This concept was invented and Engineered by 1990. I tried to get many large corporations to listen about TRANS in January 1991, but none had any interest at all! This presentation was first placed on the Internet in May 1997.
This TRANS system involves vehicles with interiors comparable in size to normal
SUVs, or with freight capacity of 1000 pounds, which travel at extremely high
speed, exactly 200.0 mph, INSIDE large concrete tubes, actually currently
used as five-foot-diameter sewer culverts, which they generally never even
touch because they "fly" inside the tubes (for extreme minimal
friction or drag losses), and where the energy source used is NOT any
fossil fuels! The entire journey is computer directed, so no driver is
necessary, and you arrive at your destination amazingly fast.
For longer trips, the time involved is comparable to a trip on an airliner.
Collisions or even traffic are virtually impossible. If you are told that you will arrive at your destination 38 miles away in 21 minutes and 20 seconds, you can count on it! The cost of either freight or passenger service can be less than 1/20 of current costs.
The vehicles have no engines, not gasoline, diesel,
electric or aircraft!
The air inside the sealed concrete tubes constantly flows at around 230 mph, so that the rear surface of the vehicle (about 18 square feet area, comparable to the frontal area of a modern car) gets PUSHED to move each vehicle at exactly 200.0 mph. An on-board computer monitors this exact speed and opens or closes air vents to let any excess 230-mph air to bleed by. This results in each vehicle always having about 85 pounds of available Thrust just in case it would ever even slightly slow down, but where the on-board computer would constantly adjust the amount of 230 mph air bleeding by to maintain precisely the desired 200.0-mph speed. The tubes also have bar-code monitors every mile so the system also constantly monitors the exact locattion and speed (and identity) of every vehicle, where either the system or the individual vehicle could send a vehicle out an "exit ramp" if it should ever even slightly slow down. The system bar-code monitoring computers also re-direct vehicles with "air switches" down other tubes to get to the exact destination that you desire, for either the people in the vehicle or the freight in it.
As passengers, no "driving" is necessary and so a quiet game of Parcheesi could be played, or a fine dinner (pre-prepared) could be enjoyed, or a nice nap taken by everyone. A family vacation might have the men ride in one pod to have a Poker game while their wives could ride in a separate pod to knit or read or gossip, and their children could ride in a third pod to play games! The concrete walls of the tubes eliminate any actual windows, but large flatscreen TVs on the inside pod walls could constantly display local tourist vistas, or the latest movies, or even the Eiffel Tower or the planet Saturn! Very enjoyable trips for everyone, where they arrive at the destination fully rested and comfortable!
The TRANS System is the ultimate in safety, even while providing 200 mph speed. Imagine that some failure occurred where a vehicle started dragging along the wall of the concrete tube. The on-board computer would completely close the air-bypass passageways, to provide the maximum extra thrust until the vehicle can get to the next exit ramp. The system computers would also be aware of the 199.7 mph pod speed due to the bar code reading every mile, so it would arrange to send that pod off the nearest exit ramp. Meanwhile, the next vehicle behind is still traveling at 200 mph, right? Between these two vehicles in the sealed concrete tube is a TRAPPED CUSHION OF AIR! As the rear vehicle tried to approach the front one that cushion of air would slow down the rear vehicle and speed up the forward one. Even in the event that the two vehicles could ever come into contact, the speed differential would be a gentle thump at most! This is FAR more safe than ANY existing vehicles or trains or aircraft!
Want to suddenly decide in your Chicago suburban home that you want to have dinner in a restaurant in New York City? For around $5 total cost for the TRANS trip, you can be dining five hours later, without stresses! Even expensive commercial airliners cannot get you, door-to-door, from your house and to the restaurant any quicker than that! And modern air flight has a LOT of stress! You wouldn't even need to take off your shoes!
There are people who talk about Infrastructure as the way to create new jobs but they never seem to actually do anything that helps. This TRANS system can provide SEVERAL MILLION HIGH-PAYING jobs, both in the construction of the system and in operating it.
