The El (that’s the blue line) already has absurd capacity problems. Chicago airport transit, at both Midway and O’Hare, is already pretty great compared to similarly sized airports: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/planes-trains-and-taxis...
In conclusion, maybe we should have more trains on the El, express and otherwise, or invest in Metra to get to the airport, instead of betting on an unproven, totally new, single-use kind of transit?
I wouldn't be at all surprised if they could halve the El service's time from the loop to O'Hare by having a train that only has stops at major connection points - Clark & Lake, (maybe) Logan Square, Jefferson Park, Cumberland, and O'Hare.
But, of course, the Blue Line runs down the middle of I-90 between Jefferson Park and Cumberland, so there's probably not really any room to expand to a 4-track system.
There already are some express trains but they still have more stops than what you’re suggesting.
The El hasn’t kept up with the massive increase in popularity of Wicker Park and Logan Square. Not so huge in absolute numbers but disproportionately people more likely to take transit. Surely CTA has already mined that out of their ridership data.
Is think they are limited by the space available to expand.
They are currently working on a signaling modernization program, but I don't know the details well enough to know if it will help much. New rolling stock that should offer a bit more capacity also starts arriving around 2020.
I agree it's frustrating to watch. I moved to Chicago in 2004 and my El stop on the Blue Line was pretty lightly trafficked. Now you are lucky to get on the train during rush hour, much less get a seat. As the neighborhoods continue to heat up along the line something has to break at some point, but NYC shows things can get really bad and there is not enough focused rage to get anything done even then.
We should be doing a lot more things like this, rather than basking in our pathetic decades-long stagnation of clinging to barely good enough.
Every American should be angrily protesting the backwards, ancient transport systems the US relies on.
The Fed should be mandated with establishing a $1+ trillion infrastructure development fund, by 'printing' dollars over 20 years to fill the program. We should further leverage Federal agencies like DARPA, corporate R&D, inventors, foreign capabilities, and the vast US university system, to fund and spur radical efforts to build new, experimental infrastructure everywhere.
Today's regressive, conservative approach would have never enabled the US to build the Interstate Highway System. It's time for a radical change, the sooner the better. We must stop tolerating mediocrity by proclaiming that things are good enough as is.
You want infrastructure innovation, move to China.
Gee, I wonder where the "government can't execute" meme could have possibly come from?
Or the federal government could spend less money killing brown people on the other side of the world and more money on domestic infrastructure -- give back to the taxpayer (for once) and foment international goodwill (for once) while not increasing the rate of currency devaluation.
The widespread adoption of automobile technology without much thought in the 20th century should be a cautionary lesson for tech enthusiasts.
Is there really that much margin in drilling tunnels that they can just undercut competition while using the same equipment and technology and still make money?
Brunel was an excellent marketeer who consistently over-promised and under delivered. He also drove technology forward more than anyone else of his generation.
When Brunel was making the Great Western Railway, he decided to survey the route himself because he felt the existing surveyors were slow, expensive and crap. He did this on horseback. During the process he concluded that the horses he was hiring were slow, expensive and crap, so he started his own horse hire company. Somehow, despite this insanity, we got a railway, and it was good.
Disclaimer: it's twenty years since I read a Brunel biography. I might have some of the details a bit wrong.
Pumping houses along the route made vacuum for each leg. It was a great idea, but materials science wasn't up to it: the seals kept cracking in the sea air and rats ate the leather skirt that kept vacuum round the piston rod. It was out of service a lot, and was soon abandoned for traditional railway.
I don't want Musk's implementation of a spitball idea that's been going round for ages to be like that, but I can't help wondering...
Was he wrong on those counts?
Great article here: https://pedestrianobservations.com/2017/12/15/elon-musks-ide...
After reading the 48 laws of power, Elon became crystal clear.
SpaceX was his PR scheme to gain fame, he promised the moon, he shows off his toys. He was a cult leader.
Since his reddit topic(with fake upvotes) saying "Tesla quietly delivers solar panels to PR", I woke up. It was fake and it was advertising.
Since I've actually looked into Tesla quality(not good) and got increasingly skeptical of his businesses(not good).
Makes me sick to know I fall for advertisement like anyone else, but it was a good wakeup call. Wonder what else I believe in...
It isn't an outlandish thing to say that those companies deliver a disproportionate amount of hype to results as other companies in the same space.
