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Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit?

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Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit?

Old 05-21-19, 06:00 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
To add fuel to the discussion here are some stats on the subject. It is more if a people did turn their back rather than a why but it shows the attitude of many.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/ar...many-americans
Interesting outtakes from that brief article.


"Only 5.1 percent of U.S. workers commuted regularly by public transportation in the years 2012 to 2016, according to the Census Bureau."

Out of that:

"The New York metropolitan area accounts for 39 percent of U.S. public transportation commuters. The New York, Chicago and Washington areas together make up 52 percent."
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Old 05-21-19, 06:57 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
Interesting outtakes from that brief article.


"Only 5.1 percent of U.S. workers commuted regularly by public transportation in the years 2012 to 2016, according to the Census Bureau."

Out of that:

"The New York metropolitan area accounts for 39 percent of U.S. public transportation commuters. The New York, Chicago and Washington areas together make up 52 percent."
It is a contention I have had for some time that our view on Cities, Suburbs, sprawl, transit all stem from where we live. It also depends on what we are looking at. I got into cycling seriously in the mid 70s when we had the largest percentage of adult sized bicycles sold per capita according to the National Bicycle dealers association. Bicycle commuters back then were just below 1 percent. Nationally according to the national census bureau we have about .6 percent of our population commuting by bicycle. Some cities do better of course. But we often see posts about the giant increase in cyclists when ever it pushes to 1 percent or better. That has taken 46 years since the report on bicycle usage in 1973. Yes there has been growth in the area of cycling but it isn't as great as those that have decided to work from home. They started from almost zero in 1973. According to recently released data from the US Census, 5.2% of workers in the US worked at home in 2017óor 8 million people. I live where the works from home is more obvious so people can live wherever they want and commute from the bedroom to the work room in their pajamas. In southern California we live in a land of Industrial parks where the jobs move to where the people are rather than the people having to move to the city. That might not be the case in the North east but I don't have to deal with the north east. So I see job sprawl as a natural thing because it works for the greater number of people without the restrictions of living packed and stacked. In the north east I see packed and stacked as normal. That affects how some of us view mass transit as well.
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Old 05-22-19, 01:34 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by rseeker View Post
You're not wrong.

> Fink [BlackRock founder and CEO, an investment firm controlling $6.5tn in assets] argues it is not his company’s duty to fight the climate emergency. Fink said that his overriding duty is to make customers money, whatever the environmental consequences.

Responsibility begins with awareness, and they're now fully aware.

https://www.theguardian.com/business...ackrock-assets
I would have offered him a glass of water from the Mississippi and told him to drink up. The result of his forefathers who undoubtedly had the same attitude. One can only imagine how that river would have looked before the Europeans and DuPont.
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Old 05-23-19, 06:32 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
IMO, the distance needs to be measured in time not miles. The article in the first post touches on this.

"In the biggest cities, the radius from downtown accessible within an hourógenerally considered the limit for daily commutingóby transit was fully developed by World War II. Cars dramatically extended that radius, and made it very hard for conventional transit to compete."

So, 1 hour on average by foot, bicycle, transit, or car. I don't know many that will walk or bike an hour one way to work, though.

Edit to add:

Back in my youth (20 y.o.), when my 400cc motorcycle wasn't running, I would walk to the nearest bus stop and take a bus to work. The walk and bus ride would take at least 90 minutes.

When my motorcycle was running, I could make the trip to work in 30 minutes.

The distance was only 13 miles. Clearly, I would have never taken that job if I had not owned motorized transportation.
You're understanding this question wrong.

What I'm saying is that if a person lives somewhere and they can find an opportunity, ANY opportunity, within reasonable walking/biking/transit distance, then you could say LCF is a reasonable option. They might have to work in a convenient store or fast food restaurant and they would have no other options or prospect for career advancement, but if the workplace was within a couple miles, then they could walk/bike to work and back.

Now, they'd also have to be able to do shopping without a car for LCF to be a viable lifestyle.

If the nearest job or shopping is more than a half-hour by bike/transit, I would say it's almost prohibitive. I think that if it takes people an hour to drive to work, that area needs serious reform to bring people and work closer together, which could also mean reducing total driving traffic and replacing it with other modes.
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Old 05-23-19, 06:39 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
It is a contention I have had for some time that our view on Cities, Suburbs, sprawl, transit all stem from where we live. It also depends on what we are looking at. I got into cycling seriously in the mid 70s when we had the largest percentage of adult sized bicycles sold per capita according to the National Bicycle dealers association. Bicycle commuters back then were just below 1 percent. Nationally according to the national census bureau we have about .6 percent of our population commuting by bicycle. Some cities do better of course. But we often see posts about the giant increase in cyclists when ever it pushes to 1 percent or better. That has taken 46 years since the report on bicycle usage in 1973.
I think that 1% growth rate is deceptive, the way the population growth rate neutralizes births with deaths. Many people try out bike commuting and then give up for various reasons. You would have to closely analyze those reasons to see how they are being subtly discouraged from making the switch.