Mass transportation is a central aspect of modern life, but it has the disadvantages of having to travel when and where many other people (or much other merchandise) is also going. At both ends, there are usually short trips that are involved in getting to and from an airport or a train station or a bus station or a truck depot. Most people prefer to travel by automobile or truck or SUV, because of the convenience of being able to decide exactly when and where they will travel. However, this personalized method of transportation relies on massive maintenance of the roadways, bridges, lighting, signage, vehicles, etc, which recent government agencies seem to have not been financing very well.
The system described here is much more individualized than mass transportation, essentially with all the advantages of private vehicles, but without the cost, parking, maintenance or insurance that is involved in owning such vehicles. Each person or family or each small shipment can travel directly, door-to-door, at lightning speed (commonly 200.0 mph), far simpler, more secure, more efficient and faster transportation. The cost is far less than any current transportation method allows. There is essentially NO pollution or global warming, and very little usage of fossil fuel resources!
So now consider a situation where you are driving down that same highway at 70 mph, except that now you have an 80-mph tailwind behind you! In other words, there is NO FRONTAL AIR DRAG at all, and there is even some PUSH behind you because the wind is going faster than you are!
You still would have that remaining drag due to tire drag. So what if there was some way where you could "slightly fly" maybe 1/4" above the ground? NOW you have a situation where neither drag exists AND you have that wind pushing behind you! You certainly see that you could shift your car into Neutral and even shut off the engine, and you would continue to "sail" down the highway at your 70 mph!
In fact, you would not even need an engine at all, to cruise down the highway at 70 mph!
THAT is essentially the general idea of this TRANS system!
We arrange for the vehicle to be surrounded by a continuous tube, with really fast moving air passing through it, to create and get maximum benefit from the tailwind effect. An 80-mph tailwind would be excellent, but this system is far better yet! We have designed the TRANS system so that the "tailwind" is at around 230 mph, to REALLY provide for fast travel! You would travel at always exactly 200.0 mph, without even having an engine!
There is a phenomenon in Physics called the Bernoulli Effect, which can create "lift" to raise the weight of the vehicle up so there is no weight on the wheels. Fairly simple, actually!
If we look back to the 1860s, a man named Alfred Beach created the very first subway in the world, using a crude version of this same general concept. His ran on rails and moved slowly, and only for a few hundred feet, but it worked! He had giant air compressors fill his tunnel with compressed air which pushed his railcar!
The pods fly at a little less than the speed of the air inside the tubes, and so there is very little turbulence or drag, which enables extremely high energy efficiency. The full TRANS system would allow a suburban person from Harvey, Illinois to step out the house door and five hours later be having coffee with a friend at his home in Brooklyn, New York, for around $5 or $10 total round trip cost! Currently, the fastest way to do such a trip is to check airline schedules and then drive to O'Hare Airport, pay for parking the car, walk long distances inside O'Hare and deal with endless security checks, with the same inconveniences at the other end, finally arriving at the apartment in Brooklyn about 5 hours after leaving the house in Harvey, and for a cost of well over $200.
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This system could even be extended to Brazil, where bananas would not have to be picked many weeks before being ripe, for the long ocean voyage to the USA. Instead, a 30-hour pod trip could cover 6,000 miles and deliver a specific shipment directly to any INDIVIDUAL grocery store in the US! Again, the cost of the shipment is likely to be around 3 cents per pound or less, which is far less than the current shipping cost by ship! Again, the produce would arrive fresh and flavorful!
Overnight mail? Certainly! Actually, regarding Chicago and New York, five-hour mail or packages (up to 1,000 pounds), shippable at any moment of the day desired.
Here are some animations showing (transparent) concrete culvert tubes with one or more of these pods traveling through them. Try to imagine them being large five-foot diameter concrete tubes, with the pods passing through them at exactly 200.0 mph.
In the middle of the night, there might be single pods each filled with 1,000 pounds of produce or other freight, at 300 foot intervals, moving 300 feet every second. (this is about 28 tons per minute mass flow rate.)
During more active periods, there might be many more pods, much closer together, each filled with the 1,000 pounds of produce or other freight, at 50 foot intervals, moving 300 feet every second. (this is about 170 tons per minute mass flow rate.)
