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Current mass transit relies on subsidies - Can't we come up with a better solution?

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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-19-11 10:15 AM
Original message
Current mass transit relies on subsidies - Can't we come up with a better solution?
In the 1970s the USA searched for the best public transit option and Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) won in the form of "Cabintaxi" -- a German/US venture that was fully developed, licensed by the German transit authorities, fully safety tested but when the US pulled out and demanded higher NATO fees from allies (including Germany) the German government dropped the project due to budget concerns. Detroit, of all places, was pushing for Cabintaxi urban transit but dropped it when the US government pulled out of the program.

A German PRT of the 1970-80s

aka "Cabinentaxi"

Was "Installation-Ready"

Victim of Cold War Budgeting

http://kinetic.seattle.wa.us/nxtlevel/prt/cabintaxi.htm...
More info, pictures, a video and study related info at the link.


Cabintaxi was designed to handle multiple vehicle sizes:

* a 4 passenger "personal" taxi
* both a 12 and 18 passenger vehicle
* to increase total riders on busy routes the 12-passenger vehicle can be linked with another 12-passenger unit
* likewise, the 18 passenger models could be linked with one other like-sized vehicle
* and finally, a version designed for standing passengers only, no seats. I get an image of the tokyo subway system when I think of this.


The track was also designed to have vehicles both on top and below (suspended from) the guideway, doubling the capacity. This makes Cabintaxi the most flexible mass transit system ever designed. Its numerous variations gave Cabintaxi far more technology adaptability than any other urban transit technology ever developed.

Why are we stuck with 100 year old technology (buses and light rail) when Cabintaxi is both more convenient and more flexible -- and isn't dependent on draining funds from the tax payers just to stay afloat.
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-11 04:01 PM
Response to Original message
1. Current highway system relies on subsidies, too.
Edited on Thu Jul-21-11 04:01 PM by KamaAina
Great, big, fat ones, often disguised as gas taxes, vehicle license fees and the like. Worse still, the hot new trend is to sell our toll highways off to foreign investors. It's already happened in Indiana, and Kasich's ready to do it in Ohio, too. :scared:

There is NO form of transit that does not depend on some form of government subsidy. Airlines, for instance, constantly lose money and have to be bailed out, or merged into what will soon be one giant carrier, every few years.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-11 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I agree with everything you've written but can you relate that to the OP?
18 wheelers do 2900 times the damage to the roads and freeways that personal vehicles do. They do not pay 2900 times the license fees, nor pay 2900 the gas tax. That is a defacto subsidy to the trucking industry.

PRT removes all those overt and covert subsidies and does it with just a fraction of the energy use.
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Kennah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-26-11 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. 18 wheelers to personal vehicles isn't a good comparison
18 wheelers move cargo.

Personal vehicles move people.

18 wheelers and rail would be a better comparison.

You do make a good point about the damage 18 wheelers do to the roads and freeways. A use tax or mileage tax has been talked about in various places; however, a better solution might be an impact tax that assesses both the mileage and the impact by the vehicle in question.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-26-11 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Thanks for your input
But your solution is just a bandaid. Politicians are too easily bought and if the Rebukes ever get back in power you know all those "middle-class friendly" rules go out the window.

I prefer a permanent solution: Personal Rapid Transit.

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Kennah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 03:52 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. One could have made the same argument about CAFE back in 1978
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-11 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. We had time for baby steps in 1978. Now we no longer have that luxury. It is do or die.
Half measures for global climate change will only slow down the inevitable or do nothing at all.

We have no more time for tinkering around the edges. It's time to push straight through, making sweeping changes long overdue, that is the only way we will arrive at the year 2100 as a technological civilization.
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Kennah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-11 03:45 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. On that, we very much agree, but ...
... I just wish I were as optimistic as you about civilization reaching 2100. I'm skittish about 2050.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-11 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. I grew up in a different time, optimism was the prevailing attitude
My high school social studies teacher told the class that the American worker was increasing productivity so much that we will soon have a 4 day work week and probably not be allowed to work more than 6 hours a day. Am I bitter that the rich have stolen that lifestyle from us? You betcha ;-)

But the optimism programming still stuck and I've personally seen (in my 50 years) such great improvement. My sister almost died from whooping cough (Pertussis) and now kids are vaccinated against it. Before my time but Tuberculosis is no longer a killer, having been practically eradicated in almost all parts of the world. There is so much more to do but I see the improvements more than the isolated cases of our failings.

The waste that we can fairly inexpensively eliminate (or at least drastically reduce) is glaring. I've written the few examples that stick out in my mind on a number of occasions and I know for a fact that there are intelligent people in manufacturing, housing, etc., who could think up dozens more areas where we needlessly waste energy and make use of renewable energy in ways that I could never imagine.
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Kennah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-26-11 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. The taxes don't even cover roads. They have to go into general treasuries to pay for them.
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