Asking how much energy the on-grid batteries have saved is a non-sequitur. That's like asking how much energy Tesla automobiles have saved. Probably very little, but that is irrelevant in the grand scheme. The short-term (1-2 yr) question of energy saved doesn't matter. The long-term (10-50) question of "is this pushing the entire industry in a better direction" is the important question. I think it is Yes for on-grid battery storage, as it is Yes for Tesla automobiles, as it is Yes for reusable rockets for space transit. Must take the long view.
You can listen to everybody from austronauts, CEO of companies (Tory Bruno), people from NASA and CNES, startup space companies and so on. Pretty much all of the agree on how great these achivments are.
But sure, its just a cult and non of theae people understand anything about the space industry.
Go to r/spacex and tell me its "fake".
It seem the issue here is that you went to far in one direction and now you backlashed in the other.
I wouldn't quite go that far. When it comes to space, there are lots of very grand dreams (e.g. see https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZFipeZtQM5CKUjx6grh54g ), some far from theoretical (e.g. the various studies from the British Interplanetary Society), and some even reaching the prototype stage (nice examples at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC726J5A0LLFRxQ0SZqr2mYQ/vid... ).
In comparison SpaceX's approach is actually quite conservative (multi-stage, cylindrical, unmanned, liquid fueled rocket). The big difference being that they actually got them flying commercial missions! Plus it turns out that their main advantage (effective reusability) is such a big win that (a) it allowed a startup to leapfrog established military/industrial players and (b) forces everyone to treat reusability as a priority (e.g. adding it to roadmaps, or justifying why they can't).
I'm excited to see how their projects like BFR go, but SpaceX's biggest contribution might turn out to be shaking up the industry enough to start trying out ideas which were previously shelved as being too radical.
Which is why they need to get their first paid job so they can prove it. They can make lots of bold claims for their own tunnel, but if they prove it's true on a real job, then their technology suddenly becomes much more valuable.
That said, I'm skeptical too.
He set up a line between Washington and Baltimore, and transmitted the news from a convention in Baltimore. It arrived in Washington 64 minutes before the train bearing the news did, thus proving it worked.
Within 2 years, there was 2,000 miles strung, within 4 years, 12,000 miles. People had discovered they could make money by using the telegraph. People who received news faster made money.
In March 1843, the US Congress appropriated $30,000 to Samuel Morse to lay a telegraph line from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore, Maryland, along the right-of-way of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
$30K in 1843 was around $1M in today's money. I wonder if that $30K paid for the whole project or if Morse had to kick in some of his own.
Without environmental and employee protection laws, or permitting concerns, maybe it would be doable for under $1M today. Since copper is so expensive, I thought the cost of wire would dominate the expenses, but 5000 ft of uninsulated 16 gauge wire sells for $400 on ebay, so 45 miles worth of a pair of wires would cost around $40K
Shouldn't the boring company prove that it works before they get offered the job?
Don't think this is paid.
My understanding is that the way he gets most of the way to 10x is to dramatically decrease tunnel size and to have the machine dig and create the tunnel simultaneously. The second part may be valuable to other tunnel boring companies, but most municipal projects tend to use quite large tunnels, where Musk's machines wouldn't be a viable solution.
And now that you mention it, this is going to be the other major issue with the boring company - unions, people and regulations.
We probably need unions to help stop wage stagnation. Which is why it sucks that unions in the US are so terrible.
That tells me all I need to know about why The Boring Company exists.
EDIT: Theptip below found the URL I could not, for boring machines that assemble the tunnel while operating:
The standard with US subway construction today is massive tunnels with huge, expensive stations. Seems to be a design choice from Musk.
That said, I don't have any particular insight into the field itself; however I do have a respect for Musk's ability to rephrase the problem just slightly (e.g. landing boosters to save costs) and to turn the whole economics of the situation on its head.
How? These pods take 16 people, and per the article, only one can set off every 30 seconds. This limits capacity to 2k people per hour (even assuming that it manages the promised numbers, and historically Musk stuff doesn't), which is far less than one would expect of a decent bus rapid transport line, never mind an underground train.
Parallelzation applied to subways.
Single big trains get delayed due to any number of reasons - something on the tracks, broke-down train, etc...
With 10 smaller tunnels, they can just be rerouted.