At maximum traffic, there might be pods spaced by roughly one pod-length of space, again each filled with 1,000 pounds of produce or other freight, at 20 foot intervals, moving 300 feet every second. (this is over 400 tons per minute mass flow rate.)
For comparison, an existing six-lane Interstate Highway generally has a maximum of around 400 tons per minute of mass flow rate. This indicates that a single tube of the TRANS system can carry as much traffic and freight as three concrete highway lanes do today! And the maintenance and repairs would be far simpler to accomplish and far faster, and at far less expense!
Arterial, minimal traffic, 60.0 mph
Arterial, moderate traffic, 60.0 mph
Arterial, heavy traffic, 60.0 mph
Residential, minimal traffic, 30.0 mph
Residential, moderate traffic, 30.0 mph
Residential, heavy traffic, 30.0 mph
|Put mouse over lower corner to see animation.
Take it away to stop the motion.|
A solution exists which can greatly solve all of the above! About four million good-paying private sector jobs can be established which will continue for at least 30 years. Exactly ZERO Federal or other governmental funds are required or desired. Within three or four years of initiation, a inward tax flow of about $30 billion will be going INTO the government's coffers, going directly to start to balance the National Budget. Within 15 years, that inward cash flow would rise above $200 billion per year. In about 30 years, THE NATIONAL DEBT COULD BE ENTIRELY PAID OFF! Not just balancing the budget to keep the Debt from getting bigger ... ACTUALLY PAYING IT OFF! Since the Debt would get smaller, the hundreds of billions which now go to interest on it would be available to productive purposes.
What is this miraculous solution? Relatively simple and straightforward, really. It involves replacing our transportation infrastructure with a high-speed pneumatic "tube" freight and passenger system. Light-weight mini-car sized containers would "fly" inside five-foot diameter concrete culvert tubes. Each container would be uniquely bar-coded and computer directed from origin to destination, generally at 200 mph. The complete system would allow stepping out your door in Evanston, Illinois, and five hours later being in an impromptu meeting in a Manhattan office.
That's comparable to the door to door time for jet service, when you include the cab rides, walking, baggage checking and other necessary activities. It would NOT require pre-scheduling to make sure of an available seat. It would NOT cost $500 round trip. The cost of the round trip would be well under $20. That's about one twenty-fifth of current airfares. It's well under bus, train or automobile costs. And it's door to door with NO driving stress or even any concern about changing planes. The ACTUAL round trip cost is under $5, allowing a true fare cost of $10. Since the fares are so amazingly low, a 100% surcharge would be added to pay off the National Debt, making the final fare the $20.
The government would have NO investment and NO operating costs and would gather tax monies quickly, from passengers who would gladly pay the $20 round-trip fare. This makes for happy constituents and still takes care of a problem that has always seemed intractable.
The necessary technologies all presently exist. We have been pursuing this project since 1990. The technologies already existed then. Concrete sewer culvert manufacturers could quickly and easily achieve the internal diameter tolerance needed in relatively standard culvert products. Several large electric motor and blower manufacturers already sell semi-standard items to create and maintain the continuous 230 mph airflow inside the tubes. Standard steel fabrication techniques would create the "rail-type" support structure for the concrete tubes. Computers, laser surveying transits and hydraulics keep the tube segments perfectly aligned. Railroad-type Bar code scanners and computers would individually direct each container to its destination. Improvements will certainly occur in speed and efficiency of the control systems, but all of this could be built today, with virtually no new research necessary.
Passengers and freight shipments would ALWAYS arrive on time. This would allow manufacturers to rely even more on Just-In-Time deliveries and inventory. Tomatoes from California fields could be on grocery store shelves in New York City about 18 hours after being picked in the field, allowing use of less preservatives and use of more flavorful varieties. (Present rail service for California produce to get to New York City markets takes 7 full days and involves over 1,000 people's efforts.) Small suppliers of all types of products could rapidly service customers all over America in a matter of hours. Local furniture stores and grocers could provide inexpensive delivery service for their customers. Buy a couch and find it waiting for you at home (One dollar freight cost.)!
