system.
Possible commercial application.
With the addition of ‘stations’ at industrial locations there might be commercial applications. The Palletway is designed to carry loads the size and weight of an automobile and passengers, not large truck loads. However for a business that has a small delivery to make this system might work. Being as the pallets are computer controlled, if a specially designed carrier unit were constructed to hold perhaps two or three pallet-sized loads, it could be loaded onto a pallet, locked down just like a car and transported to another industrial station. Again the goods move at 150 mph, not the 55 mph of the interstate highways now and no driver to pay.
What is the ‘downside?
The Palletway could significantly affect the ‘commuter airline’ business. Airport businesses would be reduced. The need for many baggage and people ‘inspectors’ would be lowered. It would also reduce the need for rental cars. ‘Service’ businesses on the interstate would probably see a large decrease in business. Being as the gasoline driven autos will not be using gas. Highway construction would probably see a drop, as all of those additional lanes will not be needed. Of course in the short term it would pick up as the system was being built just as it did while the major push for the interstate system was on.
I suspect that it might adversely affect businesses such as Fed-EX who depend upon people needing to get something somewhere fast. However these businesses would probably quickly find that for short distances, adding stations to their ‘hubs’ would improve business, so it might be a wash.
What are some of the benefits?
There would be a great saving in gasoline and oil usage. This would be somewhat offset by the increase use of electricity. However having wind and/or solar generators along the highway could reduce the requirement for electrical generation. Less gasoline usage reduces the pollution and CO2 emissions. While there will be a greater need for electricity, building efficient electrical generators would mean that there would be an overall reduction in pollution and CO2 emissions.
The reduction of deaths on the interstate system is difficult to reduce to dollar savings. Because this would be a ‘computer controlled’ system the build-in safety requirements could possibly reduce accidents and deaths to zero on the system or at least close to zero.
The time saving is another factor that is difficult to reduce to a dollar value. The reduction of stress and fatigue to the drivers and passengers is also hard to give a dollar value but it would be significant. Being able to read, work on a computer or take a nap are also hard to give a dollar value.
There would be a reduction of the volume of traffic on the city interstate roads with the inter-city traffic moved onto this system. The interstate roads would also see reduced traffic and there would be less or no need for continued widening of the interstate roads.
The biggest factor, I feel, will be the safety. It will be virtually impossible to have a collision on the Palletway system. With the LSLS Motor drive system all pallets on the roadway will be traveling at the same speed, which is set by the frequency of the drive. The entry and exit speeds will also be frequency and computer controlled so again collisions would be next to impossible. Being as you are in your own auto and nobody can, ‘cut you off’ or cause problems on the roadway you are safe from those screwy drivers you sometimes encounter. You do not have to deal with the 18-wheeler trucks either. While most of those drivers are courteous you do find some that seem to be trying to run you over or off of the road.
Being as your motor is turned off you do not need to stop for fuel along the way. Getting gas at 2:00 AM sometimes is frightening, as you do not know just who else is at the pumps wanting to rob you or steal your auto. How much would you pay for that security on the road?
A new ‘system’ for commuter and city travel.
I envision another system for people moving within a large city. This system could reduce the auto traffic within a city by 60%, possibly more. There are many proposals for systems like this and the name that seems to have stuck is Personal Rapid Transit (PRT). The people carrying modules are frequently called PODs so that is what I will call my proposal the PODway.
If we created a miniature system based upon the same principals used in the Palletway we could create the ‘perfect’ people mover system. Using the ‘T slot pin’ concept and Long Stator Linear Synchronous Motor drive, I think such a system would be feasible and cost effective for larger cities. Instead of moving autos the PODway would move people.
First the guideway would only need to be single lane in each direction and it would be smaller so it could be run above city streets without blocking all of the view like an elevated train system does. The PODs would only carry 2 or 4 people and be lightweight fiberglass construction so the guideway only carries a small load. I will discuss dealing with breakdown and other problems with only a single lane later.
Picture a system of tracks above most of the busiest streets in a city. Every block or two there would be an on/off station. A person enters the on/off station and into a ‘cue’ area. Here in the “cue’ area you would enter the destination and the computer would display the charge. When the charge was paid the person would be directed to a loading position. When a POD is moved to the loading position the door opens and the person or persons (2 or 4) can enter the POD. The door closes, and the POD will be on its way to the selected destination. Enjoy the fast, non-stop ride to your destination. The destination would be given to the POD by the station computer.
The PODway computer moves the POD up to speed to enter the ‘main-line’ at, I would guess, speeds of 40 mph or possibly more.
