The end of the A380 and California HSR teach us smaller is better
I have written often about the new economies in transportation that future technology like robocars provide. In my research I've learned something that seems to not be well known in the transportation world -- that often, smaller is better and more energy efficient.
This gelled strongly this week with the end of both the Airbus A380 and the California High Speed Rail -- two giant transportation systems that violated this rule, and tried to be too big.
The normal wisdom is that the more mass your mass transit is, the more efficient it will be. Instead, while transportation does get more efficient as the vehicle size grows at first, as you make the vehicles bigger you create more burdens for the passengers, and they stop riding, and the efficiency and economic viability start going down, even though the physics says they should go up.
It leads to the surprising conclusion that the train and bus may be becoming obsolete, in part thanks to Robocars that eliminate the one big economy of large vehicles --needing only one driver.
I have written up a new version of this lesson, based on the A380 and CHSR in a new Forbes post, found at: