Re: [unrev-II] Session #2 - Moving People?

From: Jeff Miller (
Date: Tue Jan 18 2000 - 16:40:02 PST

From: Jeff Miller <>

On Tue, Jan 18, 2000 at 11:30:22AM -0600, Bill & Sharon Bearden wrote:
> From: "Bill & Sharon Bearden" <>
> Greetings,
> I enjoyed the discussion at the end of session #2 about the problem of energy. I especially liked the comment on the real cost of
> mass transit and the comment on revitalizing the inner cities. But I was a little surprised that no one really followed up on the
> comment from the lady from the automobile industry about changing lifestyles. She seemed to be the only one who even hinted at the
> question: "why move people at all?"
> Perhaps it is a little more obvious for me since I am "attending" this colloquium in my basement (which is in Illinois). Many of
> the people attending in person used cars or mass transit to get there. Even though the state of the technology is today fairly
> poor, the fact that I and many others can participate without starting our cars suggests that this is a viable part of the energy
> problem's solution.

Somethings can only be done in person and some of the things that can be
done over a telecommunications link are still better handled in person.
Having said that there is no reason why all lectures/classes, to take a
common example, need to be in person, but to get the full value of the
classes it is helpful to attend some in person.

The point that was mention that I find most interesting is that one city
(can't remember which off hand but it's probably true for most) uses more
fuel for it's public transport system per passanger than a similar car
trip would take. This made me think of a system of robotic cars - never
mind how practice it is at the moment. This system would operate by having
you go to a pick-up point, a post in the say, request a car, press the
button, insert a smart card. A car would then be dispatched from a near by
storage bay, stop in front of you. You would hop in key in the destination
or if you didn't know the distination code call a remote operator who
would help you. The car would then travel to the destination using upto
date traffic information to route around conjestion.

That's an idealistic solution there are a couple (hundred?) problems:
1. robotic autodrive cars don't exist yet. people are working on this.
2. maintaining the cars. I'm not just talking about mechinical upkeep. I'm
also talking about maintaining the interior of the car to a fit state.
This could be handle by designing the cars to be easy to clean, ie
washable interiors, and just having the car automatically washed after
each trip when it returns to the storage bay. Including video cameras on
the cars would also help cut down on vandalism. there are privacy concerns
here, but cameras are already on most of our public transport.
3. some people like to drive, including me. personal vehicles may just
have to become for recreational use only.

This idea is not new I think paris was trialling a system of public
"rental" cars.

Another thing that would help transport is to stop urban sprawl. I'm not
saying have high density housing and nothering else. More along the lines
on medium to high density surrounded by park land, but larger appartments.
The things you see being build these days are not much bigger that a match
box. For example, I know someone who lives in bathurst and works in orange
about 50km away, his travel time is approx. 30 minutes.

Too get back to public transport this would cut down on the number of
possible stops any system would have to make there by increasing speed of
service, and decreasing fuel use.

> The solution to our problem with energy may come more from Cisco than Chevron.

Cisco will like that.


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