Compare to bus transport system
Here is where the PODway blows away a bus system. With buses you wait at a stop for a bus to come along with others who are going in the same general direction that you are. You get on the bus and pay the fare and if you are going to have to change buses you get a transfer that will allow you to continue your trip with out additional payment. You have to watch for your stop so you can get off and catch another bus. When you get to your stop you signal that you want to get off. Now you must get to another bus stop and wait for the next bus. As a kid growing up in Chicago we could not afford a car so we had to use the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) which was buses and the subway/elevated system. The system worked very well and would get us close to wherever we wanted to go. However we did spend a lot of time waiting in the snow and rain for busses and had to carry everything that we bought in our arms all the way.
With the PODway once you get on the system you do not stop until you reach the destination you indicated. In the bus system if you are going north and need to go west you must watch carefully for the correct stop, then exit the north bound bus and go to another bus stop and wait for the west bound bus. In the PODway the individual POD will be switched from the north bound track and to the west bound track etc. automatically, until it delivers you to your destination. You do not have to watch for the correct stop, as the POD will notify you when you are 15 seconds from your destination and will stop automatically. The charges will be based upon how far you go on the system. If while you are on your way to your destination you get a call from a friend to meet you somewhere other than your chosen destination all you have to do is enter the new destination on the POD computer and pay the charge. The PODway computer will direct you to your new destination.
Compare to commuter auto travel
This system will be very useful for people who live in the suburbs or a nearby city. These people can drive to a parking area at the edge of the metro area, where the PODway begins. They park their car and get on the PODway and at 40 mph (or possibly faster) be moved directly to their destination with no traffic lights, congested traffic or stops. When they have finished shopping, if they have made several purchases, they can rent a wheeled cart to carry the load and when they get onto the POD there will be a place to park the cart and lock it in. At their destination they take the cart to their car. When they unload their ‘stuff’ into their car they return the cart for a refund of their deposit.
For workers there would probably be PODway stations close to work and possibly at their workplace if there were enough employees to justify a station. They just drive to the PODway station closest to their home and ride in comfort to and from work.
Is it ‘cost effective?
Larger cities will love the PODway as it will reduce traffic greatly and probably eliminate buses within the metro area. It will be less expensive to operate as most things are computer controlled thus needing fewer employees. Operating a bus system is very costly and under used due to the inconvenience of changing busses to get where you want to go. I would expect utilization of this system when it is fully implemented to be very high. The cost and time to drive to and from work in a large town would make the charges to use this system seem small. It will be mostly attractive due to the time saving by going around town at 40 mph or faster with no stops. The construction costs will not be high being as the roadway carrying the PODs only carries the weight of the 2 or 4 person PODs and not the large train type units in elevated systems. The PODway will be much quieter than elevated train units and no emissions as they are all electric. Maintenance costs will be low when compared to busses or subway systems.
What does the PODway look like?
The first drawing shows my proposal for the PODway. It would carry 2 or 4 passengers and 1 or 2 ‘package carts’. Just as on the Palletway the PODway would be propelled by ‘long stator linear synchronous motor’ technology and is computer controlled. The unit would have the ‘T slot-pin’ system to keep the POD on the track and for simple switching.
The station system again would be fairly simple. There would be loading/unloading positions. As with an elevator system, when a POD arrives at a load/unload position the doors open and the passengers all get off, the POD moves to a loading station where the next group gets on. I say that all get off because the POD delivers each group of people to their destination so all get off. When passengers are loaded the door closes and the POD is moved onto the main track where it will be guided to the selected destination non-stop.
To make the guideway be less intrusive it might look like this:
This is a picture from MODUTRAM which is Mexico’s entry into the PRT race. The guideway is strong but does not block all of the light from getting to the streets and sidewalks below.
This picture below shows a station but only one track. I feel that there must be a through track to keep pods moving and a track for the station. However it does show how non-intrusive such a track and station might be.
The simplest possible configuration for an interchange is the roundabout, that geometry most Americans associate with European roads. If we broadly define an interchange as an intersection with a 100% duty cycle, where no one has to come to a stop, as opposed to an intersection where vehicles must stop either as a two way stop or a four way stop or under the control of traffic signals. PODs enter a roundabout by proceeding to drive counter-clockwise around the circle from which the structure gets its name. Right turn, straight through, and left turn paths are executed after a quarter, half, or three quarter circular transit respectively. The PODs can even do a ‘U’ turn if an empty POD is needed somewhere back down the track.
Conceptually, a POD turning right never completely enters the circle. With that exception, all PODs from each direction are on the circle for some length of time. The structure is a single level interchange for two-way roadways entering from all (typically 4) directions. The ability to configure an interchange on one level clearly simplifies the design and construction. Several limitations in the performance of the structure are readily apparent. While not severe, these limitations will restrict the roundabout interchange to a local type with low POD capacity and speed. Low capacity is of course a relative term. Capacity limitations result from two causes. First PODs from all directions on separate lines must enter onto the single line from which the circle is constructed.
