[FoRK] LA Traffic - solution?

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Thu Aug 30 12:48:16 PDT 2012

Any bus-only solution is not competitive with any solution that involves 
options of {car,bike,Segway} for the last block/mile (or several miles 
probably for the bulk of LA sources and destinations).

In NYC, even though you have super density, the subway is so slow that 
except for more than a few miles, I'd generally rather walk. I would 
certainly rather ride a bike if I had a way to store it.

In Silicon Valley, VTA's Light Rail seems nice, but takes an hour to go 
15 miles, plus walk time (0 on one end and 1 mile on the other for me).  
That 15 miles takes about 15 minutes with no traffic, even including a 
good percentage of city streets.  It takes about 25-50 minutes with 
typical rush hour traffic.  Taking a series of buses would be worse.  I 
suspect the bus situation between two random points in LA is likely worse.

I can take Caltrain which is reasonably fast, but I have 1.1 miles on my 
end and 1 mile on the other.  Fine with a bike, except for the sometimes 
not frequent enough runs.  I'm on the edge of just biking the whole way 
since I have a shower at work, and I otherwise have spotty time to work out.

Anyway, the diffuse bus solution is not competitive.  You need constant 
directed speed between an endpoint and a major terminal. A meandering 
bus with too many stops and too long to get on/off doesn't cut it.  That 
should be less than 3 miles via car, bike, skate, segway, or walk/run.  
Between terminals, you need uninterrupted maximum ground speed.  That 
solution provides speeds competitive with driving the route off peak 
while allowing for potentially better volume.

Certainly, eventually we will want to go down to one or two person 
self-driving local modules.  For bulk transport, the bus / train 
equivalent of a wide-body jet is good if the ingress / egress time is 
minimized or pipelined.  My point was to have a varied fleet so that you 
don't make people wait to look to fill a bus yet you run pretty much 24 


On 8/30/12 12:24 PM, Damien Morton wrote:
> Or dispense with huge buses, and go for minbus services.
> Less people per bus, more buses on the road, more varied routes, and
> less wait times
> On Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 3:04 PM, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
>> LA should have a subway system.  But the problem with subway systems is that
>> you have to have quite a few branches and stops to handle a diffuse area and
>> they are very expensive to build.  Especially close to shore where there's
>> like water table issues, etc.
>> LA seems to suffer in a major way from bottlenecks to get from zone to zone,
>> neighborhood to neighborhood.  And, because everything is so spread out, you
>> often can't easily walk the "last block" on each end.
>> Yet, we have some modern conveniences not realized in the past: ZipCar etc.,
>> Segways, etc. that have been underused.
>> I suggest that LA have dedicated high speed buses to parking / car sharing /
>> micro-rental lots, preferably with very rapid park-and-ride.  Use efficient
>> valets if necessary (turn gas guzzling into employment), with mobile apps
>> for indicating ahead of time that you will be arriving and need your vehicle
>> ready.  After proof of concept phase, invest in automated garages, moving
>> platform entry/exit, etc.
>> Each bus should supply power, Internet, a tablet-level computer with local
>> web cache, bathroom, etc.  Carry any number of bikes and also support
>> scalable bike storage on each end (some people could just own 2 bikes).
>> The rapid buses (zoom bus = zus?, bus busy business = busi?, bus commute
>> verb = busted, plane efficiency for ground travel = low flight, grounded
>> flight, rapid taxi, taxi-way, surface flight, flit) should get dedicated
>> lanes or lights or something and should travel at top speed (65 minimum, use
>> technology to make 80+ possible) with plane-like take and landing ramps at
>> each end, not slow local streets.  Mix mega buses with standard and mini and
>> limo-size down to minivan.  Mix and match to handle volume efficiently with
>> a very short average wait until takeoff.
>> Then, at each of a small number of rapid bus endpoints, thoroughly support
>> diversified competitive vehicle sharing, swapping, rental, etc.  Do this
>> with an umbrella of security cameras, electronic tracking, reputation
>> system, Lo-Jack, GPS, live video, mobile Internet, etc.  Make it virtually
>> impossible to get away with theft, violence, etc.  Self-insure a bit from
>> fees, etc.
>> Support not only cross shared, rented, and parked vehicles and bicycles, but
>> also Segways, inline skates, scooters, etc.  Create very minimal drop-off
>> points all over, just concrete pads with lockup, security camera, touch
>> panel, hotspot.
>> Charge enough to make the system solvent, but be ruthless about optimization
>> and charging as little as possible.
>> Have affinity buses at certain times (being very careful about potential
>> problems): student vs. college kids vs. professionals, concert traffic, etc.
>> Use the lack of subways as an advantage.  Drastically reduce highway
>> traffic.  Improve range and available time for everyone.
>> sdw

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