Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Crowded Streets

On September 19th, as reported by station CBS 2 in Los Angeles, one of the light rail lines in that city, the Blue Line, collided with a out of service bus. Fortunately, injuries to the 15 passengers of the light rail train were not major. But, if the bus had been in service, there could have been many more injuries.

Light rail is used in numerous cities to transport people relatively quickly along fixed corridors. Like the streetcars of the old days, these light rail trains operate on the same street level as cars, trucks, buses, and pedestrians (In the old days, there were horses, too). This makes for a crowded transportation environment, and crashes involving light rail trains on the one hand and cars and buses on the other hand have occurred with some frequency. This is what one would expect when all transportation occurs on the same level. Certainly, there are safety measures to limit the number of these kinds of light rail accidents, but coordinating the activities of trains, buses, trucks, cars, bicycles and people walking all on the same streets and sidewalks is quite a challenge.

And, confining transportation to one level inherently limits the number of people who can travel. Congestion is the norm on many streets. At Aeromobile Inc., we think it is far better to elevate vehicle transportation, leaving the ground level for pedestrians and bicycles. This would not only make travel far safer for all involved, but much more efficient. Our Aeroduct System can be elevated with lightweight, transparent or translucent guideways, operating over the heads of those walking, and causing far less shadowing than any other form of raised level transportation.

Putting trains or cars or buses overhead is very expensive, since those elevated structures must be made very strong to sustain constant weight and pounding. In addition, they create quite a shadow on the ground below. New York City had for many years its "El" trains running on most of the north south avenues in Manhattan. Increased subway coverage rendered these Els obsolete and they were removed by the 1950s. The shadowing caused by the structures necessary to support those overhead trains was considerable, and most considered that undesirable. In our times, in the "Loop" area of Chicago, its elevated trains converge and there is pronounced shadowing on a number of streets.

Since the Aeroduct System uses air cushion vehicles in its guideways, those guideways do not have to carry the enormous weight and endure the tremendous pounding generated by automobiles, trucks, buses and trains. They can be made out of lightweight materials, of any degree of transparency or of any color. Not only could the guideways look attractive, their shadowing effect could be very minimal. And, the Aeroduct System is a very efficient in the way it transports vehicles, so more travelling and yet fewer traffic slowdowns will be the norm. All of this will require less cost, both for the guideways and the efficient air cushion vehicles in the guideways.

You can read about the many advantages of the Aeroduct System at the Aeromobile Inc. website and other blog entries.

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