Think of it like all the people who have quit smoking, or drinking, or eating meat; only to give up and restart. The reason they go back is because of peer-pressures, cultural norms, etc. If the same person who fails at quitting smoking moved to a society where no one smoked, it would be much less likely for them to relapse and go back to smoking when they were the only one doing it.

Driving is the same. It's easier to go on doing it because everyone else is; and if no one else was, it would be hard for most people to muster the independence to be the only one doing it.
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Old 05-23-19, 06:45 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
I think that 1% growth rate is deceptive, the way the population growth rate neutralizes births with deaths. Many people try out bike commuting and then give up for various reasons. You would have to closely analyze those reasons to see how they are being subtly discouraged from making the switch.

Think of it like all the people who have quit smoking, or drinking, or eating meat; only to give up and restart. The reason they go back is because of peer-pressures, cultural norms, etc. If the same person who fails at quitting smoking moved to a society where no one smoked, it would be much less likely for them to relapse and go back to smoking when they were the only one doing it.

Driving is the same. It's easier to go on doing it because everyone else is; and if no one else was, it would be hard for most people to muster the independence to be the only one doing it.
Not just doing it, but doing so under the pretense of exalted importance: People who drive cars are superior to those that do not.
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Old 05-23-19, 07:42 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
I think that 1% growth rate is deceptive, the way the population growth rate neutralizes births with deaths. Many people try out bike commuting and then give up for various reasons. You would have to closely analyze those reasons to see how they are being subtly discouraged from making the switch.

Think of it like all the people who have quit smoking, or drinking, or eating meat; only to give up and restart. The reason they go back is because of peer-pressures, cultural norms, etc. If the same person who fails at quitting smoking moved to a society where no one smoked, it would be much less likely for them to relapse and go back to smoking when they were the only one doing it.

Driving is the same. It's easier to go on doing it because everyone else is; and if no one else was, it would be hard for most people to muster the independence to be the only one doing it.
And if millions of people started to ride bikes again would it be easier for them to keep riding bikes and not relapse? Explain this?


and some more: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.scm...as-burst-drone

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Old 05-24-19, 05:20 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
And if millions of people started to ride bikes again would it be easier for them to keep riding bikes and not relapse? Explain this?
I already did. Take someone who drives 5-10 miles to work and move them to a city where most people who live 5-10 miles from work ride a bike or take transit. They would have the option to buy and drive a car to work, but they will probably notice that relatively few people drive while most people take transit or ride a bike, and then they will just opt to go with the majority.

Why would they actively choose to spend more to be part of a driving elite when it's viewed as perfectly normal and socially acceptable to take transit or ride a bike?
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Old 05-24-19, 05:35 AM
  #34  
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I use regional rail as often as I can because I hate fighting traffic in and out of the city. However, regional rail is relatively safe, clean, and without drama. Other forms of public transport can be not so nice. It is not about oil company profits, but some people just don't want the issues of dealing with other people in a commute. They prefer the privacy and safety of their cars. I have no problem using my metro areas rail, EL, trolley, and subway system.
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Old 05-24-19, 07:26 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
You're understanding this question wrong.

What I'm saying is that if a person lives somewhere and they can find an opportunity, ANY opportunity, within reasonable walking/biking/transit distance, then you could say LCF is a reasonable option. They might have to work in a convenient store or fast food restaurant and they would have no other options or prospect for career advancement, but if the workplace was within a couple miles, then they could walk/bike to work and back.

Now, they'd also have to be able to do shopping without a car for LCF to be a viable lifestyle.

If the nearest job or shopping is more than a half-hour by bike/transit, I would say it's almost prohibitive. I think that if it takes people an hour to drive to work, that area needs serious reform to bring people and work closer together, which could also mean reducing total driving traffic and replacing it with other modes.
You queried how far in miles would be the point that people hop in a car instead of taking other forms of transit.

My reply was an excerpt showing where pre WWII commutes usually had a limit of 1 hour no matter the method of transit. The car extended the mileage to work, but the one hour still holds for a person's commute time limit, in most cases.

I gave a personal example where 1.5 hours exceeded my limit, but 30 minutes was acceptable to me.

You followed up saying 30 minutes would likely be a bike/transit limit, so that matches my example.

