[FoRK] LA Traffic - solution?

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri Aug 31 09:40:52 PDT 2012

On Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 12:28:43PM -0400, Bill Kearney wrote:
>> High speed rail seems to be going forward in California.  If it is truly
>> fast, it probably is worth it because of the dual massive population
>> centers and mostly unpopulated land in between.  However, it doesn't
>> make sense to create a full train network beyond that. Efficient
>> automated shared / multiplexed electric self-driving vehicles seem
>> perfect and reuse the roads that are fundamental.
> High speed rail doesn't really make sense at all.  There's really no  

Au contraire, TGV or ICE or Shinkansen do what they do very well,
and economically, and only use electrons for propulsion. If I look
out my window at work right now, I see 20 rail tracks side by
side, and plenty of dead space (the 3-4 wild rabbits don't seem
to consider it dead, though) by the side to put solar panels on.

Notice that train travel time is productive, since you can
read or work.

> actual "NEED" for most of that travel.  Certainly not at a high speed.  

Short-distance commute doesn't need high-speed (I commute by 
bike in ~50 min, by train including walking and waiting it's
the same), but if you want to beat flying, high-speed trains
are the only game in down. It's too bad there are less drive-on
drive-off car trains today, it really made longer-distance
travel far more enjoyable.

> Too much behavior is centered around traveling distances on a whim.  

You will notice that neigher France nor Germany nor Japan are 
based around driving crazy distances, yet they still have good
high-speed rail infrastructure.

> They're doing it now because they "can" not because of any real need.  
> Certainly not ones supported by realistic economic factors.  Take the  
> artificial cheapness out of it and you're on your way to drastically  
> altering behaviors.
> Moves toward personal electric make much more sense.  They accomplish  

Entry to personal electric is ~10 kUSD cars which can cover >150 km
on single charge, and a charging station in every garage. 
That's infrastructure, and multiple 10 GUSD for France alone.

> two goals, one being breaking the habit of travel over unnecessary  
> distances on a regular basis.  The other being reduction/elimination of  
> end-use burning of fuels.
> Commuting from distances greater than electric vehicle capacity would be  
> made even more obviously stupid than it already is.  The argument needs  
> to turn from "the cars can't go far enough" toward "it's stupid to be  
> traveling that far for anything other than an exceptional basis."  I  
> don't expect that to happen in the current generation of the population.
> We've been spoiled by the artifical cheapness of traveling the wide open  
> spaces.  That time is rapidly approaching it's end.

Maybe Oculus Rift will make a dent into virtual collaborative environments,
but I'm not holding my breath. Too much primate dominance display at work.

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