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#26 2019-03-14 06:43:01

elderflower
Member
Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 1,087

Re: Musk Specs

No amount of electric cars will solve large city congestion problems on their own. They can be used in tunnels, of course, but given the need to evacuate products of combustion in the event of a fire, you still need large ventilation systems, so the tunnels can accommodate IC engined vehicles as well.
The only tried and tested solution to big city vehicle congestion is underground railways. Through traffic can be diverted via bypasses (which bring their own problems), but that isn't enough as big cities are a source and destination of overwhelming traffic.

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#27 2019-03-14 20:05:00

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,492
Website

Re: Musk Specs

Within big cities,  some sort of rail transit makes sense,  combined with some bus service to help get folks to the rail stops.  Unless you put a stop in every single mall,  like the Japanese.  That could be done here in the US,  but it would be an expensive retrofit.  Many US cities long ago had light rail as "trolley cars",  but those were all gone by about 1960-ish.

Between the cities,  the problem in the US is not the lack or presence of rail lines (we have them),  but it is speeds restricted by lack of track maintenance,  and it is getting people to use the train instead of driving. 

Poor track maintenance is just being too cheap.  A federal standard for that would fix that problem.  A century ago,  steam trains ran up to 100 mph on track not as tough as today's.  That's a real pounding by a steam locomotive (not a problem anymore),  and so the track also required frequent maintenance. The rails are tougher today because freight trains are longer and freight cars heavier than a century ago.

Getting people to use it is a matter of convenience vs hassle.  You have to somehow store your car when you go to the RR station.  Then when you get to your destination,  you have to rent a car to get where you want to go from that station.  Enormous hassle.  Having in-city transit alleviates some of that,  but not all of it.

But,  what if you drove your car onto the train and took it with you?  Think a club or dinner car (or cars) plus a flat car for each RR station carrying the automobiles.  You uncouple the appropriate flat car at its RR station,  and couple up the one from that station.  Loading and unloading the automobiles those flat cars carry need not delay the train at all. 

At 100 mph travel speeds,  the trip is faster than by car on the interstates.  Plus it's a hell of a lot more comfortable.  The scheduling of passenger service vs the typically-slower freight gets complicated,  but they are already doing that with AMTRAK now.  Here in Texas AMTRAK ran 70-80 mph between stops when I rode it,  and 80-90 in Illinois.  It was on badly maintained tracks in Arkansas and Missouri that it ran 20-30 mph.

What I propose here is doable,  with only a required upgrade in track maintenance.  No new routes.  No elevated railways,  no underground tunnelling.  No condemnation by eminent domain of massive amounts of private land.  Just use and upgrade what already exists. 

I think the reason no one proposes such,  is that it completely excludes the need for multi-billion-dollar boondoggles,  while easily solving what has always been considered a hard technical problem.

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2019-03-14 20:10:05)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#28 2019-03-14 21:57:54

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,717

Re: Musk Specs

What if we just had enough buses and taxis patrolling the cities like Police vehicles, except more of them and GPS-equipped so that passengers with appropriate apps that show their current locations, next stops, and rate of travel can easily find them and learn their schedules?

I've noticed that I never have a problem getting to or from an airport by taxi or rental car.  Why can't we expand that service to bus and railway stations?

That way, you don't have to take any cars with you.  That seems like a lot more hassle than having readily available transportation on both ends of your transit.

In the US Army, and European armies for that matter, drivers with training in railhead operations are required to drive tanks and other military vehicles onto railcars.  We'll invariably have incompetent drivers causing accidents that damage or destroy their vehicle or other vehicles if we allow people to load private vehicles onto railcars without training.  If we have trained drivers do it, then we have liability and time delay problems.  If we have some kind of automated lift system, then people are inevitably going to be crushed by the vehicles or lift systems used and they also have to make their way to the passenger cars after the vehicle loading operation is completed.  Perhaps this might work in the future with AI-enabled vehicles using railhead operations software.

