Response to happyslug (Reply #14)
Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:38 PM
jollyreaper2112 (1,940 posts)
South Florida is a real sprawlville. If we were to try an off-the-shelf solution tomorrow, I think it would have to involve a wide mix of buses, mini-buses and golf cart trains. Ever see them at a theme park? A drive cart in front, four or five tow cars connected in back.
Trains simply can't work because of the low density. Well, the might work for long-haul trips. West Palm to Miami? Bus to station, train between station, bus to destination. I don't think we even have rail service to Orlando. It does run to Tallahassee, though. But as it stands there's no good way to get to and from the station.
Regarding the shortcomings of past PRT designs, they're not really designed the same way as Skytran. Whether Skytran can deliver on promises made is an open question.
Stepping away from the question of which technology to use, I think the clear answer is that any mass transit solution needs to be:
1. Close to the time convenience of a car
2. Lower cost than the car
3. Not a bigger hassle than everything associated with the car.
In practical terms I think this means setting a maximum walk time from door to ride. 15 minutes seems to be the standard the cities shoot for.
The driverless car technology could be the breakthrough we need to make this practical, especially if we can use computers for selecting destinations and queuing vehicles. Need a ride? Hit the app. The bus will tell you when it gets to you. It could be as small as a minivan, it could be a glorified golf cart depending on where you're at. It'll pick up as many people as need rides along the way. Don't have a phone? Solar-powered bus stop signs will be everywhere. Swipe your transit card, tell it where you want to go, a vehicle will be summoned. If you can make this half as expensive as actually owning a car and have a ZIP car service for the few times a year you need a dedicated vehicle, people will do it.
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