Traffic Woes

  • Traffic jumped 236% as population grew nearly 20% between 1982 and 2001 in the U.S.
  • Traffic congestion costs the European Union over 1% of GDP, or over 100 billion Euros per year.
  • Today there are more than one billion cars on the road. That number will double by 2020.
  • U.S. road traffic congestion in 2007 wasted 2.8 billion gallons of fuel and 4.2 billion hours. Total cost of wasted fuel and time was $87.2 billion.
  • Traffic congestion decreases a city's overall productivity by as much as 20%
  • http://www.ibm.com/
    smarterplanet/us/en
    /transportation_systems
    /overview/index.html

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Traffic Congestion Problem on Freeway


Traffic congestion problem on freeways is a worldwide problem and it is getting worse, especially in California, home to some of the busiest freeways in the world.

Here are the facts:

  • There are more than one billion cars on the road. That number would double by 2020
  • Traffic jumped 236% as population grew nearly 20% between 1982 and 2001 in U.S.
  • U.S. road traffic congestion in 2007 wasted 2.8 billion gallons of fuel and 4.2 billion hours.
  • Total cost of wasted fuel and time was $87.2 billion.
  • Traffic congestion decreases a city's overall productivity by as much as 20%
  • A single freight train can replace 280 trucks
  • Carpool usage is dropping nationwide and it now at less than 12%
http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/transportation_systems/overview/index.html http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/29/us/29carpool.html?pagewanted


The solutions over the past 100 years:


For more than half a century, the problem of increasing traffic on freeways, especially during key commuter hours, continues to plague us. Although various solutions have been proposed, and implemented the efficient reduction of freeway traffic continues to elude us. In Europe, some countries have levied heavy toll charges for driving during rush hour. All of these solutions inconvenience commuters since most people insist upon having their own vehicle readily available to them rather than sharing public transportation. Because of this, none of the previously listed measures have permanently solved the problem of gridlock on overburdened freeways.

How bad the traffic would get?


Traffic situation won't get better, if left by itself. It will get worse. Sao Paulo, Brazil today has routine 180Km long traffic jams. The commuters of Sao Paulo spend one month of the years just sitting stuck in traffic. Do we want 180Km long traffic Jams in America?"

During the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, traffic planners dreaded complete congestion on the main freeways due to an additional 6 million visitors there for the event. Instead, they observed an unexpected "miracle" in freeway traffic by simply applying a few voluntary changes in traffic flow management. This caused a reduction in traffic congestion by nearly 60%. Since then, traffic specialists have made numerous attempts to duplicate the effect but have been unsuccessful. Every year, traffic jams have only worsened, making freeways look like parking lots during the peak commute hours.


Over the years, various attempts have been made to tackle the problem of freeway congestion. Some major efforts are listed below:

  • Freeways have been widened by adding extra lanes at tremendous expense.
  • Carpool lanes have been added on some freeways.
  • Public transportation - Metrolink and similar train systems have been introduced.
  • A fleet of CNG buses have been added.

Adding Car pool lanes to freeways has been a great idea, but while helpful, has not been very successful in permanently reducing traffic jams on freeways in any appreciable way. Only 12% of drivers use carpool lanes regularly and that number is going down. Commuters prefer using their own vehicles on a daily basis.

Metro trains and CNG buses have been used to carry passengers along major freeways, but that also requires people to leave their vehicles behind and solely depend on public transportation that most commuters resist. The result is that metro trains are underutilized and therefore not very effective in permanently reducing traffic.

Some of these solutions have brought limited relief but none have caused a permanent reduction in freeway traffic congestion. Practically, every idea has been tried but the problem of traffic congestion on freeways persists and is getting worse.

The Main Problem Today:


A new approach needs to be found. We can't wait for some future technology to emerge. An ideal solution would use present day technology, and let the commuters have access to their vehicles at both ends of the commute. It would use no gasoline and generate no smog and it would cut travel time in half and make for a pleasant commute. It would eliminate freeway traffic accidents and it would be enthusiastically supported and utilized by the general population. That's a tall order. How can a system like that exist?



The Rapid Commute System

Fortunately, a system with all the above attributes exists and has been patented (other patents pending). I call this new commuter transportation system The Rapid Commute System. This system when fully implemented, will have all the attributes of the ideal solution commuters crave, while at the same time could cost less than other solutions and can be enabled worldwide using present day technology.

My proposed solution promises a friendly commutes that will keep our environment clean, save lives, save money and time, and extend the lives of our vehicles. My system uses technology that can easily be implemented in a short time, and it would be cheaper than other systems. This concept, once operational, will reduce traffic on freeways by 40% to 50% or more without the additional building of freeways. This new concept is environmentally friendly and it would reduce our reliance on foreign oil, and it will ensure a very pleasant commute.

Here's the summary of my proposed solution:


The Executive Summary

Rapid Commute System is a short-haul commuter carrying system that consists of especially modified electric (or diesel) trains that would carry commuters; their passengers and their vehicles onboard, similar to how ferryboats carry drivers and their vehicles across bodies of water. Commuters would drive their vehicles themselves onto the train using specially designed ramps and drive from boxcar to boxcar inside the train, until they reach the front. Other commuters would follow behind. The commuters would turn off their engines and stay in their vehicles while the train carries them to their destination. At the end of the trip, the commuters would drive themselves off the train. This system would allow commuters to avoid driving on the freeways, thus eliminating traffic jams.