Generally, every city has big transportation hubs - airports, train stations and so on - located at strategic places within the city. Musk's idea is to ditch these hubs and replace them with more frequent and much smaller stations which get you closer to your destination. On the other side if they don't have to move millions of people to the same hub but rather move a much smaller number of people, they can afford to dig smaller tunnels and stations which are way more easy and fast to build.
For instance, in London every time they build a new transportation hub, it takes years. These stations are massive, they literally dig in every direction for several meters.
I don't know if it's going to work but surely there's thinking behind it.
This also could really only be the long time play anyways - it's the only reason using autonomous battery powered model X's as the "cars" makes much sense.
I think it's an interesting idea, Musk obviously likes his sci-fi. He is basically attempting to implement packet switching for human mass transport vs. the current circuit switching we have.
The actual cost of tunneling itself is generally fairly cheap--somewhere around $50 million / mile. The expensive part is the stations. You can probably save money without having to build mezzanines, but the lower utilization of the tunnel and the greater number of vertical access shafts needed (not to mention the challenges inherent in moving through that very crowded portion of real estate) is probably going to cause cost blowouts compared to subways. Particularly if you design the tunnels to move cars, not people (SOV cars being about the worst use of space possible).
If you have 4x as many trains but don't load and unload on the same platform you could easily get by with 1/4th as many passengers per train.
The factors that limit train frequency are station dwell times and switching time. A subway line can generally hit 26TPH, and the top speed of most subways is usually about 70mph, with average speeds generally being in the realm of 30mph. Making trains faster actually reduces capacity; a HSR that goes 220mph is considered to have a capacity of around 4-6TPH. You can also improve throughput by cutting out all branching; Moscow gets about 40TPH as a result, which is about the feasible limit of rail systems.
30 MPH which is low = 5280 * 30 = 158,400 feet per hour / 26 TPH = 6092 feet per train. Actual subway trains are 600 feet or less long ~= 10% utilization. At 30MPH cars don't keep 126 feet between each other. Bump that to 60MPH and the trains are at 5% or less utilization and again cars don't keep 266 feet between each other even if they should. And again this is very long 600 feet subway trains most are significantly shorter than that.
Further trains have a stopping distance @ 62MPH of 820 ft with (0.15 g) deceleration. High speed trains can get an extra 0.3 m/s2 deceleration which could also be added to normal subway trains but would be an emergency situation as they knock people over.
PS: At 60MPH the theoretical limit is over 220 trains per hour assuming all trains can stop before hitting the train in front of them. But you can only approach that with full automation and multiple lines for acceleration.
We can also exclude any car stopped at a station, as you can have multiple cars unloading at the same station or have a train bypass a station without making a wider tunnel.
Sure, but we're talking about subway networks underneath major metropolises, and adding extra tunnels and platforms is basically as expensive as digging a whole new line - when it is even possible due to space or geological constraints.
Building a new network would not be constrained by existing implementations. For example, you can't just drive the trains faster on existing systems. Everything would have to be redesigned/upgraded to do it - the motors, tracks, track bed, brakes, suspension, safety equipment, schedules, signals, everything.
That doesn't answer the question. Why would the transport be "correspondingly faster" in a smaller tunnel than a bigger one, given both are new digs?
If the units/hour capacity can be met with a smaller tunnel running fast little pods on a single track, then boring out a larger tunnel that could fit perhaps three tracks would be redundant.
And that assumes that the pods could run on adjacent open tracks like railcars, whereas the intended design may require a smaller tunnel bore that is close to the size of each pod.
Likewise with the Boring Company. Of course they still need to prove themselves, but the factors that work in their favour in tunnel construction are the same ones that favoured SpaceX.
ULA and the established rocket manufacturers made big profits off the fact that launching rockets is stupidly expensive. That meant their profit margins ended up being stupidly large quantities of money. Musk’s contention on big tunnelling projects is that big construction companies have similar incentives not to reduce the costs of tunnelling. However Musk as an outsider is free to innovate and develop the engineering and technology because he doesn’t have big fat profits he’s already tied to.
All these features already exists in current and older machines. And the rocket market is different from the boring market.
Actually its not. TBMs are crazy expensive as of now. Any major disruption in price will be a total game changer for public transit systems.
Has the reused items proven reliable and profitable in he long run, which was the only reason others were not doing the same...
They claimed what was technically impossible?
