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Commuting Tomorrow


Which is the most likely mode of transport in future?  

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  1. 1. Which is the most likely mode of transport in future?

    • Flying cars
    • Rapid personal transport
    • Teleporting
    • Any other, please tell it

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Commuting to and from the workplace consumes a lot of time and effort for many of us who reside in a metropolitan city. Often we are struck in a traffic jam. The situation, if it does not undergo, revolution is most likely to worsen in future. What are the likely solutions to this problem?


I was recently watching a programme on the Discovery channel. Must say it is mind boggling. The solutions that are being worked out range from flying cars to teleporting.


Let us share our opinions and information about this exciting topic!

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I would like to take the moment to talk about a concept, which I was certain I had discussed previous, but apparently that is a figment in my head. :shrug:


Maglev mass transit. Cheap (after initial investment, and send-in rebate :D), fast, low maintainence, low power needs.


The idea is a sort of pod based concept. You have a network of computer controlled maglev pods, you have stations (replace them finicky parking lots) where passangers can board. Each pod is either in motion (while being used0 or parked and awaiting passangers (off the path of the moving pods). A passanger shore up cargo and boards. At this point the passanger types in a destination (much like how one uses a phone) and the Pod control computes the best (fastest, safest) path and the pod goes along it's merry little way.


Smooth acceleration, high top speed, low drag co-efficient, high efficency, low power cost.


I would venture to guess that the system could be made up of Contential (sub-contential to sub-contential), Sub-contential (state to state), State (region to region), Regional (county to county), County (city to city), and City (destination to destination) level systems. I don't know how possible trans-contential is but let's put it on the floor for consideration.


It has been purposed to me that the rails could not switch, and that the pods would have to be linear. I doubt the validity of this but what are some work arounds for switching a p-mag rail and why can't a maglev pod curve or otherwise turn?

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Great discussion idea Hallen. I too find fewer things more frustrating than traffic congestion.

I've heard them talking about magnetic highways here and there.


experimental transportation system in which a magnetic field is used to power the electric motors in cars and buses. Electric power is transferred without contact from underground cables to a metal plate descending from the vehicles. When the vehicle leaves the highway, the plate retracts and the energy left in the battery powers the vehicle as it drives through…

Magnetic highway --* Britannica Student Encyclopedia



Also, here is a great link about the MAGLEV kickassclown was talking about


MAGLEV New Mode of Transport


this is to counter pgrmdaves concern:

First, Maglev is a much better way to move people and freight than by existing modes. It is cheaper, faster, not congested, and has a much longer service life. A Maglev guideway can transport tens of thousands of passengers per day along with thousands of piggyback trucks and automobiles. Maglev operating costs will be only 3 cents per passenger mile and 7 cents per ton mile, compared to 15 cents per passenger mile for airplanes, and 30 cents per ton mile for intercity trucks. Maglev guideways will last for 50 years or more with minimal maintenance, because there is no mechanical contact and wear, and because the vehicle loads are uniformly distributed, rather than concentrated at wheels. Similarly, Maglev vehicles will have much longer lifetimes than autos, trucks, and airplanes.


and there are 3 other good reasons why MAG-LEV should be used.



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While I think that the MAG-LEV is a great idea, the impression that I got from KAC was that there would be many, many tracks, all interwoven, and that an individual-sized pod would speed along, finding the quickest route. As a single, mass train, I like the idea. I worry when it becomes single 'cars' on the rail that aren't controllable by the user. Maybe I was wrong in my impression of what KAC meant.

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More or less you got my meaning. The pods would not be "individual" sized but rather more likely sized for either 6-8 people, I would think. Something like a cross between a bus, a van and a particle accelerator :weather_storm:.