Obviously, the technology has some complexities. Keeping all the containers moving exactly at 200 mph and injecting additional containers between fast moving traffic are difficult but manageable with existing computer technologies.
Run as a profit making venture, this project would excite a variety of main participant companies. Since NO government funds are necessary, the only input required of the government are a supportive attitude and a set of easements for the tubes. These easements would commonly be on existing Interstate highway medians and on abandoned railroad right-of-ways.
The final system will offer door to door transportation of products and passengers in customer-scheduled-departure vehicles. Computer-controlled and navigated, loads will 'fly' at 200 miles per hour inside enclosed pneumatic air tubes. Current technologies from many disciplines will be joined to form this system. NO NEW TECHNOLOGY is required. Phase I capital investment is $12 million; and Phase II capital investment is $80-$ll0 million; at which point the system will be capable of operation at a profit with expected ROI in three years. All succeeding Phases can be self-financing.
Very low speculation capital.
Excellent public relations.
Cleaning our environment, reducing
shipping and therefore product costs. Developing hundreds of
thousands and then millions of new jobs. Reducing passenger
fares while increasing service, convenience, speed, and safety.
Reducing foreign dependence.
Conventional Highways would remain Clear For Emergency Vehicles, Police, Fire vehicles.
This project is such an obvious package of advantages to society that we MUST do it. The best part is that there is no down side for any party or participant!
NO government involvement would be necessary or desired.
The American profit motive and quick profitability with phased-in operation will finance the entire system, except for a modest amount of start-up capital.
The project is a gradual installation of privately owned, computer- controlled, high-speed pneumatic (air) tubes on easements on Interstate Highway median strips (and certain other locations such as abandoned railway rights-of-way. All necessary technologies to institute the system currently exist. All materials, assembly and operation of the system are currently available.
The air tubes (for the freight package system) could be nearly standard 18" diameter concrete water culvert tiles which have automatic alignment provisions. (Later, these capabilities could be incorporated into the larger five-foot diameter tubes of the full system. Container pods would "fly" inside the tubes at a precisely controlled 200 mph. Bar Codes on the pods would be read (like railway cars now are) on the fly and sideways airjets would shunt individual pods into appropriate switch paths. Deceleration off-ramps would deliver the pod to the destination terminal while allowing maintenance of constant main tube air velocity.
The government would NOT need to participate in this project, financially or otherwise, except to authorize usage of abandoned railroad easements. No financial incentives or tax breaks are needed.
The government would NOT need to participate in this project, financially or otherwise, except to authorize usage of abandoned railroad easements, and to verbally encourage pursuit of the project. No financial incentives or tax breaks are desired. Within about two years from initiation, our governmental economy should see substantial benefits, from both the spending of all the newly employed private sector workers, the taxes they pay and also from the usage tax suggested above.
Since the entire system is based on existing technologies, it could be initiated almost immediately. After a year's R+D on the inter-connected assemblies, hundreds of thousands of NEW jobs would be created in the automotive and construction fields, with many more in a variety of other fields. We could contribute to the rapid invigoration of our national financial malaise.
Over a period of 30 years, our new transportation system would gradually replace the current inefficient modes of transport, such as cars, trucks. trains. buses and planes. System efficiency is so high and performance so good that we can offer much lower freight rates and passenger fares while still making excellent profit.
Around 100,000 new and permanent Design/Technical positions will be created. These positions relate to the Computer Control System, the various Mechanical and Electrical operating systems, and testing and diagnostic systems.
Approximately 3,000,000 Construction Personnel will be needed for most of the 30 years of the construction of the physical structures of the TRANS System. ALL of these 3,000,000 new jobs are American jobs that cannot go overseas.
Approximately 800,000 additional permanent jobs will be created for Operating, Maintenance, Diagnostic and other support functions of the TRANS System. Most of these jobs also must be in the U.S.A.
Around 100,000 Management positions will also be created to develop and maintain organization of the TRANS System.
ALL of these (over 4,000,000) new positions are GOOD-PAYING, PERMANENT Positions.
First, the millions of permanently employed, highly paid people just described will be (New?) consistent taxpayers.