Passengers and cargo need separate railways with trains that only move in one direction, like a race track.  Alternatively, railway cargo needs to be handled like air freight instead of the CONEX box system for ships and railways so that the cargo is inside aerodynamic railcars that can make the transits at the same speed as the passenger trains.  That cargo handling system could be used as the testbed for automated vehicle handling technology.  In any event, one-way traffic precludes accidents associated with trains moving in opposite directions.  That's how the Japanese do it.  The trains also need to be GPS-equipped so that Police and Fire Rescue units can descend on their location if there's an accident or terrorist incident.

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#29 2019-03-15 03:37:06

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,668
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Re: Musk Specs

kbd512 wrote:

What if we just had enough buses and taxis patrolling the cities like Police vehicles, except more of them and GPS-equipped so that passengers with appropriate apps that show their current locations, next stops, and rate of travel can easily find them and learn their schedules?

Here in my city, Winnipeg Transit does have an app. It provides a map of transit routes, when the next bus or buses will arrive at a particular stop, and most importantly a trip planner. Google Maps has a feature to plan a trip from one destination to another. Winnipeg Transit's "bus app" does the same. And you can select "current location" from a smart phone. It gives several alternate routes, options to select destination time, departure time, or "now". Buses are GPS equipped, the app tries to estimate arrival time on actual current location of buses.

Both taxi services in this city also have an app. Uber doesn't operate here, but there are a few Uber knock-offs. I started using one when the taxi service hiked fare to the airport. There are two airports: Winnipeg International Airport services major airlines, and can handle 747 aircraft and other major airliners. It made the news when 747 was new, the airport had to purchase farmland to extend one runway to handle a 747. I believe the new terminal building has been equipped to handle A380 aircraft. The airline I use most of the time has propeller aircraft, because number of passengers is fewer, and runways for small northern communities is short and gravel. That airline is the only one with their own terminal building. A couple city bus routes service the main terminal building, and a couple other bus routes service Perimeter Aviation's small terminal building.

The other airport is outside the city; it services much smaller aircraft. There are a number of private aircraft, and a couple pilot training schools. The airline that I fly from there has much smaller single engine propeller aircraft. City transit service doesn't go to the town of St Andrews and their airport, but taxis do. I use TappCar, the local Uber knock-off. The app for TappCar does show current location of cars. Northway Aviation offers at a free shuttle bus service. I use TappCar to get to the St Andrews airport, but the free shuttle bus to get home. The shuttle bus literally drops me off in front of my house.

My vehicle requires a lot of repair, but at the price the International Airport charges for parking, I wouldn't take my car anyway.

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#30 2019-03-15 03:59:04

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,668
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Re: Musk Specs

I had thought of city transit in the 1980s. Modern smartphones would make it work even better. It wouldn't work for a city the size of Winnipeg (704,000 people by 2016 census, 778,000 in greater metropolitan area), but would for Toronto (2,731,000 city, 5,928,000 greater metropolitan area). I rounded down population figures to an even thousand.

The idea is to build a new housing subdivision a significant distance away, ideally on land not suitable for agriculture. Built it with no street, instead a grass park where the street would go. Houses would have a back lane, but no private vehicles allowed, only service vehicles or moving van/truck. Under the backlane would go a small subway, with car-size rail cars. Each house would have it's own subway station the size of a single car garage; underground and with a door to the house basement. You could even run utility lines in a trough off the subway tunnel: power, telephone, cable TV, internet. Water in a separate trough from electrical wires. Garbage trucks could run down the subway tunnel. This means no surface vehicles, safe for children.

Rail taxi cars would be run by computer. Order with a smartphone app. It could be connected to the existing subway system. Computer run rail taxis would cluster together into an ad-hoc train to enter tunnels where full-size subway trains run. Smartphones solve another problem: you would have to have your app running and smartphone in hand when ordering a taxi to pick you up at a subway station for trains. The taxi would stop very briefly for you to get in; if you're not there it will leave. Can't have taxis blocking the train. But using existing subway tunnels means no need for new tunnels in the downtown.

