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The future of transit is self-driving medium sized vehicles with no fixed routes or schedules


Most of our focus these days is on self-driving personal cars. In spite of that focus, the effects on mass transit will also be quite dramatic, in ways far beyond taking the driver out of the bus. Indeed, for various reasons, I believe traditional approaches to mass transit (large vehicles on fixed routes and schedules, sometimes with private right-of-way) will be obsoleted by robocar technology, and that the result will be almost 100% good -- transportation that is better, faster, more convenient and even more sustainable. (The latter shocks people, who think that anything with small vehicles is inherently less energy efficient.)

I have a new special article on outlining potential visions for the future of transit, and what they might mean. The vision is a work in progress, but I invite debate.

Click for The Future of Mass Transit


For a wider audience to fully understand and rebroadcast these visions, you may want to solicit (or even commission) illustrations.

For this most recent installment, I'm thinking especially useful images could be...

• a typical solocar-to-RoboVAN transfer lot

• the 8-door, 16 'business class' seat RoboVANs themselves: interior & exterior

• rail rights-of-way refit with pavings and fly-arounds to mix in wheeled vehicles

I have been meaning to get some but have just not had the time and I was sitting on the article too long.

Yes, I want illustrations of these very things. The van actually only needs 4 doors for the 4 rows (emergency punch out windows on the other side like a bus) though it would be faster to load and unload with 8 doors.

In addition the "doors" could be a single door which hinges up, providing rain shade, or two double-width doors. Unlike regular vans which have to be able to open the doors when parked in a parking spot, these vans don't need that, though if you can't open the doors after a flip that's why you need the emergency push out windows on the other side.

Another option is the last row people face backwards -- they get a picture window if they want, and more to the point they can put the seat over the wheel well which you need to do. Not everybody will face backwards but 1/4 of people would.

Several shapes of van are also possible, including 3 x 5 (a bit narrower and longer) and open floorplan with fold-down seats for super-peak times with most people standing, like many transit vehicles today. However, at some point you get the weight up where you are damaging the roads -- it's the 4th power of the weight, so you really want to avoid too many heavy vehicles.

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