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Background: Back in the early 1970's, while waiting in the long gas lines due to blockages of imported fuel for cars, much of the time was spent creatively exploring how Los Angeles might cope if the situation became worse and permanent. The idea eventually expanded into a full commute system that would very efficiently provide routine transportation using personally owned and garaged vehicles that would be mostly powered by the mass transit system in an electromechanical energy transfer mode, rooted in the old cable car system and ski lift modes, but using new technology available now; I call it the "Pullband Commute System" and my efforts to get it explored physically have been enlightening to me re the corporate ways and the public transportation system.
This ground daily comute system could function without foreign oil, and would preserve the best features of personally owned and operated vehicles garaged at one's residence, yet be mostly powered by mass transit energy distribution systems. It would use continually moving bands of material, circulating around city blocks, and longer ones circulating down streets, and ever faster ones down freeway centers; these would pull the personally owned lightweight vehicles ever faster as it moved its coupling from slower to faster circulating bands; and for long range intercity, enclosed environment tubeways could pull fast enough so the vehicle would be sliding along air bearing surface under the vehicle, in a moving air column so speeds could reach many hundreds of miles per hour along the air cushion sliding surface in the environmental isolation shell aboveground tubeways between cities, low cost alternative to building more massive superhighways.
Also, earlier in the late 1960's I had conceptualized a ground commute system adaptable with existing car-and-highway system, using cars guided down roads following dashed lines, but phase-locked to a number of dashed lines per second, synched by a universal clock signal, so each vehicle would be locked into its place in the traffic stream and the speeds would be controlled by the spacial frequency of the dashes on the roadways. Simple programming of the route though a complex pathway through a major city, too; driver's attention requirement is minimal as the system is mostly automatic. (Note there would be some difficulty making it work on snow covered streets, however, but maybe not impossible; a metal inclusion in the dashes could make it work in those circumstances, although the autopilot skill latest on driving on ice a question, just as is with human drivers.)
Another interest I have in this field is in exploring a concept for using pylon-supported cables to enable someone to bike up to a station, connect the bike into a streamlined airshell and power transmission up to drive rollers on the cable, and head off across the terrain at an easy couple hundred mph at least. Shunt off when approaching destination, get loose from airshell and power coupling, and ride off on the motorbike. And explore possible mechanisms for easing the up and down between pylons droop of cable. Less robust versions could possibly work for beer-powered motorcycles (bicycles) with high efficiency steel-to-steel contact with cable and an airshell so ought to be able to go quite a distance routinely on human power for average person, where little altitude change terrain is involved.
... And also I ought to mention re the cable car stimulated Pullband Commute System concept, that the expert burglary of my files in mid-1980's, obviously done so I would have no proof of origination so as to be able to get financial backing to go for a patent and for bending metal, I thus years later had no working models for the competition in Los Angeles for options for an efficient commute, which was a $6-billion competition, gotten by default by the light rail folks even though the spread-all-over-the-place LA county just won't work to enable a high efficiency city for that form of commute even plus buses... I know because I had to endure that for many years of commute, often 6 hours a day on the LA public bus system (yet I was thankful for its existence.) My Pullband Commute System concept looked like it could have done the job right. But LA population then were deprived of it as an option, deprived by the Big Boys' money&power games. Well, I did my best to help people.
1995VersionPullcable - Copy of the text of my 1995-written page on my free Earthlink.net pages
TheNovelwayPrototypeShop - My early Science Fiction writing effort that explores an adventure of making the Pullband Commute system.
http://home.earthlink.net/%7ejedcline/plcbl1.html - A page about it on my early earthlink.net/~jedcline pages
Copyright © 2008 James E. D. Cline. Permission granted to reproduce providing inclusion of a link back to this site and acknowledgment of the author and concept designer James E. D. Cline.