There are six major benefits to commuters if Rapid Commute System is adopted:


  1. Commuters would have access to their own vehicles at both ends of the commute.
  2. Commute would be gasoline-free and smog-free, if electric trains are used.
  3. While on board Rapid Commute trains, commuters would be able to surf the web, check emails, watch movies, play video games, rest and sleep. They would also be able to do most of their office work, (send and receive faxes and text messages, participate in video conferences, work on their computers, contact clients via phone or email), and do most business related activities, if Wi-Fi is provided.
  4. Since most office work can be done while commuting, office hours could start as soon as commuters board the Rapid Commute train, allowing commute time to be considered as part of office time, making long commutes meaningful.
  5. The Rapid Commute System uses present-day technology that is highly efficient and reliable, and allows developing countries to build railway infrastructure, instead of freeways, thus avoiding freeway congestion, smog, and astronomical imported fuel expense.
  6. Ultimately, most freeway traffic between neighboring cities can be carried on Rapid Commute trains, thus eliminating freeway congestion.

During the morning and evening rush hour periods, the Rapid Commute System trains would line up at the station to pick up commuters along with their passengers and vehicles, one after another in a non-stop fashion.

Design I uses a modified version of trains that are presently used today. It is designed to run as express commuter train between two destinations with multiple stops, if needed. Please watch a short animation that explains this concept by clicking on the link below:



A ferryboat carrying commuters

Design II uses a completely new type of train system that would run on four tracks. The train engine would run on two standard width inside tracks but the boxcars would run on four tracks. In this system, the commuter vehicles would be carried sideways or perpendicular to the train. Please watch a short animation that explains this concept by clicking on the link below:


The number of commuter vehicles picked up by each train would depend upon the number of box cars that are attached to each train. A Rapid Commute train pulling 40 tri-level boxcars (Design II) could carry over 36,000 commuter vehicles during the five-hour morning rush period and the same number of vehicles during the five-hour evening rush period.

Advantages of Rapid Commute System


  1. Eliminates traffic jams on most heavily congested freeways
  2. Saves untold lives by eliminating rush-hour accidents
  3. Reduces smog on a major scale
  4. Reduces our dependence on foreign oil
  5. Allows commuters access to their vehicles at both ends of the commute
  6. The Rapid Commute system is environmentally friendly and cost effective
  7. Helps increase productivity by reducing stress and fatigue
  8. Extends the range of electric and CNG powered vehicles
  9. Eliminates the need to widen freeways by adding lanes
  10. It will be readily accepted and enthusiastically utilized by the general public
  11. Implementable in a relatively short time
  12. Allows targeting freeways that have intractable traffic congestion problem
  13. Facilitates growth of suburban communities
  14. Be adaptable worldwide
  15. Eliminate the depreciation of the value of the commuter's vehicle due to higher mileage

Rapid Commute System - Design I

Rapid Commute System utilizes the most efficient and safe mode of transportation system in the world - the train - in a unique way.

So what is Rapid Commute System?


Trains have carried new cars from manufacturing plants, to regional hubs for many decades. A train carrying automobiles is called an "Auto Rack". A typical present day auto rack is bi-level, but tri-level auto racks are also in service and increasingly being used. An auto rack carries 5 average-sized automobiles on each level. Therefore a bi-level auto rack typically carries 10 automobiles and a tri-level auto rack carries 15 automobiles.

I propose that we utilize specially designed auto racks as trains for commuters. By restricting this system to smaller cars and average sized sedans and light pick-up trucks, a tri-level auto rack will hold 15 automobiles per box car. If this commuter train pulls ten boxcars, then each train can haul 150 automobiles.

The Rapid Commute trains could initially use diesel for fuel but the goal would be to use electric trains. Using modified boxcars, these trains would haul commuter, their passengers and their automobiles to their destinations. At the pick-up station, trucks with special ramps attached to them, called ramp-trucks will dock at several points along the train as soon as the train makes a stop. Commuters will drive their vehicles up the ramp and into the modified boxcars and continue to drive inside the boxcars, from box car to boxcar, until they reach the front boxcar where they will park their vehicles and stop their engines. These uniquely designed boxcars will have wide windows and plenty of lighting inside so that the drive inside the train is not frightening or claustrophobic. The boxcar floors will have built-in guides that will help direct the commuter cars in the desired direction. This pattern would continue until the train is full or all vehicles have been loaded. Passengers will have the option to either remain in their vehicles or stand along the windows, holding a railing or they could visit the attached Comfort Cars.

Rapid Commute System does not require leasing of rail lines from the rail road companies who are the owners of those lines. There is no need to lease rail lines that are part of the national network of rail lines as those lines are extensively used by freight and passenger trains and may not be easily available for lease. The light rails in many downtown areas are operated using their own private rail lines. Since The Rapid Commute System trains would only operate locally and would be used as a short-haul transportation system between point A and point B, private rail lines on those routes would be highly desirable and very cost effective.