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#31 2019-03-15 11:57:07

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 572

Re: Musk Specs

For RobertDyck re #30 above ...

Your plan seems appropriate for a Martian city, where activities of most kinds would best be carried out underground.

I particularly like the feature of having a subway stop at every home.   Next up would be routing utility services along the tunnel, although I would recommend making sure all such lines are easily accessible for maintenance personnel.   Experience of cities on Earth seems to show that ALL lines must be replaced periodically, although some water lines where I live are said/reported to be 100 years old or more. 

(th)

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#32 2019-03-15 16:37:18

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,012
Website

Re: Musk Specs

For getting around a city, I'd use cut-and-cover tunnels for e-bikes (and scooters) that are limited to 12mph. A lot faster than walking, and protected from the vagaries of weather. Off-ramps every block. If the city is laid out on a 3x3 mile grid, you can get from anywhere to anywhere within half an hour - 15 minutes to the center from any point on the edge. Add rail as appropriate.

There is no point carrying the full car with you if you're in a tunnel. You don't need all that bodywork to protect you from the environment.

Last edited by Terraformer (2019-03-15 16:38:14)


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#33 2019-03-15 17:52:27

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,717

Re: Musk Specs

Terraformer,

All that body work is there to protect you from the pavement and other vehicles.  Have you even met a motorcycle rider who hasn't laid one down?  Everyone I know of who rides has at least once.  Probably won't stop them from doing it again...  Until it does.  Even my wife has done it, albeit in Viet Nam.  She's also burnt the crap out of her leg, which hopefully won't happen with an electric motorcycle.  When I was a kid, we routinely crashed our bicycles.  Maybe we were jumping off things and whatnot, but it does happen.  Who didn't want to be Evel Knievel when they were 10?

Anybody can jump a motorcycle.  The trouble begins when you try to land it. - Evel Knievel

Apart from what not to do, I can't say we learned much.  Somehow we lived through it.  One of the things I did learn is that the pavement is really hard.  We never had any helmets or pads.  The pain was just part of the "learning process".  School of hard knocks?  Anyway, the quads were great fun, if a little noisy, and definitely more stable than our bicycles or dirt bikes.  However, if one fell on you or you fell off of it, then it was definitely going to leave a mark.  They go up sand dunes really well, though.

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#34 2019-03-15 18:14:29

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,501
Website

Re: Musk Specs

I think the idea in this case is that the speeds would be much slower than a typical road and that the rights-of-way would be limited to vehicles of comparable speed and size.  Being a bike on a 30 mph road with sedans and SUVs is extremely dangerous.  Being an e-bike or e-scooter on a 12 mph road with only e-bikes or e-scooters is safer for everyone.


-Josh

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#35 2019-03-15 18:34:11

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 572

Re: Musk Specs

Following up with RobertDyck #30 (noting Terraformer, kbd512 and JoshNH4H contributions)

Because you opened with a summary of your vision, there is (most likely) some detail to be added.

By any chance, could your original vision for air movement within the tunnels be adapted to the Martian case?    On Earth, I get the impression that periodic air vents to the surface are often part of the design, where physical obstructions are not prohibitive.  In the case of Mars, that does not appear (to me at least) to be an option.

(th)

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#36 2019-03-15 18:39:06

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,049

Re: Musk Specs

This is the hyperloop boring company stuff that mush has already started on for carrying vehicles from remote places to the inner city.

Will post the link once I find it as its a Louis topic.

Edit only one of the topics was and the other was from Void.

Hyperloop, Earth/Mars

Musk is Boring...

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#37 2019-03-15 18:55:12

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,668
Website

Re: Musk Specs

Are we talking about cities on Earth, or Mars? These are quite different. Earth has existing infrastructure, much of which was shaped by greedy corporate interests. In the US, corporations bought city transit systems using street cars, dismantled them. These corporate interests wanted to sell private cars, car parts, gasoline/diesel fuel, rubber tires. Public transit systems meant individuals did not need to purchase private vehicles. Many realize the folly of that, but prejudice persists.

