Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Transit Poll recap

Well the poll is closed and I was surprised at just how close the voting was.

I, of course, voted for the surface running tram. I just think that it looks cleaner. Some of the examples that I have seem, have the trams running along not only on the streets, but also through some very grassy strips beside the roadway. If the system utilized the power supply devised by Bombardier, the one that powers by inductive motors, then there would be no overhead lines to clutter up the scenery.

To those of you who voted for the elevated system, I would like to hear your reasoning if you would share them. My dislikes about this system revolve around:
  • (1) the massiveness of the poles and guideways. In our downtown, I think that this would detract from the overall look of the city. I know, the buildings downtown are mainly bland and boxy, but adding large supports and rails up to 35-40 ft in the air all through the downtown area is a bit much. The historic neighborhoods bordering downtown have restrictions on style and design, although the supports could be styled to fit in, I guess.
  • (2) The number of guided vehicles. Even the Starship Enterprise had a limited number of turbolifts. The photo shows just a few pod vehicles, which appear to carry 4-6 person each. Some other proposed systems are designed for smaller occupancies, thus would require a greater number of pods. Most systems have proposed the control of the pods to be done by computer and not by human steering. While this could be programed and work well for a simple number of pods we all know that with a rise in pods the complexity increases exponentially. I recall just how well the automated baggage system has worked at the Denver airport (that is to say it failed and ran way over budget).
  • (3) The appeal of the private auto, for most people, stems from one person exerting control over the timeliness and cleanliness of that persons vehicle. In an automated guideway system of pods, that control is limited or eliminated altogether, even if there is only one occupant at a time.
One can talk all they want about the advances in technology and the new computer systems coming on line, but the psychological makeup of of mankind has not made such strides. The Wall Street Journal had a report yesterday about some of the new "smart technologies" being investigated and how giving the driver more information allowed him to make better decisions. I see this as contrary to the programs trying to get drivers to put down their cell phones, ipods and other distractions that keep them from concentrating on the task at hand, driving. In watching my son playing his video games , with all that information on the screen, I finally asked about a certain symbol and was told "Dad, I ignore about half of that stuff, I don't know". Sixteen-year-olds don't care about it and 60 year olds can't understand it, so I guess that our best drivers will be in the 30-40 year old range.

Any way, thank you all for voting and feel free to share your reasons for your vote.

1 comment:

apeebles said...

I chose the overhead because there was no third option of neither. To add more traffic lights/patterns to the downtown area with clunky unattractive trams is going to detract from the ascetics. Possibly this could decrease traffic in the future but really I think our city will use continue to grow and any train system could only hope to stem additional traffic. I don't care for the overhead pictured as it would not fit into the look of our downtown and initially would be very hazardous to all the people who would look up. Trolley type buses like in San Antonio I think would be better as our downtown is so small and compact and we just do not have enough people working in downtown.