During a typical morning rush hour period of five hours, for example from 4 AM to 9 AM. These special trains would leave the station approximately every 15 minutes. Thus, the number of commuter cars that would be removed from just one freeway during each five-hour rush period would total 6000 vehicles (using a Bi-level boxcar, 30 car train) or 9000 vehicles (using a Tri-level boxcar 30 car train). The same number of commuter vehicles would also be removed from the evening rush hour. With similar lines running along different freeways, the effect of removing these many cars from each rush hour period will be the same or more as the effect observed during the voluntary restrictions placed upon drivers during the 1984 Summer Olympics. To lighten freeway traffic further would require separate commuter trains running on parallel lines along the same freeway or increasing the number of boxcars per train.

Once a train is full, the ramp truck will separate, and the train would proceed to the next destination. Upon arrival at the destination, the vehicles on board would unload at this point, while return-trip vehicles would simultaneously board using the other ramp. In this manner, a train can load and unload in less than 15 minutes, quickly making the round trip. These trains could run all day hauling commuter cars in both directions. This system is designed to be more efficient as an express train between origin and destination with no stops in between. However, stops can be accommodated. Picking up vehicles will be no problem as long as there is empty space available in the back of the train. Vehicles that require disembarking at the in-between stops must be sorted and allowed to load first at the point of origin in order to be at the front of the train ready to disembark.

If charges to carry the vehicles aboard trains is kept reasonably low (using state subsidies), most commuters would prefer to commute this way, making the system popular and would result in effectively reduce traffic jams on busy freeways in a permanent manner.

The system has the flexibility for the addition or reduction of the number of boxcars hauled by the train engine, without any change in infrastructure due to the portable nature of the ramps by using ramp trucks. The system is designed to be operational in a year or less, at minimal cost and change in infrastructure. If desired, a permanent structure can be built later.

To make it easy for commuters to drive inside the train, conveyor belts can be used that could move the commuter vehicles inside the train automatically, while drivers relent control of their vehicles and relax. Similar to how cars move inside a car wash while being washed.

                   
Rapid Commute Design I

Using Bi-Level Box Cars

No. of Boxcars per Train

No. of Vehicles on a Bi-Level Boxcar

Vehicles Carried Per Train

Vehicles Carried Per Hour
(Every 15 min)

Vehicles Carried During each 5-Hour Rush Period either morning or evening
(4AM – 9AM and 3PM – 8PM)

10

10

100

400

2000

15

10

150

600

3000

20

10

200

800

4000

25

10

250

1000

5000

30

10

300

1200

6000

35

10

350

1400

7000

40

10

400

1600

8000

Note: Freight trains consisting of over 150 boxcars are in regular service and can be over a mile long.


                   
Rapid Commute Design I
Using Tri-Level Box Cars

No. of Boxcars per Train

No. of Vehicles on a Tri-Level Boxcar

Vehicles Carried Per Train

Vehicles Carried Per Hour
(Every 15 min)

Vehicles Carried During each 5-Hour Rush Period either morning or evening
(4AM – 9AM and 3PM – 8PM)

10

15

150

600

3000

15

15

225

900

4500

20

15

300

1200

6000

25

15

375

1500

7500

30

15

450

1800

9000

35

15

525

2100

10500

40

15

600

2400

12000



Rapid Commute System - Design II

This is a completely new idea in commuter transportation. What if, we could design a system that is so efficient that it would:

  • Carry twice the number of commuter vehicles
  • The time to load and unload an entire train would be the same time that it takes for a single vehicle to load or unload
  • Allow unlimited intermediate stops
  • Carry extra-wide freight that cannot be carried on the narrow trains of today

The Rapid Commute System – Design II is designed to accomplish all the above four goals.

It is striking to see how narrow trains really are. The height and width of a train boxcar looks out of proportion but since the design of tracks and train is centuries old and an infrastructure has been built around it, it is hard to imagine any other way even if it is technically possible. To make the Rapid Commute system more efficient, a completely new way must be examined. I propose a new kind of track be laid for special routes. This would be a four-track system rather than the present-day system of two tracks. A special wider boxcar that can ride on these four tracks, with each axle having four wheels, will be necessary.

The inner two tracks will have the same dimensions as present day tracks to accommodate the train engine as well as regular trains when these new trains are not running. However, both inner and outer tracks will be utilized by the new boxcars, which will be wide enough to carry cars sideways, or perpendicular to the trains, allowing two times as many vehicles to be carried per boxcar. The new boxcars will have three decks - an upper, middle and lower deck.

For maximum efficiency, special train stations need to be built having three tiered platforms that would be parallel to the three decks of the commuter trains so commuter vehicles could be loaded and unloaded seamlessly onto the decks of the boxcars. For maximum efficiency, the length of the train station would need to be equal to or greater than the length of the commuter train.

Each deck of the Rapid Commute Design II train will accommodate 10 cars, parked sideways, making 30 cars per boxcar. A train with 10 boxcars would be able to carry 300 cars. Trains leaving every 10 minutes (due to faster loading and unloading of vehicles), would carry 1,800 cars per hour and during the same five-hour rush period, would take 9,000 vehicles off the busy freeways during morning and the same number of vehicles during the evening rush-hour period per track. If 30 boxcars are used, 27,000 would be off the freeway during each rush hour. In the future, as the number of vehicles increase on freeways, more trains can simultaneously run on parallel tracks to continually lighten the burden on freeways.