Since the system is so amazingly efficient in energy and financial usage, freight rates on our system would be about 1/20 current competition. We would entertain a 100% Usage Tax, which would produce billions of new income for our government while still keeping our freight rates at 1/10 any competing mode. This would help straighten out the financial mess Washington is trying to solve.
Longer/Cross-Country shipments will be equally economical. The Rate for a shipment from an address in Chicago to an address in Seattle expected to be about $1/hundred pounds!
Coast-to-Coast shipments would take about 15 hours, instead of the current 4-7 days. This would allow new possibilities of shipments and handling of products that age rapidly. If California grown tomatoes could be ON THE DISPLAY SHELVES OF GROCERY STORES in Saint Louis (only 12 hours after being picked) then exotic preservative chemicals and processes wouldn't be necessary as is the case today. Those tomatoes wouldn't have to be picked when ultra-green (to ripen during transit.) We consumers would get flavorful fruits and vegetables, just like those seasonally available at roadside stands.
Continuing the produce example above, each farm could ship directly to the individual grocery store. The produce would arrive inside the store to immediately be placed on the shelves.
The TRANS System is so extremely efficient that passenger rates are expected to be very low. A 50-mile commute to work is expected to cost a rider about 25 cents each way!
Longer trips will be equally economical. Fare for a one-way trip from an address in Chicago to an address in New York City is expected to be about $5!
The $5 Chicago-to-New York City trip mentioned above would take about 5 hours, door-to-door. When you consider the time you normally use up getting to the airport, going through all the bureaucracy there, collecting your baggage at the other end and getting a cab to your destination, the time is comparable to present airline service. With the TRANS System, you don't even have to check for airline schedules, since you could leave on only a couple minutes' notice.
Short trips, such as commuting benefit equally. A 20-mile rush hour commute which now consumes an hour or more would be accomplished in less than 15 minutes, with the exact same time used each day and all for about a 25 cent fare!
Flexibility of service is incredible. If you live in the suburbs of Indianapolis and decide to have dinner at your favorite restaurant in Cincinnati (100 miles away), you could be in the restaurant slightly over a HALF-HOUR after making the decision to go there (Fare about $1!). After dinner, you could decide to go country dancing in Louisville, Kentucky!
Since the central TRANS System Computer Control integrates the movement of the thousands and millions of vehicles presently using the system, that system arranges for all contingencies and automatically calculates the most efficient path for each vehicle from source to destination. You would NEVER be late for work.
Bad weather, such as snow, sleet, heavy rain, presently make commuting times massively longer. Those conditions will not affect the TRANS System efficiency, speeds or timing.
The TRANS System is entirely automatic. Once you have arranged your departure time and destination, everything else is totally automatic. Even if the person was drunk, he could not affect the course of his vehicle in any way, so he could not endanger himself or anyone else.
Insurance rates should drop since the danger and expense of this problem of society will no longer exist.
Since passengers would enter the system at their own home, and leave it inside their office or workplace or in a supermarket or theater or restaurant, no mugging or car-jacking is possible. Once inside the vehicle, it WILL arrive at the destination YOU programmed in when you ordered transport, so even if some outsider somehow managed to get into your vehicle with you, they couldn't divert it elsewhere.
As an additional benefit, each vehicle would have a couple emergency buttons for Hospital and Police. If a medical emergency occurred during a trip, pressing the Hospital button would immediately divert the vehicle to the nearest Hospital.
Millions of Americans have suffered substantial injuries in automobile accidents. Emotional injuries and physical injuries certainly take their toll. In addition, a recent study indicates that the total financial cost to our society is tremendous. Medical care, car repair and lost wages are estimated to total over $157 billion per year! The TRANS System would eliminate all this pain, suffering and cost.
Insurance costs would substantially drop.
The vehicles you ride in will be quiet, private, comfortable and relaxing. No steering wheel or other controls are necessary. (The central TRANS System Computer Control will take care of all navigation automatically.) Your vehicle will effectively "fly" and generally not be in contact with the ground or any other surfaces, so the ride will be very smooth.
