Public Transportation

Discussion in 'General' started by Lowell_Greenberg, Feb 19, 2019.

  1. Lowell_Greenberg

    Lowell_Greenberg Active Member

    Sensible auto owners- and there are plenty in these forums- place a premium on automotive safety and environmental responsibility. Yet it seems in most of the discussions here and elsewhere both are typically discussed in terms of which brand/car model is better. And while this has validity and can be helpful to a consumer, it seems to me the safest and most environmentally friendly option is public transportation. I could add here riding a bicycle- but not everyone can take advantage of this- and in certain situations it is not particularly safe in a landscape dominated by cars and trucks.

    One might argue that public transportation is so poor in the US that it is not a viable option for most. But this is precisely the point. If half of the energy and interest in cars spilled over to public transportation we might get something done.

    It should be clear by now the the illusion of automotive freedom is fading on choked highways, unstable climates and loss of life.

    Public transportation is the only viable option.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
  2. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    In engineering we list GOOD, FAST, CHEAP ... pick two. When I have the time and it is during the business hours, I can use it. It is very affordable, $0.50. But after hours and weekends, it isn’t running.

    Bob Wilson
  3. Not possible here. Where I live is not even officially a town nevertheless a city. The nearest town is 7 miles away. Bike riding here.....they have what they call the ghost bikes. Those are bikes they put up on the side of the road to commemorate bike riders who have been killed while riding their bikes. I have not counted them up but there are several I see on my way to town and/or the nearest city. New Mexico pretty much started the idea of crosses on the side of the road to mark people killed while driving. Certainly there are many of them as well but most often they are drunk drivers who had single car accidents. One of those crosses is actually just 150 yards from my door. Lute I guess was his name(it is on the cross) single car(pickup actually) into a guard rail.
    Bike in this place to and from work perhaps, at your own peril.
    Each one of the bikers was a totally innocent person just riding their bike. A coworker of mine was killed years ago. A avid enthusiast he actually competed in local races. The put up a small statue of him somewhere and of course the ghost bike. Drunk yes he did some time.
    Like guns, no offense but people seem to just look at their life and situation. I have one shot gun with slug shot for bear. A neighbor's house broken into a few years back. He had to shoot it dead it coming in through a kitchen window. Family wife and all kids had to have a shot gun. People tend to not think others live not as they do. Saw one bear this year by kids play house. Left no problem. Mostly it is like that. Mostly you don't get killed while riding your bike as well ;)
  4. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    Why does it have to be either or? In NYC, there is adequate public transportation that will satisfy most needs. In LA public transport is inadequate and could do with a lot more of it. In Phoenix for example, we do not have much public transportation options if you do not live in certain areas or do not have much time on hand. There was a big fight in Phoenix to get the little rail. Yes there are expansion projects and plans, but they are hamstrung with regulations and funding issues, and progress is slower that required. So is public transport a part of solution, absolutely but not the only solution. Are EVs and efficient private transportation a part of the solution, Yes but not the only one. IMHO, the answer is a mix of various options.

    While there are differing interpretations, in the 1950s, GM and other companies (Firestone, Oil companies) did at least partially help in dismantling electric traction in many cities, so they could sell more automobiles. While that is water under the bridge, the hard fact is that the public investment to get back to mass transportation that covers say even 60% of the population is very high. The rail line between LA and the Bay area has been shelved due to cost considerations. Will the hyper loop provide a substitute? Not sure yet. Are there other technologies? May be that is an area of research. The bottom line is that we have to look for cheaper solutions that can be implemented fast to get to more public buy in. We also have to keep convenience in mind.

    No denying we need more public transportation. The $64 million question is how do you get down the path faster? If someone wants that to succeed, they have to be pragmatic and invest where you can show both an economic and public convenience benefit. Chose the battles and invest wisely. Not sure if we have the political will to do that. It will require saying "No" to those want status quo and "No" to those who want large unsustainable investments. The middle path is often the most difficult.
  5. gooki

    gooki Active Member

    The private sector is going to solve it with TAAS (autonomous vehicles).

    Price will be comparable to public transport, but the service will be door to door.

    If it was my money, I wouldn’t be investing in public transport. They’ll be stranded assets within a decade.
  6. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    Here is the trade off: There is congestion in certain areas and adding more TAAS will not solve the problem. So you may have to add more roads, lanes and other infrastructure. This costs a lot of money, which could be put into mass transportation. So to me it is a co-existence, selective increase in mass transportation with better propulsion and automotive technology as the two prongs of a multi-prong effort to help the environment. We need smart investment, directed investments where it makes most sense. Unfortunately, when we have elected officials, that is difficult as each has their constituent to satisfy.
  7. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    The viability of actually depending on mass transit for daily transportation needs is highly dependent on how much infrastructure is in place, and how often the buses/ trains run. And that, in turn, is highly dependent on population density. In large urban areas where population density is high, then there is enough public funding (i.e., taxes) to support such infrastructure. But in vast areas of the U.S., there simply isn't enough population density to support that. Even the major metro area where I live, Greater Kansas City, is so spread out that there isn't enough population density to support a good mass transit system. I speak from experience on this; I tried to rely on buses to get to work for a few months, and it really wasn't a viable solution. Having to walk, every work day, 3/4 of a mile in the dark along a road where there are no sidewalks... well, that was more than inconvenient, it was actually dangerous.