Here in my city we used to have electric buses powered by overhead wires, called trolley buses. That system was dismantled in 1970. The excuse was doing so would allow the city electric utility to sell their largest hydro-electric dam to the province owned electric utility. Money from that sale paid off the city debt. But very quickly the city spent itself back into debt, the debt was larger than before the sale. So we still have debt, and no electric buses. Winnipeg has long known it has a problem with transit. In the 1950s the city hired an architect to design a full subway system. It was too expensive, so wasn't built. Over the decades there have been various proposals for rapid transit, but nothing was built. In recent years the city was shamed; it's the largest city in North America with no rapid transit system of any sort what so ever. The city had detailed plans for an LRT system. The federal government offered $600 million on condition they build an LRT, but they didn't. The city did build what they call "Bus Rapid Transit" (BRT). This is just a road dedicated for buses. That road has some stations like LRT stations, but it's only one road and not long enough for any single bus route. All buses must leave the BRT road and drive on normal city streets for most of their route. Politicians claim the BRT could be converted to a real LRT, but doing so means digging up the pavement and laying down tracks. To make matters worse, one railroad sold a rail yard. Both major railways don't like the city, they have a mandate from the federal government so the city can't expropriate their land. The city keep making plans to take their rail lines, convert to rapid transit. This one rail yard was sold to a private businessman, who immediately offered it to the city at cost. The railroad was incensed! It could have been the city's first LRT line. But then the businessman realized how valuable the tracks were. He ripped up the tracks, sold them as scrap metal. He made a profit, then offered the land to the city free of charge. The city agreed; they like the sound of "free". That land is now a public walkway, but it could have been an LRT. Currently the federal government once again is offering money: $532 million, again on condition they build a real LRT. The city has not accepted.

On Mars, we are starting over. We can build anything we want. Transportation on Earth evolved from horses and horse-drawn buggies to automobiles. At first those cars had to drive on dirt roads. And cars have air for their engine to breathe, and cars can have open cabins for passengers to breathe. Difference between rural and urban is a gradual increase in buildings. On Mars, there is no breathable air; not for engines or people. Difference between "outback" and city is a hard pressurized wall. You don't want Mars surface rovers driving inside a pressurized habitat. And because pressurized habitat is expensive, expect Mars communities to be tightly built. I have said don't expect a pressurized dome, instead a pressurized building like a shopping mall. Do gasoline or diesel fueled cars drive inside a mall? No. So expect some sort of mass transit inside the town or city, but pressurized rovers outside. Rovers built for the ultimate in off-road driving.

So options inside a Mars community: airport moving walkways, "people mover" bus size autonomous rail transit, full-size subway, elevators (lifts), or individual pods like Heathrow Ultra pod. Although I prefer rail to rubber tires on concrete. Steel wheels on steel rails have less rolling resistance, you don't have to worry about steering (just start/stop and track switching), wheels don't wear out nearly as quickly as rubber, and Mars doesn't have oil so rubber will be much more expensive.
300px-ULTraPodHeathrowAirport.jpg

I could post other ideas under development. Above has been in operation since 2011. Under development:
Dubai-POD3-450x325.jpg 25955.jpg masdar-city.jpg RTAdriverless_0.jpg?itok=QuUY8lN4

Last edited by RobertDyck (2019-03-16 14:11:52)

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#38 2019-03-15 20:37:57

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 572

Re: Musk Specs

For RobertDyck ...

Thanks for expanding on your concept for underground transportation, both on Earth and on Mars.