Second, PODs must enter and exit the circle slowly. It is assumed throughout this discussion is that horizontal acceleration (pressure to move side to side) will be limited to 1 g. A passenger will feel an apparent 1.41 times his/her normal weight pushing to the side. With such assumptions, POD speed and the guideway turn radius have a direct relationship.
Speed is constrained by another parameter. Muscles tense and bodies brace themselves against accelerations. And when equilibrium is reached, moderate accelerations are not disagreeable. But changes in accelerations are different. Unpleasant rapid changes in acceleration have an equally unpleasant sounding name: jerk. Unsuspecting muscles and bodies are flailed in one direction or another as unanticipated forces are suddenly incurred. One can sip a cup of coffee at 1 g of acceleration, but react like a rag doll to moderate jerk.
A 4-lane street will limit the circle’s diameter to approximately 68 ft. Limiting horizontal acceleration to 1 g limits speed on the roundabout to about 24 mph. Therefore PODs must enter the intersection at 24 mph. If the computer exerting control can maintain an 80% fill factor, a maximum of 12,000 10’ long PODs per hour (200 PODs per minute) can go through the interchange, from all directions. That is an average of 3,000/hour (50 per minute) from each direction. Still, these numbers are quite attractive for a local interchange. Compare that to the 20 or so autos that will transverse the intersection two ways while the light is green and zero while it is red, per light cycle which is probably 60 seconds. If there are left turn lanes and lights then the numbers are fewer autos per minute. So while all PODs must slow to 24 mph starting about 150 ft. from the interchange they do not stop and soon accelerate back to the 40-mph of the straight guideway. If the road below is wider than the four lanes described, with added left and/or right turn lanes, then the diameter of the PODway circle can be larger and the speed of the PODs around it will be higher. This would increase the throughput of PODs while on the road below the extra traffic light cycles for left turns will decrease the auto throughput.
Another concern with the design involves jerk. A POD making a right turn incurs a lateral (side to side) acceleration (pull) to the left increasing to 1 g followed by a symmetric decrease in acceleration to 0 g to the left. But PODs proceeding straight through or making a left incur something more complex. Their path turns right, then left, then right, then straight. The side to side push is first to the left, then right, then left, and then back down to zero. These swings will not go unnoticed. If the circle is truly a pure circle the POD will be pulled into a 1 g curve to the left as it enters the circle followed by a 1 g push to the right as it follows around the circle. When the POD exits the circle it will be pulled to the left again an finally straight.
Of course on wider streets the circle will be larger and thus the speed through the roundabout can be higher. For streets with only two lanes the PODway could have POD traffic in only one direction thus reducing the interruption to smaller streets and the construction costs. This might require some additional travel for those who wish to exit on that street. If the POD is coming from the opposite direction to the one-way PODway the POD may have to go ‘past’ its straight route to get to the one-way section but this would be a minimal delay. This would be in effect ‘going around the block’ to get to your destination.
Any city street with substantial traffic load is a candidate for a PODway. Indeed, even a tightly restricted and minimally sized four lane urban street is a candidate for a line. This narrow street might intersect with a similarly sized street also equipped with a line. Thus their small intersection is a candidate location for an interchange. Assuming both streets have no left turn lanes and no added width for parking or right turns, these minimally sized streets will both have a width of 4 x 12 feet = 48 feet plus sidewalks probably 10” each = 68’. Can a full PODway interchange be built within the footprint of such a street intersection? Yes it can as shown in the drawing. If the street has left turn lanes and on-street parking it could be 84’ wide with 10’ sidewalks the PODway roundabout diameter could be 104’ which would allow much higher speeds and thus higher throughput.
The interchange’s architecture must meet a number of demanding specifications. The interchange must allow unimpeded use of the street below, perform well with speeding vehicles, be cost effective to implement, and be maintainable over time. So as not to interfere with street use, the structure must have ground clearance for tall vehicles, lack posts within the intersection, and allows signage and lighting for the ordinary intersection below. To be cost effective, it must be fabricated to mostly in a factory setting and require minimal assembly in the field. Aesthetically it must maintain and even enhance the ambiance of a pleasant streetscape. Light, airy, leaving the intersection corners open, it must allow pedestrians to be comfortable walking beneath. Sixteen feet, of ground clearance might be the standard codified to allow full use of the intersection below.