    Chicago is one of the few dense cities in the USA outside the Bos-Wash corridor in the Northeast. It is said that in Chicago, it doesn't matter if you miss a bus, because another will be along in 5 minutes. If that kind of reliability in mass transit was available here in Kansas City, then I would happily rely on it to go almost anywhere.

    * * * * *

    It is said that the U.S. is the only country in the world where even the poor have cars. While that is to a great extent true, it's because having a personal car is a necessity, not a luxury, in most areas of the country.

  8. gooki

    gooki Active Member

    Yes it will. Instead of single passenger cars, you’ll get autonomous vehicles transporting three plus passengers, cutting traffic in half.
  9. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    True, also true that there will be more organized traffic, better ability to pack more vehicles due to closer parking distances. But we have a Waymo cars in my area of Phoenix and they follow speed limits to the T. You are actually slower when you are behind those vehicles. My son tells me I should not complain as they are being safe, but when I see an open road....;)

    You have point, but there is a convenience factor, can you wait the extra time or mind the sharing with others due to pooling. Some areas in some cities like New York and LA are bursting at the seams and this will help but not entirely solve the problem. There is no one size fits all approach, and that is my story and I a sticking to it.
  10. gooki

    gooki Active Member

    Agreed, but Autonomous TAAS is far more capable of dynamically changing to meet the needs of citizens.

    How long does it take local government to implement a new bus route? Min six months is my guess.

    How long for a TAAS provider? 2 seconds.
  11. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    Cost of a bus ticket say $2 or even $3 for 5 mile commute. Current costs of Uber or a share ride service $10+, more likely $15+.
  12. gooki

    gooki Active Member

    Autonomous TAAS takes the labor cost out.

    If you look at places like India where labor cost is minimal taxi prices are

    70 cents to start
    21 cents per kilometer

    Which is very close to you $2 per 5 miles of public transport.

    To ensure TAAS can reach similar or even lower pricing we need to minimise unnecessary regulator hurdles, and ensure competition in the market exists.
  13. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but you're citing prices for a ride in one of those motorized rickshaws in India... cheap, lightly build, low speed vehicles that are a very long way from anything that would be street legal in first-world countries, and impossible to travel at highway speed.

    Not really a useful comparison to what we think of as taxi/Uber service.

  14. gooki

    gooki Active Member

    Nope, actual 4 door sedan, lower end Toyota, Suzuki etc. Uber is similar price there, but more reliable.
  15. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    OK, so costs in India, China etc are cheaper, but how does that apply to to a densely packed urban area like London or LA or Chicago, or Tokyo or NYC, with local costs that are different from India. There is a limitation on how much more capacity you can add in form of roads and you have to think out of the box. Even cities with cheaper costs such as Beijing are struggling how deal with this problem. One idea from China was a bus under which cars could pass.

    If autonomous driving could solve all the problems, how come Elon Musk is also advocating using the space underground (the Boring Company) and the Hyperloop? He understands that that EVs and mass transportation has to co-exist, it is not either or. Each has its place. Again there is feeling all mass transport has to be developed by the Government. Private sector can play a part and that is what Elon suggests. And the mass transportation can be electrified. For example the bus below could use electricity or large battery packs etc.

  16. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Interesting concept. I wonder how that has worked out in practice? Seems to risk a lot of collisions between the bus and cars on the road. But great that they're thinking outside the box!

    The Boring Co. concept is, if anything, the exact opposite of mass transportation. It's a concept for very low-density, high-cost transportation, would by necessity be restricted to VIP access only, and would have very high per-use fees.

    The Boring Co. concept is completely unworkable from an economic perspective. It's nothing more than a rich man's fantasy, prompted by Elon's desire to commute to work and back without having to fight traffic. I am continually amazed that anyone would take that seriously. For a detailed examination of why such VIP-only transportation schemes are not economically feasible, see "Human Transit: The Dangers of Elite Projection" by Jarrett Walker... whom, not coincidentally, Elon Musk has called "an idiot". :rolleyes:

    Hyperloop is IMHO a much more interesting idea, altho the original Hyperloop Alpha concept with just a single file of seats in a capsule/ pod would make the passenger throughput much too low, and ticket prices much too high. Far better would be larger tubes with wider pods, allowing 3 or 4 seats in a row across the pod, as with a city bus. Fortunately, those research groups and/or companies working to develop Hyperloop into something practical are working on wider pods.