If the rail lines for the Rapid Commute System are built and owned by the municipalities and are private and not part of the national network of railroad, then laying the four track system for Design II would be possible and a highly cost effective option as no leasing of the rail lines would be required.

                   
Rapid Commute Design II

No. of Boxcars per Train

No. of Vehicles on a Tri-Level Boxcar

Vehicles Carried Per Train

Vehicles Carried Per Hour
(Every 10 min)

Vehicles Carried During each 5-Hour Rush Period
(4AM – 9AM and 3PM – 8PM)

10

30

300

1800

 9,000

15

30

450

2700

13,500

20

30

600

3600

18,000

25

30

750

4500

22,500

30

30

900

5400

27,000

35

30

1050

6300

31,500

40

30

1200

7200

36,000

Note: Freight trains consisting of over 150 boxcars are in regular service and can be over a mile long.

Routes Suitable for Rapid Commute System

Rapid Commute System can be most efficient along nation's most heavily congested freeways and for trips lasting two or three hours. It is assumed that commuters would be less inclined to sit in their own cars while being carried by train if the trip lasts longer than four hours. Therefore, suitable routes for Rapid Commute ideally would be the ones that last less than four hours. Please see sample destinations in the table below:



Sample of Commute Routes suitable for Rapid Commute System Distance Miles Time by Train Hours
Los Angeles, CA to San Bernardino, CA 62 30 Min
Los Angeles, CA – San Diego, CA 118 2.5 Hrs.
San Francisco Bay Area, CA to Sacramento, CA 76 3 hours
Chicago, IL – Milwaukee, WI 84 1.5 hours
Richmond, VA – Washington D.C 96 1.5 hours
New York, NY – Washington, D.C 209 3 Hours
New York, NY – Philadelphia, PA 82 1.5 Hours
Miami, FL – Orlando, FL 200 3 Hours
Dallas, TX – Fort worth, TX 32 15 Min.
Houston, TX – Austin, TX 146 3.5 Hrs.
San Francisco, CA – San Jose, CA 42 1 Hour
Los Angeles, CA – Las Vegas, NV 231 3.5 Hrs.
Los Angeles, CA – Riverside, CA 57 30 Min
Seattle, WA to Portland, OR 147 3.5 Hrs.
Seattle, WA – Vancouver, CANADA 115 2.5 Hrs.
Seattle, WA – Tacoma, WA 27 15 Min.
Philadelphia, PA – Washington, DC 127 2.5 Hrs.
Newark, NJ – Washington, DC 198 3 Hrs.
Houston, TX – San Antonio, TX 189 3 Hrs.
     

The Rapid Commute System offers two completely different ways of handling traffic congestion problem on freeways. I call these two systems Design I and Design II. Design I uses existing infrastructure and modified boxcars and could be ready within one to two years, causing noticeable reductions in traffic on specific routes. Design II requires new infrastructure and could take up to five years to implement. This five-year period is not significant when compared to the 5 to 10 years it takes to complete a new freeway, from the time the project is identified to the time the road is built.

http://www.gov.ns.ca/tran/highways/faq.asp

Unfortunately, while freeways are being widened, the number of cars each year continues to increase, nullifying any gains. The net result is that freeway congestion remains the same and in some areas even worsens. My proposed system would make the gains in traffic reduction on freeways permanent. The proposed Design I and II are not mutually exclusive. One municipality may decide to forego Design I, and move directly into Design II while another decides to use Design I and never advance to Design II. Larger municipalities might have both Designs operating in different locations, using different routes. Either way, the observation of substantial traffic reduction on routes where the plan(s) are operational is ensured.


If free Wi-Fi is provided on board Rapid Commute System trains, the commuters would be able to:

  • Watch a movie
  • Take a nap
  • Multitask
  • Do office work

With Rapid Commute System, the commuters would be able to:

  • Avoid traffic tickets
  • Avoid Accidents
  • Avoid delays
  • All Aboard! Enjoy gasoline and smog -free ride.

Frequently asked questions


  • What is Rapid Commute System?

    Rapid Commute System is the name of a patented (U.S. Patent 8074576) new type of a vehicle commute system that allow commuters to commute to and from work using a specially modified train that carries both commuters and their vehicles. This system would be highly efficient, safe and environmentally friendly.

  • Why is Rapid Commute System better than the current road-based systems?

    The Rapid Commute System can use electric trains that are smog-free. Since commuters won't drive their cars to commute, a lot of gasoline will be saved and the accompanying smog would be eliminated. The Rapid Commute System would also save untold lives in traffic accidents as commuters won't be actually driving their vehicles but would be carried by train just as a ferryboat carries passengers and their vehicles while crossing a lake or a river. The Rapid Commute System would help commuters arrive at their destinations completely relaxed and rested.

  • How does the Rapid Commute System work?

    When using Rapid Commute System, the commuters and their passengers along with their vehicles will be carried by a specially modified train from point A to point B. At the point of origin, the commuters will drive their vehicles themselves into specially designed box cars using custom ramp trucks. Once inside the box cars, the commuters would continue to drive from box car to box car until they reach the front of the train and park their vehicles and turn off their engines. Simultaneously other commuters will follow until the train is full or there are no more commuters left. Now the Rapid Commute train will proceed to the destination, while the commuters relax in their automobiles. At the destination, ramp trucks, would attach. The commuters would disembark using the ramp trucks and new commuters making the trip back would embark. Click here to view a two minute Design I animation:
    http://rapidcommute.net/design2video.html

  • What type of modifications would be needed to convert a regular rail car into Rapid Commute rail car?