Your vehicle could include a radio, a stereo or TV, or even special apparatus such as Nautilus exercise equipment!
Presently, there are many people who live 50 miles or further from their jobs. Many of these spend 2 hours each day battling rush hour traffic getting to work, and another 2 hours getting home. This is often stressful, often wasted time.
The TRANS System eliminates this. Most of those people would get to work in less than HALF AN HOUR, without having to concentrate on the vagaries of other drivers or about being late. Trip time will be constant and consistent within a minute every single day. Instead of 4 hours commuting, only one is needed!
Since riders would not need to be concerned with traffic or weather or being late (or even about accidents or about being arrested for speeding), the commuting time could be used productively, recreationally, or resting. Since the environment is reasonably quiet, even sleeping or resting is possible, without the hubbub of any other passengers like on a commuter train or bus.
The final system would have "stations" at or near every residence and every business in the country. You would need to only walk a few yards from your front door to enter the TRANS System, and you would be dropped off at a "station" IN the building where your office or job was. The TRANS Computer Control System would guide your vehicle through the system to accomplish this. There would NEVER be any traffic delays (of over a second or two, so you would always arrive exactly the same number of minutes after you left home.
You do not have to schedule yourself around train or bus schedules. You can leave home exactly when YOU want, without any wasted time.
The extremely high system efficiency of the TRANS System allows a tremendous reduction of the gasoline and oil usage. Virtually all present consumption by automobiles, trucks, buses, airplanes and trains can be eliminated. Since users of those present vehicles will save substantial money by using our TRANS System instead, they have a built-in incentive to transfer their usage to our environmentally friendly system and to minimize using their present inefficient vehicles.
THEY SAVE, and the environment wins, too!
By reducing the usage of petroleum based products so substantially, our need for imported oil should be reduced or eliminated.
With this greatly reduced need for petroleum based fuels, the world's supplies of those assets may be preserved.
The elimination of ALL automobiles, trucks, buses, trains and airplanes will tremendously reduce the smog/pollution problems of our urban areas.
The elimination of ALL automobiles, trucks, buses, trains and airplanes will tremendously reduce the by-product heat produced by those engines, thereby reducing the possibility of atmospheric heating (the "Greenhouse Effect".)
The many millions of vehicles presently wandering our highways, rails and skies contribute a lot of noise to our environment. The elimination of ALL automobiles, trucks, buses, trains and airplanes will tremendously reduce the noise levels of modern existence.
No engine noise would be present either in the pods or in the community. Noise pollution is tremendously reduced.
The design and structure of the TRANS System should minimize wear and tear. The vehicles generally do not actually touch their surrounding structure, so friction wear should be minimized, (while also wasting less energy in that friction.) Whenever and wherever wear occurs, computer diagnostics would track the wear. When and if a section wears beyond specified limits, the segmented nature of the structure allows rapid, easy and inexpensive replacement of the affected modules. In addition, the system includes many automatic, redundant alignment systems which continually make subtle adjustments on every segment/module. This maintains system efficiency, minimizes the chance of system wear, and maintains smooth and comfortable performance of the system.
The existing highway system would become relatively unused, except for emergency vehicles and vehicles carrying unusually large or heavy freight. This would allow very efficient travel of emergency fire and police vehicles. Society's safety is enhanced.
MODE TIME (Door-to-Door) COST FLEXIBILITY Current: Bus 20 hrs (24) $120 depart scheduled/fixed times Amtrak 16 hrs (20) $120 depart scheduled/fixed times Airplane 2 hrs (6) $220 depart scheduled/fixed times Car 20 hrs (20) $60 depart any time New: TRANS system: 5 hrs (5) $30 depart any time Bus, Train, Airplane have rigid schedules, crowded/busy environment Car: stresses due to traffic/time/accident/breakdown The $60 is $40 gas plus $20 maintenance/tires New TRANS System: safe/secure/dependable/stress-free environment
MODE TIME-Door-to-Door COST FLEXIBILITY Current: Bus 90 min $4 fixed schedule/maybe transfers Amtrak 60 min $5 fixed schedule/walk 6 blocks Car 70 min $5 depart any time/find parking/walk (Cost is $2 gas+$1 maint+$2 park) New: TRANS system: 20 min $1 depart any time, direct to lobby. time is independent of weather traffic, parking, accidents.