Handling a POD breakdown
An added benefit of the go-round is that a track can be put in the center and a tow unit can be stationed there along with a spare POD. If there is a breakdown of a POD, where the drive system cannot move it to a safe location on its own, the tow unit would be moved out of the center of the go-round onto the go-round. The computer would first insure that all units between the disabled unit and the go-round were moved out. Then traffic on the go-round would be stopped while the tow unit moved out and onto the track with the disabled unit. It would then go ‘backward’ to the disabled POD. When the tow unit was clear of the go-round traffic there would resume normal flow.
When the tow unit reached the disabled POD it would couple up to it and two hydraulic arms would extend under the POD. The tow unit would lift the POD off of the track and move it to the go-round. Again the computer would stop traffic on the go-round while the tow unit moved the disabled POD onto the repair track. After the tow unit was back on the repair track the computer could resume normal flow everywhere, including the track where the disabled unit was located.
With the disabled POD safely off of the track the passengers will need to be allowed to exit the unit and go to another unit. There will be a spare POD parked at the go-round just for that event. The passengers would be directed to exit and go to the other POD. The computer would inform them that their entire trip would be free. As soon as everybody is in, the ‘spare’ POD moves out onto the go-round under the control of the computer and on to the selected destination.
The maintenance department is notified about the disabled POD and schedules a specialized truck to go to the go-round. When the truck arrives the auto traffic on the streets below the go-round will be stopped. The truck positions itself under the go-round and the elevator carrying the disabled POD is lowered down to the ground. The truck is equipped to pull the disabled POD off of the elevator an onto its truck bed. The POD is secured onto the truck and the elevator returns to its spot and traffic can resume normal operation under the go-round. The disabled POD is taken to the repair center. Unless there is an emergency situation the disabled POD could wait to be removed until a slow traffic time, perhaps during the night.
Medical emergency on board
If some type of emergency occurred within a POD, while it is moving, pressing an ‘emergency’ button would connect the POD to an operator similar to a 911 call. The operator would determine the nature of the problem and if time permits move the POD to the nearest go-round where emergency personnel would meet it who will have access to the go-round. If there is not time to move the POD to a go-round emergency responders with specialized equipment would respond to the location of the POD and would have the proper equipment to gain access to the POD. With the computer control in an emergency it might be fastest to have the computer move the POD to the closest hospital or emergency care center. This would be faster than waiting for emergency responders.
Dealing with vandalism on the POD
While it seems impossible to cost effectively totally prevent vandalism, with the 2 or 4 passenger limit and the requirement that the fair be paid electronically, it would seem fairly easy to identify who did the vandalism. If a person enters a POD and sees vandalism they should press the emergency button and tell the operator the problem. If the POD is usable the passengers may use it and the operator will trace the last user and remove the POD from service when this trip is completed. If the Pod is unusable the operator will take the POD out of service and route it to a repair center.
What are some ‘down-sides’?
There would be a significant reduction in the need for taxi services. The PODway could replace bus and/or subway/elevated transport system. A PODway could be installed where subway /elevated transport systems are now in use. The PODway could reduce or eliminate commuter railroad services. The PODway could be installed above commuter railroad systems and using that as a ‘high-speed’ system from the suburbs to ‘downtown’. This could provide a direct path with 60 mph or 100 mph speeds by avoiding the city street restrictions.
What are some ‘up-sides’?
The PODway would reduce pollution and CO2 problems, as it is all electric. Traffic on city streets could be significantly reduced. The reduction in traffic should translate into less accidents and deaths. Frustration of travelers would be reduced resulting possibly, in happier people, less anger toward each other. The cost to the commuter would probably be the same or slightly higher but the convenience, speed and comfort would offset any higher cost. Auto travel in cities is expensive, frustrating and time consuming. Maintenance costs for city streets would be reduced due to the reduced traffic. Emergency vehicles could move more efficiently with less auto traffic on the street. In fact there could be emergency PODs to respond to emergencies quickly. Noise pollution would be reduced with less auto traffic to generate motor noise and honking of horns (and yelling/cussing people?). Parking problems for those few who choose to drive would be reduced but this could be a downside too with reduced need for parking garages. Although the developers would welcome the opportunity to turn a parking garage into a multi-story office or business building, so that would be a positive.
A very important aspect of the PODway is the safety. Anyone who has ridden on a New York subway will tell you that it can be very scary. All types of people ride there and robberies and assaults are not uncommon. With the PODway only people that you know and who are going to the same exit as you will be in your POD. You ride in complete safety and comfort. You can relax and enjoy the ride. It would be hard to put a price on the safety along with the speed, non-frustrating ride but I feel that when people ride one time, the system will win their loyalty. However in the early months and years, while the system is being built it will, of course, not be able to take people to every point they will want to go. So the ridership will build as the system is built. The more locations that have stations the more people will ride ‘The PODway’!
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