    I don't know if Hyperloop can be made economically sustainable, but I'd love to see a pilot project built so we can find out!
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019
  17. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    Well the Boring has been down selected from many competitors to build the The Chicago Express Loop which will run between O’Hare Airport and Block 37 in downtown Chicago. This is a mass transportation contract, for relieving the congestion between downtown and O Hare. It will transport between 8-16 passengers in one pod. I am being totally serious. And as this will be based on the Tesla Chassis, more business for Tesla.

    The Boring Company has been selected by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT), on behalf of the City of Chicago, to enter into exclusive negotiations to design, build, finance, operate and maintain an O’Hare Express service. The Chicago Express Loop will provide fast and convenient transportation between O’Hare Airport (Terminals 1-3) and Block 37 in downtown Chicago. The Boring Company aims to alleviate soul-destroying traffic by constructing safe, affordable, and environmentally-friendly public transportation systems.

    What is Loop?
    Loop is a high-speed underground public transportation system in which passengers are transported on autonomous electric skates traveling at 125-150 miles per hour. Electric skates will carry between 8 and 16 passengers, or a single passenger vehicle. See FAQ for additional information.

    What is an electric skate?

    Electric skates are public transportation vehicles built on a modified Tesla Model X chassis. Electric skates are:

    • Safe. Electric skates are based on the Tesla Model X, ... The Chicago Express Loop's skates will be mechanically confined to a concrete track within the tunnel and operate under safety approvals issued by both federal and state agencies.
    • High-speed. Electric skates can travel at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour.
    • All-electric. Electric skates are battery-powered, zero-emissions vehicles.
  18. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    That's not really the Boring Co. concept, but rather a modification of that. The original concept video showed mostly single cars being carried on the "skates", like giant slot cars running thru the tunnels, with only an occasional bus-like passenger pod in the traffic. The concept described here is all passenger pods. That would at least bring it closer to mass transit, altho only 8-16 passengers per pod still sounds like it would largely be a waste of resources and funding.

    I'm very far from convinced that the system will be built and operate as described, but we will see what happens. It's pretty obvious that with such low passenger density, it couldn't even remotely come near paying for itself; it would have to be heavily subsidized, and I seriously doubt that would last for many years. Long story short: If built, this will be just another boondoggle.

    Far better to let the Boring Co. dig the tunnels, if they can do it faster and/or cheaper than standard tunnel construction, and then install something much closer to a standard subway system in those tunnels.

  19. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    The website says that price will be less than half of a Uber/shared ride service but more than the blue train. An Uber from downtown to O'Hare can be as less as $25 and as high as $60 for the regular service. If they charge $15 per passenger, and an average of 6 passengers it is about $90 per ride. Not bad, but given the enorumous investment, will they be able to recover it? Your question is good. On the other hand, why would the Chicago Infrastructure Trust decide to go with Elon unless he had given them some sort of projections that he could do it without public investment? Normally for public work projects, you do not get into exclusive negotiations unless there has been considerable amount of due dillegence.

    Here is where I am struggling. The Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM) have been around for quite some time and have been used in the Channel Tunnel and other high profile projects. The Boring Company does not make TBMs, they buy it from one of the manufacturers. So they do not have any special technology that is exclusive to them, at least nothing that I can see. So I am not sure they can build the tunnel faster or cheaper, where they could have an advantage is what they put in after the tunnel is built.

    What The Boring Company is offering is a turnkey package, Design, Build and Operate (DBO). Bechtel, SNC_Lavlin and others have been doing DBO for years. Bechtel is doing a Light Rail Project in Edmonton, Canada. Eurotunnel has built a tunnel under the sea and operate a rail service there. So to that extent, others have better experience in the design build and operate experience. Where the Boring Company has a innovation niche is the transportation mechanism, Electric Skates vs rail (heavy rail or light rail). My guess is the total infrastructure cost for rail will be much higher than that of the electric skates concept. That is where I think that the Boring company is making a pitch, not really on the tunneling technology but on the transportation technology.
  20. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    I did some research and it appears that the first he Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM) that the Boring Company has, is a conventional TBM. They claim that the second one was the going to be a conventional one + improvements that Elon did. and that will make it 2 to 3 times faster than the conventional one. The third one will be designed ground up and will be 10-15 times faster than a conventional one, which will be revolution in the construction industry. If that is true, then yes Elon will be do it faster than anyone else. They have three today, but I cannot find any reference that third one is 10 times faster or that the second one is 2 times faster. Not saying it is not, I just cannot find any reference to that. So it could be vaporware that Elon has better technology. Or The Boring Company could have better technology than what Bechtel or Fluor or others can get their hands on. So as usual Elon is playing it close to the vest and only time will tell if he can also make a difference to mass transportation.

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