    The ideal solution would be to custom design new rail cars (boxcars). But initially, modified box cars would be the cheapest and fastest way to go. The boxcar's front and back doors would need to be widened so vehicles could pass through. Fold down ramps would need to be installed between boxcars. The rail cars would need central heating and air conditioning along with large windows and bright lighting. Public Announcement (PA) system and Wi-Fi need to be installed. There would be a need for walkways and handrails along the windows for commuters to use and enjoy the view outside. The floors of the box cars would need guiding rails that would help keep the commuter cars moving in the desired direction. Comfort cars would also need to be built that may have extra seating, vending machines and restrooms.

  • Can the Rapid Commute System adapt to slower days or heavier days of traffic on freeways?

    Yes, the Rapid Commute System is designed to be flexible. The ramp trucks that are used in loading and unloading the vehicles offer this flexible approach as they are not dependent on the number of box cars. So on lighter days, fewer boxcars could be used and on busier days, more box cars could be added.

  • What is the key advantage of using the Rapid Commute System?

    Rapid Commute is the only short-haul system in the world that allows commuters to have their cars available to them at the starting point and the destination.

  • Is there a long distance system where trains carry passengers and their vehicles at the same time?

    Amtrak operates a system called Auto Train. The Auto Train consists of passenger cars, auto-racks and a caboose. It usually consists of 40-plus rail cars (Amtrak's longest trains) and the length of the train station in Lorton, Virginia is over 1,480 feet (longer than the height of the Sears Tower!).
    http://nationalatlas.gov/articles/transportation/a_amtrak.html

    The Auto Train carries passengers separately in the passenger compartments while the passengers' vehicles are carried in auto-racks behind. This system is operational between Lorton, Virginia and Sanford, Florida (855 miles) and runs along I-95 freeway. In this system, the passengers and their vehicles are available at both ends of the journey.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto-Train_Corporation

    Alaska Railroad also offers a service similar to Auto-Train called "Whittier Shuttle". It also carries passengers and their vehicles separately on a single train.

  • How would the Design I be implemented?

    Design I is a commute system that can be implemented in one to two year in most cases. It uses present day technology and already available infrastructure with minor modifications to railcars and stations to provide the Rapid Commute System to the public.

  • After implementation of Design I, can the system be improved or made more efficient?

    Yes, the system can be further improved and made highly efficient by adopting Design II of the Rapid Commute system.

  • What is Design II and how would it be implemented?

    Design II is a powerful concept that allows a more efficient commute. This system requires building new infrastructure that includes a new type of railroad lines consisting of four rails instead of the usual two rails to allow commuter vehicles to be carried perpendicular to the train for maximum efficiency. This system will make possible multiple stops for commuters to embark and disembark and would enable extra large freight to be carried. This system would allow the whole train to be loaded and unloaded in five minutes or less thus allowing more commuter trains to be scheduled in an hour.

    http://rapidcommute.net/design2video.html

  • What type of commuters can use Rapid Commute System?

    The system can accommodate most commuters who commute in their sub-compact, compact and sedan passenger cars and light pick-up trucks. Big SUVs and full size trucks may need to continue to drive on the freeways. Motorcycles and scooters, even those that are not freeway capable, could be allowed. An automatic scan system has also been designed that would exclude vehicles that exceed the length limit and provide them with a detour.

  • Could electric cars benefit from Rapid Commute System?

    The Rapid Commute System can be viewed as more suitable for Electric cars and CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) vehicles due to the following three factors:

    a) Electric cars and CNG vehicles have a limited range that can cause range anxiety in commuters. If the electric cars and their drivers are transported on Rapid Commute System instead, the electric cars can reach their destination on fully charged batteries and will be available for local driving, increasing their utility.

    b) Most general purpose electric cars are more efficient at slower city driving than for high speed freeway commuting. Rapid Commute System can eliminate the need for electric cars to be driven on freeways.

    c) Electric cars are light weight and can suffer significantly more damage in collision with bigger vehicles (SUVs and big trucks) that usually crowd the freeways. Rapid Commute System can provide an alternative to freeway driving.

  • Wouldn't driverless cars solve the traffic problem better than Rapid Commute System?

    The concept of driverless car has some advantages but the driverless cars would still need to be driven on the freeways. They would still consume gas, produce smog, cause congestion and contribute to depreciation of the vehicle due to wear and tear and high mileage. Another problem is public's acceptance of the driverless car concept. It may be hard to convince commuters to leave the driving to a computer when the car is traveling at high speed in close proximity of other computer controlled cars and making tight turns, all automatically, say in heavy rain. What happens if a tire blows out? Would all driverless cars instantly react in concert to minimize the effects of the collision? There are many questions that need to be answered first. In any case, that technology is not here yet. Rapid Commute uses present-day, proven and trusted technology.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16197664

  • How much would the Rapid Commute System cost a commuter to use?