I am focusing on Mars, but am definitely interested in discussion of how the same concepts can work on both planets (with adaptations)

RobertDyck wrote:

Are we talking about cities on Earth, or Mars?
...
On Mars, we are starting over.
...
want Mars surface rovers driving inside a pressurized habitat. And because pressurized habitat is expensive, expect Mars communities to be tightly built. I have said don't expect a pressurized dome, instead a pressurized building like a shopping mall. Do gasoline or diesel fueled cars drive inside a mall? No. So expect some sort of mass transit inside the town or city, but pressurized rovers outside. Rovers built for the ultimate in off-road driving.
...

I'd like to offer an observation here .... An underground tunnel network (on Mars, the Moon or many other locations (eg Ceres for Terraformer)) which is designed for foot traffic or slow electric vehicle movement, would necessarily require a community effort to fund and maintain breathable atmosphere.

By observation, I can imagine a community which is unable to afford (or chooses NOT to afford) breathable air in their tunnel complex. 

Also by observation, I can imagine a community that starts with a fancy breathable air tunnel network, but loses it due to a variety of factors.

Where I am headed with this is a counterpoint to your prediction there wouldn't be pressurized vehicles inside the tunnels.

The cheapest solution for a tunnel transportation network on Mars would be to allow the tunnels to hold Mars atmosphere.  In that case, ventilation shafts to the surface would make sense, and each subway stop for a home or business would be a docking port.

Stretching this scenario just a bit, I can imagine a variety of combinations of pressurized and unpressurized tunnels in communities of various sizes.

(th)

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#39 2019-03-16 04:05:28

Terraformer
Member
From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,012
Website

Re: Musk Specs

For transit between settlements, it doesn't make sense to pressurise the tunnels if we have them (we'll probably have something, to protect the tracks from windblown dust). That just adds air resistance and a lot of complexity. Plus, iron ore and water and other commodities don't need a breathable atmosphere.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#40 2019-03-16 05:27:11

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,565

Re: Musk Specs

Some comments on people's observations.

There is no particular need to build tunnels on Mars. A variety of pressurised electric vehicles would do the transport job well. Some journeys might well be within pressurised hab space, using connecting walkways, travelators or fast moving pods. Congestion would not be an issue. For any population there is a finite amount of journeys that will need to be undertaken by passenger or cargo carrying vehicles. The problem with Earth cities is that because of land/property values and asethetics, we tend to allocate insufficient road space. There will be no pedestrian traffic outside to speak of on Mars. Self-drive cars can be programmed by the system to avoid crashes, so no need for traffic lights.

There would be double or triple air locks for pressurised vehicles, so there would be no issue of dust contact as was experience on the Moon with the primitive EVA experience.

Road surfacing may be an issue but I think it will be a soluble one.

If settlements become v. large I can see the argument for Hyperloop tunnels. Similarly for transport between settlements as air transport will not be so practical on Mars (although rocket hoppers/intraplanetary Starships will be an alternative).


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#41 2019-03-16 08:13:04

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 572

Re: Musk Specs

For Louis ...

I went back to see how you started this thread ... it sure has drifted from your opening.

louis wrote:

Put on Musk's X Ray Specs and things always look different:

"Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day."

In your recent post to which I am responding (#40), you made an assertion which I found surprising, because I had been thinking exclusively about human habitation in the context of Sagan City (2018), which (currently) features 1 km square plots WITHOUT roads on the surface.

You said:

There is no particular need to build tunnels on Mars.

My guess is that you are thinking of movement between settlements.

In contrast, I think that EVERY human habitation will be constructed to be well protected from radiation.   Some construction will be done so that habitat and transportation conduits will be well underground, and some will be done on the surface and then protected with layers of regolith.

In both cases, the humans living inside will be limited to video display views of the surface, or of Earth scenes that might remind them of home, or perhaps new display concepts that would evolve as a response to the state of living so far from Earth.

In recent times, forum members have posted concepts for dynamic anti-radiation systems, and those may well come into being, so that residents on Mars can safely spend time at the surface, but (my guess is) the safety of underground protection will be the default mode of living for a considerable time.

So, Mr. Musk's X-Ray vision would be seeing lots of tunnels under the surface of Sagan City, and elsewhere on Mars.

(th)

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