farm to processor - average 2 hours field to proc. equipment processor to store - average 2 hours door to store shelves (depending on farm, processor location) $8 total freight cost (0.8 cents per pound) Current service is in days and many handling costs add up with actual shipping costs to greatly inflate final purchaser price. Benefits include: Fresher produce in stores; less spoilage; 1ess handling costs; more flexible inventorying for market management because empty shelves can be restocked in two hours from any of several processors, day or night. Less inventory overhead helps reduce customer costs, increase store profitability.
Products can be ordered by phone on a credit card, shipped directly to residence within two hours, very economically, possibly even FREE to the consumer.
Stores could have delivery couriers for small items or groceries for invalids or elderly.
Just-In-Time manufacturing inventory can be even more flexible. When a widget stock-on-hand approaches a three hour supply, replenishment can be ordered (from several different suppliers, for safety sake), shipped and re-stocked, without a break in production. Warehousing costs, handling costs, inventory financing costs can be considerably reduced. Parts arrive exactly where needed in the factory. This is applicable to parts, liquids (fuels, solvents), gases (medical, welding, fuel, chemical), supplies and many raw materials.
Currently, a 30,000 pound truck needs to be accelerated, moved and stopped repeatedly in order to transport products. A furniture load of 10,000 pounds means only 25% efficiency of mass movement, since 40,000 pounds needs to be moved to deliver 10,000 pounds. Additionally, much air resistance must be overcome at highway speed. Each mile traveled costs 25 cents of fuel, 15 cents of maintenance, and 35 cents of driver cost for a 75 cent/mile overall cost. One thousand miles costs $750, some of which might be empty while returning.
In the new TRANS system, a 300 pound pod will carry 1000# of product, for a 77% mass-movement efficiency. Very little air resistance and limited frictional resistance makes movement very efficient. With realistic system usage, an overall pod-mile cost of less than 1/2 cent is practical. Actual cost of moving the l0,000 pound shipment above for l000 miles is 1/2 cent x 10 pods x l000 miles = $50, rather than the current $750 charge.
Very low freight rates could be offered while garnering huge operating profits. Market share will grow as fast as the system can handle the demand because user-costs will be lower, and service/speed/convenience will be so much better.
Currently, a 3000 pound car must be moved to transport a 150 pound person and 50 pounds- of belongings. Mass-movement efficiency is about 6% ((150+50)/3000) and then there is the air resistance load. Cost per passenger mile is (highway) 4 cents fuel, 2 cents maintenance/tires or 6 cents/mile. A l000 mile trip will cost $40 + $20 = $60.
In the new system, a pod-mile cost of 1/2 cent gives this trip a cost of $5. A passenger fare of $30 would give nice profit while still gaining all the market share the system could handle. cost, service, convenience. Speed can't be matched by any competing transportation.
Very efficient mass-movements, reduction of air resistance loads, elimination of traffic jam/idling fuel wastage and usage of alternative (wind, water, solar) power systems in some parts of the country will reduce petroleum usage to less than 5% of current usage for the same transportation need/load. This represents an eventual national savings of billions of barrels of oil each year, reducing oil imports, reducing trade imbalances, reducing pollution, "greenhouse" heating and ozone depletion problems.
Even crime could be reduced, because criminals in conventional vehicles would be much more identifiable (because of less traffic), while if they tried to use pods, a paper trail of computer control records would show exact destinations where they went.
The construction of this transportation system which needs to be in place by 2020, will supply hundreds of thousands of construction jobs as well as multitudes of other permanent jobs.
This system is so comprehensive that it must be instituted in several distinct stages:
A test track of 7 miles length of a single tube would be used to design and refine controls, pods and switch mechanisms.
Phase I Cost is about $12 million.
A main (200 mph) trunk line will be installed on abandoned railroad right-of-way in the Northeast Corridor, either between Boston/NY, NY/Phila., Phila./Balt., or Balt/Wash.