    It shouldn't cost too much. A 40 mile one way commute should not cost more than $20 per trip with state subsidies. Almost all public transportation systems anywhere in the world rely on state subsidies to stay in operation. Hardly there is any public transportation system that is completely profitable on its own, year after year. Therefore Rapid Commute System would need to be made an affordable option to the commuters by subsidizing the fares to make them more affordable. That fare should be in line with the normal toll charges on toll roads for such commutes and what MTA charges individual passengers for a 40-mile ride into downtown on its Metro trains. The use of low fares could entice commuters to use the system wholeheartedly and make the program a success. The commuters would benefit by saving on gasoline, the wear and tear and depreciation of their vehicles and be able to enjoy a safe, relaxed journey. States subsidies should not be a problem as the municipalities would save considerable money by not widening lanes or constructing new freeways. The funds already allocated for highway construction could be diverted to this rail-based system for faster implementation of this plan.

  • What happens when the traffic grows in the future? Would the Rapid Commute System able to keep up?

    Just as we have multiple freeways going to the downtown business districts from different directions, we could have multiple parallel rail lines going to the same destination in the future to accommodate the growth.

  • Can "Design I" accommodate intermediate stops between destinations?

    Design I is most efficient when used as an express train between two destinations, but intermediate stops can be accommodated. If the vehicles are sorted at the beginning of the trip in such a way that the vehicles that are going to disembark first would be loaded first into the train or into a cluster of boxcars then trains can make the needed stops. To reduce the disruption of the flow of traffic to a minimum, lanes at the station would be clearly labeled with destination names allowing the commuters to line up efficiently in the lane of their choice.

  • How would the drivers and passengers use restrooms during the trip?

    The Rapid Commute System is designed for short haul trips. During regular commute lasting sometimes two hours or more, the freeway commuters don't have the luxury of using bathrooms as they are stuck in traffic in their cars. So while using Rapid Commute System, most drivers would probably prefer to hold on during their few hour commute. Still, The Rapid Commute System would provide a Comfort Car at the end of the train containing seating, vending machines and bathrooms.

  • Would rail lines need to be leased from the rail line owners to make the Rapid Commute System operational?

    There is no need to lease rail lines that are part of the national network of rail lines as those lines are extensively used by freight and passenger trains and may not be easily available for lease. The light rails in many downtown areas are operated using their own private rail lines. Since The Rapid Commute System trains would only operate locally and would be used as a short-haul transportation system between point A and point B, private rail lines on those routes would be highly desirable and cost effective. The private ownership of rail lines would also make it possible to lay the four track system for the Design II without any objections from the rail lines.

  • How the traffic congestion problem at the loading and unloading points would be handled as a lot of vehicles would be congregating in a small area?

    For smoother traffic flow without congestion spots, infrastructure would need to be developed around the loading/unloading stations. The infrastructure improvement could include widening the roads, and building the stations a few miles away from city centers. The best way to handle traffic congestion at loading and unloading stations is for the train to make various stops before heading nonstop to the destination. The more the stations are available, the lesser the congestion at a given station as only commuters that are local to that station would mostly use that station. For heavily trafficked stations, dedicated lanes (like carpool lanes) or underground tunnels, similar to Alameda Corridor in the city of Compton can be built. The Alameda Corridor is a 20 mile freight rail expressway that is built as a trench to avoid local traffic.

    The Design II would require specially built stations. The Design II stations would be three tier buildings with each tier parallel to the train's three decks. For highly efficient and rapid loading and unloading of vehicles, the station building needs to be as long in length as the projected length of the train or longer. This way the entire train could be loaded or unloaded within 5 minutes, regardless of the number of boxcars. To read more about the Alameda Corridor, please click on the link below.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alameda_Corridor

  • Would the time involved in loading and unloading the vehicles not equal the time of sitting in traffic?

    If dedicated infrastructure is properly built around the loading/unloading stations, and there are numerous stations for commuters to go to, sitting in traffic to reach the station should not be a problem. Smaller cities can actually benefit from the Rapid Commute system more than big cities. In newer cities, the infrastructure is not dilapidated as in older cities and can be built from the scratch keeping loading/unloading stations for Rapid Commute System in mind as the cities expand.

    Assuming that the destination for the commute is through heavily congested freeways, driving on the freeway would cause significant delay in reaching the destination. To reach a station that is built with proper infrastructure in place would be a minor comparative delay.

  • Who would pay for the Rapid Commute System to make it a reality?

    There are five ways a project of this scope can be funded.

    • A system constructed by the municipalities by issuing bonds.
    • The Rapid Commute System owned by the railways as a for-profit venture. Amtrak could become profitable by offering this service.
    • A non-profit organization funded by donations and toll fares operating the system.
    • A federal or state government managed / supported system, such as a regional transportation association consisting of several cities and counties.
    • Private investors grouping together to create a corporation that sells stocks and uses the funds to build, operate and maintain the system, similar to the 91 Toll Expressway in Orange County, California. To read more about the 91 Toll Expressway, please click on the link below:

      http://www.sirit.com/Case_Studies/SR-91_Case_Study_Final.pdf

  • Is there an infrastructure in place that could be readily converted and used for Rapid Commute System?