Now I necessitate the removal of individual controls because the system I envision would operate routinely at speeds beyond human controllable constraints. (200-500 Km/h) It would not be safe for people to "drive" these things. Monitor? yes. Maintain? sure. Use? Absolutely. However, I am thinking of decentralized, redundant computer numeric controls. The tracks would be setup, and the pods operated such that the chance of mid-transit collision would be brought to as near as null as possible. This would finally seperate muscle power traffic from Vehicular traffic.


It would be made all the more ideal if the relativity drive turns out to be feasible, because then it would opperate entirely on p-magnet rail and couplings. The only powered component would be the drive itself. Talk about future tech. : sherlock :

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Flying is too expensive in terms of energy. Teleportation is impossible due to the uncertainty principle. The future of commuting is the route from the bedroom to a computer - many, many more people will telecommute.


I too like to telecommute rather than commute physically. But telecommuting for work has a distinct diadvantage, it kinda physically isolates the people from their office colleagues. That's something most people who have taken on SOHO often resent. A solution to that could be Small offices near residences of a number of workers. But, that will still leave out a number of people working in the manufacturing sector.


Somehow, I have a feeling that my idea of thought communication that I penned down in the thread Communication Tomorrow.:phones: may still prove out to be the best solution. Imagine people entering a special cell that facilitates them to view and talk to the person they want to without uttering a word or opening their eyelids. It would be meeting people virtually; so no need to commute in most situations. Leaving people to meet each other on holidays in idyllic mountains, near lakes or beeches :read: :sleeps: :beer: :cocktail: :ud:

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I think that telecommuting will be more and more feasible as computers become more powerful, and are able to do things like have good, realtime video streaming - or holographic depictions of people. I can imagine a time when most people have home offices, in which they have set up holographic devices which, when turned on, both project them into their co-worker's offices and project their co-workers into their office. This eliminates the need for commuting, and still provides the ability to effectively communicate both verbally and physically with your co-workers. While it wouldn't be perfect, and not every office would be able to do it, it would be a viable option for enough that it might make a difference.

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KAC - how would you handle bottle necks? There would still be a lot of people in the suburbs trying to get into the city, wouldn't you still have traffic bottlenecks, slowing down the system?


On a related note, what is the stopping distance for the mag-lev once it reaches top speed? I realize that your idea would be able to stop sooner, because it has less mass, but it seems to me that the stopping distance would be quite dangerous. The cars would also have to have a brake that could be controlled by the occupants within the cars, incase of any emergency that the computers couldn't recognize. (I don't want to seem like I'm just attacking your idea, I wouldn't bother putting this much thought into trying to understand an idea I didn't like at all :) )

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Well like with planes it would be necessary for the pods to have buffer space between them of a safe distance relative to their rate of speed. A brake in the pod would not be wise, that actually would likely increase causalities and fatalities.


A person hitting the windshield without a belt in a car going 35 mph acts much like a tomato. Now take and imagine a moment that a vehical weighting about as much as your average car, 600 kgs, stops in 5 seconds, while travelling at a velocity of 350 Km/h. in that time it would displace [math]486.11\overline{1}[/math] meters. Ammounting to total force of [math] F = ma = 600 \cdot \frac{97.2\overline{2} m}{5^2 s} = 2,328 netwons = 523.334 lbs[/math] distributed through out the vehical (that means passangers and other (mostly) free floating things). That is outside of limits of seat belts.


What this spells out is that a person can not safely control such a vehical in any real sense of the word. By the time a person could react to an emergency situation, they would already be dead, or they would simply cause more harm then they would prevent.


As some who have been in car accidents might know, 5 seconds is a long time. with that kind of velocity and mass coming to a stop in that time, that is a lot of internal and external force.


So the answer is that there would need to be near null chance of causuality during the lifetime of the system from standard operation.


The strengths is that this is transportation on rails. The computer would need to know, by multiple sources for safety reasons, where each vehical is, how fast it is going, where it came from, where it is going, and what it's route is. It's proximity of it from the other vehicals.