Your mind reads and communicates different than mine. Your replies and my replies aren't on the same page. I can communicate with the others here much more clearly.

Last edited by FiftySix; 05-24-19 at 07:40 AM.
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Old 05-24-19, 07:36 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Not just doing it, but doing so under the pretense of exalted importance: People who drive cars are superior to those that do not.
Why are car drivers superior to those that do not drive?

Are we mixing up the luxury car drivers with the econobox drivers here?

I do agree that those that can afford to drive a car have more means than those that cannot afford to drive a car. But most people in the USA that ride bikes are also car drivers.

And most bicycle commuters I've seen that aren't poor immigrants have plenty of means. But those better off commuters get to CHOOSE their method of transport, while the poor have fewer choices.

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Old 05-24-19, 11:37 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
I already did. Take someone who drives 5-10 miles to work and move them to a city where most people who live 5-10 miles from work ride a bike or take transit. They would have the option to buy and drive a car to work, but they will probably notice that relatively few people drive while most people take transit or ride a bike, and then they will just opt to go with the majority.

Why would they actively choose to spend more to be part of a driving elite when it's viewed as perfectly normal and socially acceptable to take transit or ride a bike?
No I am afraid you didnít explain at all. You have said before if people were given the choice they would ride bike or take public transit. Then you said if they were already riding bikes it would be easier to keep them riding bikes because others were as well. In the examples I posted the Chinese who at one time were mostly riding bikes drifted to cars. The government allowed companies to promote bike rental programs and gave them a chance to cover the last mile issue. Between 2015 and 2019 the people not the government abandoned close to 1.5 million bikes and several companies went bankrupt from the experiment.

So they were riding the bikes in 2015-2016 along with thousands of others. By 2019 they were tossing the bikes in the trash. Why did a group of people used to such hardships as they were do just the opposite of what you suggested?
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Old 05-24-19, 01:50 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
You queried how far in miles would be the point that people hop in a car instead of taking other forms of transit.
You can't just 'hop in the car instead of taking other forms of transit." You have to buy a car, sign a contract indenturing you to years of payments, enroll in insurance and pay for that monthly as well, pay to fill the tank, change the oil, do or pay for other maintenance, and keep it clean.

It's a lot of effort and risk, not to mention risking life and limb driving around at speeds that can easily break bones. If people weren't programmed to ignore all these things in order to conform to the driving culture, there would be a lot to question.

My reply was an excerpt showing where pre WWII commutes usually had a limit of 1 hour no matter the method of transit. The car extended the mileage to work, but the one hour still holds for a person's commute time limit, in most cases.

I gave a personal example where 1.5 hours exceeded my limit, but 30 minutes was acceptable to me.

You followed up saying 30 minutes would likely be a bike/transit limit, so that matches my example.
I don't think you understood how specific my question was to M155. He said no one is required to drive and everyone is free to LCF. My reply was to ask at what point it can be said that someone is being coerced to drive by the distances they have to travel to work and shopping/errands? In other words, at what point is it reasonable to give in and submit to the driving-culture because to do otherwise is to fatigue yourself as a penalty for not?

Your mind reads and communicates different than mine. Your replies and my replies aren't on the same page. I can communicate with the others here much more clearly.
You should petition the mods to create a subforum for psychological analysis. I don't think you are the only person here would would like to discuss their assessments of others' minds.
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Old 05-24-19, 01:51 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
No I am afraid you didnít explain at all. You have said before if people were given the choice they would ride bike or take public transit. Then you said if they were already riding bikes it would be easier to keep them riding bikes because others were as well. In the examples I posted the Chinese who at one time were mostly riding bikes drifted to cars. The government allowed companies to promote bike rental programs and gave them a chance to cover the last mile issue. Between 2015 and 2019 the people not the government abandoned close to 1.5 million bikes and several companies went bankrupt from the experiment.

So they were riding the bikes in 2015-2016 along with thousands of others. By 2019 they were tossing the bikes in the trash. Why did a group of people used to such hardships as they were do just the opposite of what you suggested?
As usual, you are avoiding responding to what I actually said, probably because you are afraid your response won't be adequate; so you go back and rehash something quasi-related.
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Old 05-24-19, 06:48 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
As usual, you are avoiding responding to what I actually said, probably because you are afraid your response won't be adequate; so you go back and rehash something quasi-related.
You must be a very lonely person. Your theories never hold water.
My response hit directly in your contention that once you got people used to doing something it was easier to keep them doing it. If that contention was proven false what other ideas are gossamer?