An alternative is to install the tubes on the median of Interstate highways.
The pair of tubes approximately 100 miles long will cause the Phase II cost to be about $80 - 110 million.
Each half-mile will have a blower-booster system to maintain the nominal 230 mph internal air speed. Existing electric power generation control systems will be adapted to maintain constant airspeed under differing loading/usage conditions.
Special air-switches will divert pods into deceleration chutes to merge into the (eventual) 60 mph urban trunk lines. Air cushioning/ air bleeds will provide the deceleration. Duplicate magnetic and modified bar-coding on the pod instructs the computer system to shunt the pod into the proper deceleration chute. Acceleration chutes feed into the main trunk, first getting the pod up to speed, then the system computer inserts the pod in the traffic flow. The 15-Foot long pods can travel at 200 mph with only 30 feet between pods, making for extremely high system usage. A single tube can handle several times more traffic than a multi-lane interstate highway. Very efficient, profitable.
Each pod has a simple computer-controlled air-bleed bypass. With a nominal 230 mph airflow, this allows constant, exact 200 mph pod speed under varying pod weights, loading, friction conditions. If the on-board or the system computer senses excessive friction or irregular speed, that pod will be automatically shunted off the main trunk in order not to delay or interrupt other traffic. If some acute flaw occurs in a pod, such as mechanical failure, the air-cushions between pods should reduce/soften any possible impact between pods. Following pods could push the faulty one to an exit/deceleration chute to quickly resolve the problem.
Urban (60 mph) trunk lines will be added to active cities, industrial parks, docks, truck/rail terminals.
Phase III Cost $100- $150 million depending on extent.
Extend main (200 mph) trunk lines, transcontinental. New York, Phila., Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, OK City, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, LA, SF, Seattle; using either abandoned railroad right-of-way or interstate median strips. It might be appropriate to get National government authorization involved at this time, if politics, lobbyists and national mood allow.
Phase IV Cost $5-$7 billion.
Add urban (60 mph) trunks and branch main (200 mph) trunks to all major cities.
Cost variable depending on extent.
Add local (30 mph) residential and factory feeder lines. By 2020, there should be a local terminus within two blocks of 99% of American residences, and one in every major office building, factory and shopping mall.
Add duplicate trunks for high-traffic usage lines.
Add passenger service. Minimal change to system necessary. Pods modified with acceleration sensors and creature comforts.
Possibly user-owned pods for sale, if it can be established that they would be maintained to not disrupt traffic flow.
Specifics on the various technologies: of air-switches, computer controls, air movers, logistics, pod designs, air-bypass systems, accelerators, decelerators, etc, are available. All of these technologies are presently available. A main central computer system would monitor all pods currently in the system and would be updated every few seconds on their locations and velocities. Since the destinations are also known, the system would shunt shipments and passengers as appropriate for most efficient transport. When the system sensed a pod with non-nominal velocity, it would automatically shunt that pod off the main line for repairs and to avoid interfering with following pod traffic.
Charge $0.40/hundred pounds of freight
(Competitive (truck) rates are about $10/hundred pounds after usual discounts)
Therefore, our charge would be about 1/25 current freight rates. If a system usage tax of 100% was then included, the freight cost would still be less than 1/10 current costs.
Shippers would have strong incentive to use our system.
System Usage Gross Income OpCost/Day OpCost/Day NetProfit (One way)/Day Power Personnel Per/Day 5 pods/min (4000 T/day) $29,000 $7,000 $2,000 $20,000 60 pods/min (50,000 T/day) $350,000 $10,000 $4,000 $330,000 400 pods/min(350,000 T/day) $2400,000 $15,000 $10,000 $2,300,000
This last, the maximum capacity of a single tube, is the equivalent of 20,000 completely full semi- trucks a day.
Interest on $80 million investment loan at 10% = $22,000 a day.
Adding traffic both ways, break even point is about 5 pods/minute at a freight rate of $0.40/hundred.
Profitability of all other Phases and portions of the TRANS System are comparably attractive.
First Published on the Web: Jun 2, 1997