    Metrolink is a commuter rail system serving Los Angeles and the surrounding area of Southern California. It currently consists of six leased railway lines and 55 stations using 512 miles (824 km) of track. Similar systems are being built or already in place for major metropolitan areas in the United States. Those facilities can be modified and improved to accommodate Rapid Commute System within reasonable cost. For areas that don't have anything similar, new private railway lines could be built. To read more about MTA, please click on the link below:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrolink_(Southern_California)

  • Wouldn't building new railway lines be very expensive?

    Railway lines are cheaper to build than freeways. A mile of freeway through an urban area costs approximately $39 million, while a mile of freeway through a rural area costs approximately $8 million.
    http://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,1607,7-151-14011-28076--F,00.html

    A new freeway, I-105 was recently built in Southern California, at a staggering cost of $135 million per mile. A 17-mile section of the freeway cost $2.3 billion to complete.

    http://www.roadstothefuture.com/I-105_Century_Fwy.html

    One mile of railway line on flat land would cost about $1.3 million, substantially less than the cost of building a freeway.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090109192918AASedYi

  • How would this program/transition be marketed to get it going? What can be done to get people to make this very marked change in their habits?

    Most people resist change and therefore altering people's ingrained habits is always challenging. A new program would be accepted by people if it offers substantial benefits to the available status quo. With proper marketing people can be persuaded to try a new approach if their two most important criteria are met.

    • Their out-of-pocket expense in adapting a new system is same or less than what they spend on their current option or the new option offers more overall value to them.
    • The new system is safe and easy to use.


    • In the case of Rapid Commute, getting to the station and returning home while not getting stuck in traffic and the level of comfort experienced during the ride would determine the success or failure of the system in commuters' eyes. With proper state subsidies, the Rapid Commute System can be made affordable when taken into considerations the slew of benefits offered.

  • What would happen if there were an accident on a train and this delayed traffic?

    Accidents are more likely on freeways than on trains as trains are run by professional operators.

    In the United States, there are roughly 33,000 fatalities from freeway accidents every year.

    Railroad fatalities are less than a thousand!

    http://www.bts.gov/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_02_01.html

    With proper safety procedures, the chances of accidents can be minimized on trains. The accidents won't be any more severe than the derailment or accidents of regular passenger trains. An accident or derailment of a Rapid Commute train would actually cause fewer casualties as the density of commuters would be far less on a Rapid Commute Train than on a regular passenger train. If commuters are required to wear seatbelts while they are seated in their vehicles along with the protection afforded by the airbags in their vehicles, the casualties should be far less than casualties on a fully loaded passenger trains.

    The Design II train could be even safer. The boxcars would run on four tracks instead of the usual two tracks, providing more stability. Each axle on the Rapid Commute Design II train would have four wheels which could help the train stay upright during derailment, thus further reducing casualties.

  • How frequently would such accidents occur?

    With proper training, procedures and oversight, the frequency of accidents could be minimized. At the worst case scenario, the Rapid Commute trains would have the same accident rate as regular passenger or commuter trains.

  • Is Rapid Commute System really safer than driving on freeways?

    Driving on the freeways is hazardous, risky to one's health, results in lost productivity, and carries high fuel costs. In contrast, the Rapid Commute System would be inherently safe and efficient.

  • How does the Rapid Commute system differ from the Road-Train concept?

    Both systems are actually quite different. The Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE) Project involves a lead truck joined by a platoon of "enslaved" cars that follow the lead truck un-tethered and automatically. The drivers and passengers in the "enslaved" cars just enjoy the ride and let the computer drive their cars. The system still has few disadvantages compared to the Rapid Commute system. The "enslaved" cars consume gasoline and pollute environment, as they follow. Since the "enslaved" vehicles follow each other very closely, there is a concern that in case of a mechanical or electrical breakdown in any of the cars, all the other vehicles could end up colliding with each other. In any case, the system is experimental at this time and could become operational many years from now. Public acceptance of this concept could be a big hurdle as drives and their passengers would have to put their complete trust in a fully automated computer driven system.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19987-road-train-technology-can-drive-your-car-for-you.html

  • What are the some other benefits of the Rapid Commute System?


    Train Drivers - Leave The Driving To Professionals

    One benefit could be related to the value of the vehicle. Buying an automobile is the second most expensive expenditure for most families. When a vehicle is used for commuting, it wears down fast and accumulates high mileage that leads to depreciation of their investment. Using Rapid Commute System, a commuter's vehicle would not accumulate excessive mileage and thus retain the value of their vehicles and their investment.


    If commuters using the Rapid Commute System are provided with free Wi-Fi, commuters could shop on the internet while commuting thus helping the economy.

    Another benefit could that the Rapid Commute System could encourage the expansion of suburbs in more desirable locations free from the worry of commute as the commute time would become restful and productive.

Do We Need Freeways?

The concept of letting anyone with a driver's license the right to drive on the freeways is a risky proposition. If you think about it, it is a scary concept. The lanes are narrow and people with all kind of emotional baggage are trusted to drive at high speeds maintaining their full concentration for hours at a time.