The system would take up the conventional road system, however it would be removed, once again for safety reasons, from pedestrian traffic. Unlike in the current system, it would not be an acceptable risk for a pedestrian to be able to go out on the travel surface. For multiple reasons, amongst them is that the track would be a strong P-magnet, preferably Neodymium magnet. If a vehical is travelling at a low speed of 150 Km/h, it would cross [math]41 \frac{2}{3}[/math] meters per second. that means in a little more than two seconds it would displace the length of a football field. Humans have a reaction time of as low as .3 seconds, and as high as 4.


By necessity the vehical system would need to be isolated, and strictly, percisely, and continiously controlled. If anyone had a brake for an unusual situation it would be a team of operators monitoring from one or more of the decentralized stations that I mentioned before. Much like Air traffic controllers.


Such is what is required for automated transportation. Total Quality Management. Failure is not an option.


I imagine that such a system would track it's vehicals by RFID as it passed along the track itself, by GPS, and laser check points.


The idea is that these pods would be seperated physically not only from the major population, but also from one another. If you need to go from chico to new york you would transfer first from the municiple level transit to the state level, to the nearest trans-national waystation (LA, San Fransico, Portland, (Trans-State Stop) Las Vegas, or other major cities) then pretty much directly from their to New York.


This is to optimize the flow of traffic from one place to another. Also these vehicals are mass transit, they would be owned publicly and used publicly. I am sorry but there is no place in automated transportation for personal transports, it is inefficient, and a major drain on the (world) community resources.


Most of the traffic problems we have here in california result from single person cars. That is cars with a single person in them. You compact the number of people per vehical and you can help to alleviate traffic congestion, hugely.


This is very much unlike the current systems in play because this system has very clearly defined boundries, rules, and degrees of freedom. Conventional systems have nearly unlimited degrees of freedom and as such have many variables which can't be accounted for, and therefore as of current can't be accurately and safetly controlled. So unlike cars this system can not accept the failure rates that are the hall mark of independent, motorized vehicals.


It takes elements from our Air Transportation, Highway, and Rail systems, seeking to combine them into a intimately controllable, safe, reliable, fast system.

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anyone considered personall transport eg. hover boots or mag lev boots where you are effectivly walking at high speeds and as you are not confined to follow "tracks" there are unlimited movement possibilities.There would also not be the LIM technique of conventional track going mag lev transport you would simply have a magnetic bed and by leaning forward backward side side you would trvel in the direction you lean becuase the forces that balance you out would not be equal hmmmm.?

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The way we move people around is going to look very much the same for a long time. We will come up with new contraptions, more efficiency, and better energy usage, but I do not see a huge shift in real transport coming any time soon.


The change will be in the option of NOT transporting. The Virtual Commute, is where things are going to grow. There is still no replacement for the fact to face meeting. But technology is growing fastest in telecommunications, and gadgets will come around that will make the virtual meeting as sensory friendly as the actual meeting. This of course opens a whole new can of worms for people, as the disipline of a workplace needs to become part of home. And spontanious collaberation that happens in a group environment needs to be available as well in the virtual world as well. Something very difficult to simulate.


My company just moved into a new building. We had previously worked in 2 buildings located a short walk apart. But the ability to spontaniously collaberate was hampered by the lack of direct proximity. Now in the new building everyone is practically just down the hall, so getting quick conversations to happen is a snap. And the giant cafe that was built for everyone gives an opportunity to mix and match even better. There are people who I cannot get on their calendar for weeks, but I can plop down next to them in the cafe and have a quick conversation unscheduled. It is one of the greatest lubricants of the business machine I have ever seen. And it is the standard that virtual companies need to reach to truly replace the need to commute to work.



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That adds a totally new dimension to the thread pgrmdave that of real estate, new spacious buildings cannot be constructed in big cities in the old locations where people may be residing without demolishing the old ones! The scenario that I can envision is employes of a megacorp all residing in a super structure, close to their place of work. Only in such a situation the scenario that you have painted can become a reality.

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