Do you have a citation for that?
These things have existed for a century now. The fact that no one tried and it took a person with money from early dot com start up exit means others goofed up enormously.
Anybody could have tried. They didn't. Pulling down other peoples achievements because one didn't try the obvious themselves already reeks of envy.
 I have heard that the machine supported a reverse gear but Seattle elected not to include its use in the contract because it added a few million in cost. :/ I don’t know if this is actually true though.
For too long that part has been fiefdom of big earth mover companies.
It's equivalent to measuring software developer productivity in lines of code.
Also, as a sibling comment mentions, the 10x claim is pretty disingenuous in the first place.
Has Elon's company figured that problem out?
Antithenes is referring to this classic Clarke and Dawe bit: https://youtu.be/3m5qxZm_JqM
Anticipated. And this is probably top speed in perfect London clay, not average speed in average conditions.
EDIT: Oh, and it's also by reducing the size of the tunnel by 4?
A large part of the "10x faster" claim is from a 4x speedup from drilling a 4x smaller hole. That's not a boring machine improvement, anyone could drill such a hole with an existing machine. (I've heard the claim "10x cheaper" too). If you make a smaller tunnel with lower throughput than a subway, then you need more of them, so it's not clear to me that you can claim a speed improvement just because you can do one of your tunnels faster. Indeed if you more than halve the throughput by halving the tunnel cross-sectional area, and halving the boring time, then you've made the whole system more time consuming to create.
Another claim is that current tunnel boring machines (TBMs) stop for 50% of the time, to allow the supports to be put in; this will give them another 2x speedup. However a cursory Google search (I'm not an expert in this field) shows that the technology for continuous TBMs already exists . That reference contains a very in-depth video if you want to see exactly how these things work, it's very cool. This machine can apparently do 2.8-12.5m diameter holes, which covers the diameter that TBC is targeting. (As I've fact-checked this point further, the Boring Company's website makes the more restricted claim  that "current soft-soil machines tunnel for 50% of the time"; maybe the overly broad claim came from misquotes in the press and not from TBC themselves. I haven't found any soft-soil continuous TBMs yet).
Finally Musk claims that current TBMs are operating well below the thermodynamic maximum, and so he can get another 3x speed boost. On this point I'm not qualified to debate; it seems unlikely that there's that much gain left on the table (surely the TBM companies that currently exist have spent a lot of money plucking the low-hanging fruit of efficiency gains?) but Musk has sent rockets into space so perhaps he knows what he's talking about here.
What we need is more people like Elon. It's not magic, many others can do what he does, though few do
(maybe because of social pressure? Look at all the crap Elon gets). There's a lot you can do just by having energy and willingness to try things and being unsatisfied with the crappy status quo.
Just cut out the corruption and you've saved hundreds of millions.
Musk is willing to take more risk in business than others. That likely made his offer a lot lower than that of the competition.
Also note that this is a tender for a combination of building, financing, and running that line, with strict limits on what ‘runnig’ entails:
”In its request for proposals, the city set a goal of connecting downtown with the airport in 20 minutes or less, with service every 15 minutes for the majority of the day. It also requested that fares be below the current rates for taxis and ride-share trips”
"The project is unusual in that no government funding is involved, forcing the winner to finance the entire construction cost itself. That limited interest from bidders..."
I believe this accounts for most of their estimated speed/cost advantage - dig thinner tunnels and move less dirt. They also seem to be coupling that with more continuous tunneling and less labor.
As far as I know, they're doing this with existing tunnel boring machines, just used differently.
Volume = pi * radius^2 * length
The narrowness of the old tunnels is a constant hurdle to improving the tube.
No, they're standard gauge heavy rail; in some places the track is shared with ordinary passenger trains. The older tunnels just have very tight clearance.
You may mean the structure gauge, which is the clearance for tunnels, platforms and so on. That is normal-rail for Crossrail.
Even if they do get their quoted 30 second headways and manage to cram 16 people into a car, and they run 20 hours a day like they're claiming, that's only 38,400 trips per day. Realistically it would probably more like a third of that. The Red Line alone averages 250,000 trips per day.
Most modern tunnels built for existing transit systems are built to fit existing rolling stock, so the idea of smaller tunnels gets ruled out early on. In the past, smaller tunnels were used. In fact, one of the most extensive small tunnel transit networks was in Chicago: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Tunnel_Company
The small-diameter tunnels we're talking about were built with a tunnel shield, which is the hand-operated predecessor to the TBM.