It is a lot to ask from people when we know that our population represents a huge variety of people. For instance, we allow on our freeways:

  • Inexperienced drivers and those who make unsafe lane changes and are easily distracted.
  • Emotionally unstable people with phobias who get intimidated when passing big trucks and those who can't control their emotions and tempers.
  • Drivers who are on legal medications that makes them drowsy and those who use illegal drugs and who choose to drink excessively and get drunk and drive. Yes, there are laws against driving under the influence, but since the system is based on trust, one must first be caught before they are removed from the highway.
  • People who are slow thinkers and with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), yet we expect them to be quick thinkers and have the ability to make critical split-second decisions.
  • Sleep-deprived drivers and insomniacs who fall asleep while driving, stay on the freeway.
  • Those whose vehicles are a safety hazard.
  • People without driver's license or car insurance. We have laws against that, but there are no filters to stop them from entering our freeway system.
  • Drivers who eat, drink, put on makeup, check their email and send and receive text messages and surf the Internet.
  • Those who listen to music at full blast, tap their feet, rock and roll in their seats and with their headphones on.

This list can go on and on. Anyone with any medical or emotional condition and with any level of maturity can enter our freeway system with no restrictions at all. Should we trust our lives to people with the above conditions?

Many of these causes and effects can contribute to serious accidents and fatalities resulting in huge traffic jams. Yet we expect all drivers to display maturity, expertise, professionalism, discipline, courtesy, responsibility and full control of their vehicles, while demonstrating quick thinking and agility in all situations, all – while driving in narrow lanes at freeway speeds.

Other problems related to freeway traffic congestion are excessive smog that results in long-term health problem including emphysema and cancer. There also is the matter of time wasted during a commute, the ensuing loss of productivity, the wasted fuel and the related money spent on it, the long-lasting effect of fatigue and stress on commuters, and the excessive noise that affects the communities in the vicinity of the freeways. Even if all the above mentioned problems did not exist, the commute would still costs America billions of gallons of imported fuel that is wasted on the freeways while stuck in stop-and-go freeway driving. But when added with the fuel expense and all the potential problems, the cost of driving on the freeways is enormous in lives and treasury.

What if we can eliminate all these risks and still facilitate people to commute from point A to point B? What if we could just eliminate the freeways altogether?

What if we rely upon our trusted railway system - a system that has an enviable track record of more than 200 years of faithfully and reliably delivering services throughout the world, a system that is the most energy-efficient transportation system in existence – instead?

According to the sciencebuzz, a train can move 1 ton of freight 423 miles on one gallon of fuel.

http://www.sciencebuzz.org/blog/freight-train-miles-gallon

Another example of the efficiency of the trains is that a single freight train can replace 280 full size (18-wheeler) trucks.

http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/transportation_systems/overview/index.html

My Rapid Commute patented transportation system allows electric trains to take passengers and their vehicles (cars, pickup trucks, motorcycles) on board. Larger vehicles such as SUVs and 18-wheeler tractor trailers can be carried by trains as well, as trains presently carry millions of containers and tractor trailers without the trucks. But the trains also can easily carry the big trucks. This means that a society can be built where electric trains can carry full freeway traffic from point A to point B. Four-lane freeways can be replaced with four sets of trains tracks (the loading and unloading of tractor-trailers would make the process considerably slower and therefore dedicated tracks for bigger vehicles might be needed). All these electric trains could run simultaneously in a continuous fashion during rush hour. During off hours, the trains would run at a schedule that takes into account the level of traffic. With this system, the driving would be left to only highly trained professional train operators who could be mandated by law to take scheduled rest breaks, are tested for drug use, and even checked for emotional stability (by administrating an alertness quick test) before taking the controls of a train. All freeway traffic would be carried on board electric trains and moved without individually consuming a drop of gasoline. Imagine the impact of such a system on the economy and our society if universally implemented! The GDP would show a marked improvement in a few short years. The good news is that all of the technology needed to make this system is presently available, and we have years of experience in successfully implementing that technology.

By adopting the Rapid Commute System, we would see collateral benefits as well. Since the creation of the first U.S. suburb in Levittown, Long Island, back in 1947, the outward suburban expansion has continued. The same phenomenon of expanding metropolitan areas can be seen throughout the world, making long and tedious commutes a daily part of life for many of the world's citizens. In the United States and other developed countries, these newer suburban communities are highly desirable as they provide a safe and clean environment for people to raise their families. But this has always come at a steep price – the dread of longer and more exhausting commutes. The recent hike in prices of gasoline threatens this expansion and with it the American way of life. The Rapid Commute System with onboard free Wi-Fi can facilitate the continuation of outward suburban expansion by transforming the dreaded long commutes into relaxing and enjoyable drive. The time spent during the commute could be enhanced by making it more productive by encouraging commuters to use cell phones, send text messages, and surf the Internet. The commuters also can spend the free time relaxing, reading a book or magazine, watching a movie, or taking a nap. Workaholics can do office work and participate in video conferencing with their counterparts, make sales pitches and finalize deals, all while commuting. This would lead to increased productivity.

The overall economy would benefit as well, as many commuters could engage in an extra one or two hours of surfing and shopping online, the time they previously wasted stuck in traffic.

Emerging and Third World countries may especially need to consider the Rapid Commute System as an available and viable option. Instead of blindly following the route taken by the developed countries in building an intensive and expensive network of freeways and then becoming trapped in the never ending traffic jams, highway accidents and deaths, and high gasoline consumption that could sap their future growth, Rapid Commute System could allow a shortcut method to prosperity and high growth, one that is free from smog and dependence on foreign fuel. With Rapid Commute System, I believe, communities can be built around railway lines without having the need to build freeways.




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