Look ok I know it doesnít matter because you have posted that people should be satisfied to work at minimal wage paying jobs to be car free. But to be honest if your other contention worked and we all tried to live compacted into a 10 to 20 minute square rent would eat up every dime you make working late shift at 7/11.
You canít fight economic reality. And I no longer see any reason to quote you posts because you must not read them either.

i imagine you have never measured your carbon footprint either. Because I doubt you really care.

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Old 05-25-19, 11:43 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
My response hit directly in your contention that once you got people used to doing something it was easier to keep them doing it. If that contention was proven false what other ideas are gossamer?
How was it proven false, exactly? Cite what you said and explain how it proves what I said wrong.
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Old 05-25-19, 01:50 PM
  #42  
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TP. To cite what I said or the information provided in the links I post simply proves you do not read them. Because I am never sure you remember the contentions you make discussing the subject is pointless. As another poster indicated you are too hard to communicate with so it is best you just believe what you believe and see where society goes. You can always post the progress your suggestions are making so we can see bus trains, driver Sharing responsibilities in Uber cars. I will wait.
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Old 05-25-19, 02:02 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
You should petition the mods to create a subforum for psychological analysis. I don't think you are the only person here would would like to discuss their assessments of others' minds.
I'm not psycho analyzing anyone. I'm merely saying that I don't communicate well with you. No harm, no foul.

If I wouldn't have been the OP, I would have just walked away from the keyboard like I have on other threads.
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Old 05-25-19, 02:41 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
TP. To cite what I said or the information provided in the links I post simply proves you do not read them. Because I am never sure you remember the contentions you make discussing the subject is pointless. As another poster indicated you are too hard to communicate with so it is best you just believe what you believe and see where society goes. You can always post the progress your suggestions are making so we can see bus trains, driver Sharing responsibilities in Uber cars. I will wait.
In posts #30 and #33 , I explained my POV with no response from you except questioning. You never addressed what I said; only questioned it further.

I'll ask you again, do you think that if someone moved from, say, L.A. to Copenhagen or Shanghai or someplace else where driving was a relative minority of traffic, that they would go out of their way to pay the extra expense and go through the extra trouble of parking, etc. rather than just conform to the majority mode, whether that is using transit or riding a bike?

I have seen plenty of people who move from somewhere transit/bike use is popular, who get a car and drive because they think that's a norm they must conform to when in a US area. I don't think people used to living/driving in the US are any different. If they move to a city where transit and/or biking is more normal than driving, it is unlikely they will get a car and go through all the hoops it takes to drive, e.g. get insurance, get driver's license certification, etc.

What reasons do you have to think that people used to driving in an area where they experience driving as normal would go through so much trouble to drive in an area where they see transit use and/or bike riding as normal? What would make it worth the trouble and expense to them in such a situation?
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Old 05-25-19, 02:45 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
I'm not psycho analyzing anyone. I'm merely saying that I don't communicate well with you. No harm, no foul.

If I wouldn't have been the OP, I would have just walked away from the keyboard like I have on other threads.
It sounds like you're backing off compared with what you posted:
Your mind reads and communicates different than mine. Your replies and my replies aren't on the same page. I can communicate with the others here much more clearly.
Too bad. I was getting visions of a Bike Forums Psychology sub-form. Now if there's no such forum, how are you going to analyze my visions, along with my mind and communications as you've already done?

I'm telling you, you're missing out. There are a couple of other posters who just delight in analyzing and ridiculing me for the way I think and write. You would be in good company with them, if you're not already.

Oh, but in case you didn't realize it, the reason they all ridicule me is because they're pro-car; so if that's not your reason for posting in LCF, then you might not get along with them as well as I think; or they might start analyzing and ridiculing your mind if you fail to tow the line of being pro-car/driving.
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Old 05-25-19, 02:59 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
It sounds like you're backing off compared with what you posted:

Too bad. I was getting visions of a Bike Forums Psychology sub-form. Now if there's no such forum, how are you going to analyze my visions, along with my mind and communications as you've already done?

I'm telling you, you're missing out. There are a couple of other posters who just delight in analyzing and ridiculing me for the way I think and write. You would be in good company with them, if you're not already.

Oh, but in case you didn't realize it, the reason they all ridicule me is because they're pro-car; so if that's not your reason for posting in LCF, then you might not get along with them as well as I think; or they might start analyzing and ridiculing your mind if you fail to tow the line of being pro-car/driving.
I never said that I was psycho analyzing you or anyone else in either post. I was simply describing my difficulty communicating with you, but said differently in each statement.

I do come to Bike Forums or any forum to discuss things from time to time. If I can communicate clearly with other members, whether we agree or disagree on a topic, it makes further discussion interesting and potentially worthwhile.

