Subway Trains to Hoverboards???

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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Subway Trains to Hoverboards???

Postby lpetrich » Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:20 am

NYC's Subway Should Be Full of Hoverboards Instead - The Atlantic "The New York City Subway Is Beyond Repair -- Forget trains. It’s time for something radically different." by Peter Wayner
The New York City subway is a miracle, especially at 3 a.m. on a Friday night. But the system is also falling apart, and it’s going to cost billions to keep the old trains running: $19 billion, at least according to one estimate from city planners. The time has come to give up on the 19th-century idea of public transportation, and leap for the autonomous future.

Right now, fully autonomous cars are rolling around Pittsburgh, the San Francisco Bay area, and parts of Michigan, shuttling people from here to there with minimal manual intervention. Instead of fixing the old trains, let’s rip out the tracks and fill the tunnels with fleets of autonomous vehicles running on pavement. The result would be radical improvements in throughput while saving money and increasing the ability of the system to survive a fire, flood, or terrorist attack.

PW has in mind not only autonomous cars, but also this:
Autonomous vehicles, by contrast, can be incredibly lithe, especially if you skip over the car-shaped models and head for the super-lightweight transports called “hoverboards” or “scooters.” These clever devices with computer-driven balancing look a bit like skateboards but carry enough battery power to go a dozen miles or more.

I cannot believe that this is serious.

I remembered during the construction of the BART Dublin-Pleasanton extension that someone explained to someone who lost their property to the extension that the BART tracks have the capacity of a 10-lane freeway. But I wanted some numbers, so I checked on Metro Operations Planning, and I found (numbers rounded from Figure 3):
  • Small People Movers: 5,000 - 20,000 pphpd ... 10 - 30 km/h avg. speed
  • Light Rail: 10,000 - 30,000 pphpd ... 20 - 40 km/h
  • Light Metro: 15,000 - 45,000 pphpd ... 25 - 45 km/h
  • Heavy Metro: 30,000 - 100,000 pphpd ... 30 - 50 km/h
pphpd = passengers per hour per direction, These classifications are *not* very precise.

Of self-balancing scooters, the Segway is the best-known to me, and checking on its Wikipedia article, I find that the greatest top speed of a Segway model is around 20 km/h (13 mph). So not stopping won't help this one very much.

Basic Freeway Capacity Studies, Basic Freeway Segments Capacity Analysis, 2000 Highway Capacity Manual, Chapter 23 -- the capacity of a freeway lane is typically 1500 - 2000 flat-road cars per hour. To compete with the more capacious urban-rail systems with the same number of lanes/tracks will require very stuffed flat-road cars.

So PW's numbers don't work out.
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Re: Subway Trains to Hoverboards???

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:45 pm

Mr. Wayner speaks like a man who has no actual concept of either transit operations or construction costs.
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Re: Subway Trains to Hoverboards???

Postby SouthernRailway » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:02 pm

Is this the same magazine that years ago also proposed ripping out the tracks and replacing subways with buses underground? Then it also didn’t take into account the higher number of passengers per hour thatvsubways can carry.
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Re: Subway Trains to Hoverboards???

Postby MACTRAXX » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:52 am

Everyone: PW has perhaps watched too many episodes of "The Jetsons" and think that everyone
will have a vehicle capable of flight along with living further up in the air...Spacely Space Sprockets
or Cogswell Cogs anyone? Did anyone ever notice that the ground area was never shown in any of
"The Jetsons" cartoons making one wonder what the state of the earth's surface was to become?
Back in the 1960s Hanna-Barbara were so imaginative with "The Jetsons" (and "The Flintstones").
Even with "The Jetsons" look into the future we all now know what really did happen. Anyone of a
certain age that remembers either growing up with or regularly watching either one can relate...

After further reading the suggestions in this article I think that PW has been influenced by SYFY or
something futuristic along those lines...I saw nothing about how any kind of real life problems can
be handled such as traffic jams or congestion, manual operation and maintenance and the ever
present problem of driving while under the influence which in itself is bad enough...MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS
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Re: Subway Trains to Hoverboards???

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:19 am

Moderator Note: Cleaned and locked. Let us know if there's a salient point you need to address.
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