Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A (Better) Streetcar Named the Aeroduct System

In my blog post of May 4th, 2008, I commented on remarks made by Russell Baker in a 1996 column he titled “Here is what mad is”. That column was a complaint against the automobile dominated transportation of the modern USA. In this and in future blog entries, I'll comment at length on specific points he made, and how the Aeroduct System of ground transportation deals with his complaints.

For today, I'll discuss his statement “I'm mad about not having a bus or streetcar system left like the one that once enabled people to travel those six miles for a little pocket change.”

Rail transportation of all kinds, including streetcars, dominated the movement of people and freight for the last part of the 1800s and the first 50 years of the 1900s. People did not have to own their own vehicles; they could make use of mass transit for their travels. The advent of the automobile and accompanying roads changed all that. Streetcars and other means of mass transit dwindled in popularity as people used their cars to travel to all sorts of places not accessible by rail transportation. Suburbs grew up around major cities, became completely car based, and the remains of mass transit serviced only the densely populated cities.

This all happened because that's what people wanted. They wanted the freedom to live somewhere instead of a crowded city, and they wanted the freedom to go exactly where they wanted when they wanted. This type of freedom allowed by cars is its major attraction and few people would want to give it up.

Of course, this comes at a price, and Mr. Baker and numerous others have pointed out the many undesirable “side effects” of an automobile culture. But, returning to streetcars and other mass transit transportation is not going to appeal to most people, not matter how bad the future reality of traveling by cars on roads becomes. Mass transit can only work at all (and not always well) where there is sufficient population density, and people who live in suburbs or exurbs are there because they don't want to be part of high density population.

Cars can only be replaced by a ground transportation system that gives people the freedom to have their own vehicle and go where they want when they want. At Aeromobile Inc. our Aeroduct System does just that. It carries vehicles of any size, privately owned for the most part, on a cushion of air and service all the places where cars are currently the only possibility. Our system allows entry and destination points anywhere along the guideway, and these points of accessibility can be at each home, store, church, hospital, business, etc. as close together or as far apart as these locations are in the cities, towns, and suburbs we have today.

So, we can give Mr. Baker and anyone else a direct ride (no stops at other stations along the way) from their home to the store or anywhere else without requiring driving on busy roads in bad weather while consuming lots of high priced fuel and creating lots of carbon emissions. Our system is far more efficient and people and environmentally friendly than that.

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