What attracted me to LCF here at BF was the high speed rail thread. If that rail is built, one portion of that railway will be 3 miles from my house by bicycle or car. Too bad the nearest station will be 20 miles away and I'd have to go back into town to get there.
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Old 05-25-19, 09:10 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
I never said that I was psycho analyzing you or anyone else in either post. I was simply describing my difficulty communicating with you, but said differently in each statement.


I do come to Bike Forums or any forum to discuss things from time to time. If I can communicate clearly with other members, whether we agree or disagree on a topic, it makes further discussion interesting and potentially worthwhile.
I try to be as clear as possible, but everyone has different filters that help or hinder their ability to read what others write. All I can tell you is that some people intentionally accuse others of being bad/unclear communicators as a subtle way of squelching and/or twisting what they say in responding to them. It is an obfuscation tactic; something someone would do when they are desperate to win an argument and they're afraid that responding to something someone else says in a way that clarifies it would make them vulnerable to losing ground. In short, some people don't care about real clarity in communication, but they will still accuse someone else of being unclear to try to cheat and come out looking smarter or more right than they actually are.


What attracted me to LCF here at BF was the high speed rail thread. If that rail is built, one portion of that railway will be 3 miles from my house by bicycle or car. Too bad the nearest station will be 20 miles away and I'd have to go back into town to get there.

As for rail, I totally understand why you would like to see functional passenger rail. I would love to see even a good slow passenger train that runs on schedule and that is price-competitive with Grehhound (outside first-class, of course). If you watch the news surrounding rail developments, however, you should notice a pattern that once a project is launched, the money gets spent and then the costs are raised so that they can either milk the project for more money and/or use the cost overruns as an excuse to scrap the project and/or slow it down so it never actually becomes functional as an alternative to driving. If you think about, this works out to maximize benefits to automotive investors, businesses, and workers/unions; i.e. because it maintains demand inelasticity for car/insurance/fuel sales, road and highway projects, etc. while also providing a channel for stimulating jobs and business revenues that fund further automotive-economic spending and growth. In short, rail projects end up stimulating the automotive economy by pumping money into it; and they support demand-inelasticity by launching and then failing as an alternative mode of transportation.


Applying technological innovations to improving bus/transit technology would allow buses to function in a way similar to trains on existing highways. If passenger demand was sufficient, you could connect multiple buses in series, like train cars, with their braking systems connected so they would all stop simultaneously when braking. With electric motors, you wouldn't even have to worry about each bus's exhaust leaking into the buses behind it.


If automated control systems were utilized to stabilize vehicles so they could drive in tandem at highway speeds and thus transfer passengers and/or fuel/charging without stopping, that would enable passengers to board a loading bus, which would then enter the highway to sync up with a passing 'bus-train,' which would then not have to stop to load and unload passengers. That would mean you could send such a bus-train from Miami to Boston without it ever having to stop or even slow down to load/unload passengers OR to fuel/charge.


Such a bus-train system would be efficient and convenient to use if developed and implemented; and it would probably ultimately cost a lot less than establishing passenger rail lines, high-speed or otherwise, which would be environmentally harmful if they required clearing new corridors outside of current highway right-of-way.

Last edited by tandempower; 05-25-19 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 05-25-19, 09:56 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
It sounds like you're backing off compared with what you posted:

Too bad. I was getting visions of a Bike Forums Psychology sub-form. Now if there's no such forum, how are you going to analyze my visions, along with my mind and communications as you've already done?

I'm telling you, you're missing out. There are a couple of other posters who just delight in analyzing and ridiculing me for the way I think and write. You would be in good company with them, if you're not already.

Oh, but in case you didn't realize it, the reason they all ridicule me is because they're pro-car; so if that's not your reason for posting in LCF, then you might not get along with them as well as I think; or they might start analyzing and ridiculing your mind if you fail to tow the line of being pro-car/driving.
Incorrect.
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Old 05-26-19, 12:18 PM
  #49  
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MOD NOTE to All:......I just checked the thread title, and the topic is "Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit?"
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Old 05-26-19, 12:39 PM
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"The limited transit service available in most American cities means that demand will never materialize—not without some fundamental changes."

"To this day, in most parts of American cities, it is all but impossible to get anywhere on a Sunday at 8 p.m. by transit, and if you miss the bus you might be waiting an hour or more for the next one. Such a situation is virtually unheard of in most other developed countries, where even many small villages have a relatively regular bus."

"That’s the fundamental problem that makes transit useless for most people in most American cities. The key to great transit service is not about getting 100 percent of people to ride transit for 100 percent of trips. It’s about giving people a viable choice of getting around without needing to drive."


https://www.citylab.com/transportati...ced-it/572167/
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