Of that underground, I Elise the majority is the deep tube bored lines (pic, jubilee, bakerloo, central, northern) rather than pretty much just the circle that's cut and cover.
Technically true, it's 45% that's underground, which includes 32km of cut-and-cover lines and 150km of tunnels out of the 402km total.
Tunnels are different, it's already done solely by private companies and there is some competition. Beating a Swiss company will be harder than a EU or US government agency.
Not at all. This seems to be a common misconception. NASA, the USAF and the Navy have never built a launcher themselves.
The US Army did, in the late 40s and 50s.
While tunneps are private, not many pivate companies come up with new transportation systems.
If Musk were selling better tunnel boring, what you would see is attempts to subcontract on major infrastructure projects. This bid is for an express "rail" system to O'Hare from the Loop, and the intent on Chicago's part is to make The Boring Company suffer all the risk of construction and possibly even pay for the entire thing (Chicago did previously have a construction plan for an express rail to O'Hare, but it was nixed due to cost overruns).
They use an electric train to move the waste away underground. This comes with many benefits - including eliminating the need to drill ventilation shafts for workers (which cost time and money).
If you're not receiving federal funding for the project, the cost is pretty important. The Boring Company can likely do things cheaper than anyone else.
Raw drilling speed isn't the only area where innovation is occurring. I'm not sure if their biggest optimization (cross-section area) applies here, because the type of vehicles in the tunnels is a factor in that vision.
Personal rapid transit systems, which is basically what Loop is and sounds like what you're proposing, have been proposed several times and even built in a few places (Morgantown's is perhaps the most notable, at least in the US). They just haven't shown themselves to be very capable.
Subways are probably the most efficient system possible. They're a 1-D system, with transfers between separate 1-D system. When there's no conflicts between different lines (i.e., everything is grade-separated), you can dedicate most of the space to the actual trains themselves and the safety buffers for moving trains to stop. As you move to more complex systems, now you need to have extra gaps that other trains on other lines can merge into, which reduces scheduling flexibility. In other words, subways are much simpler, and it turns that simple systems are often the most efficient in practice. (If you want to see an example of what can go wrong even with computerized scheduling of dynamic routing, look at Denver's baggage system).
First, nobody who's lived in Chicago for more than about thirty minutes can possibly believe that this will end up being free to the city. At some point, somehow, we're going to pay.
Second, we already have a perfectly fine train to O'Hare! This is an incredibly marginal improvement, and only benefiting a group that already has plenty of options. The existing train systems are focused entirely on an outdated model of exclusively bringing people to and from downtown. And huge swathes of the city don't even get that.
A 20 minute direct trip on a modern train would radically improve every aspect of getting between the airport and the city, and would be a welcome support as the city’s ancient trains continue to deteriorate.
The times I've traveled to Chicago, I don't mind taking the train. Most of these things either don't bother me or are roughly comparable to most other mass transit systems of the same size and distance.
But holy cow the sound. Loud is an understatement - it is likely the loudest train I've ever ridden. Once you hit those tunnels the wheel squealing is positively ear splitting, to the point I've started bringing earplugs with me when I know I'm going to be riding that line into town. I can't imagine the kind of hearing damage being done to people who ride that line frequently or people who work on it.
It would be nice if they could find a way to reduce the volume.
At least where I live, a two hour flight becomes a six to seven hour ordeal, with ninety minutes for security etc, ninety for travel to and from each airport, ultimately turning what is really not that long a flight into a full day of traveling.
I understand the dream of getting to & from the airport in a speedy timeframe.
Don't worry, blue line people are used to it.
People who don't like or use transit love to talk about trains to the airport. It reveals a lot about how they view transit. To wit: it's a novelty, for special situations, for when you couldn't otherwise use your car to get where you're going.
It's not real transportation, in other words. It's a shuttle for the exceptions in your life.
I’ve watched the process unfold in Seattle; the light rail opened first with service connecting the airport to downtown. During this period actual ridership was fairly small. Then they opened the second phase which connects downtown through a major neighborhood to University of Washington. Over night, ridership jumped massively.
I’m not opposed to airport rail per se, but there are generally much, much better places to build rail to and from.
Caveats about Seattle’s airport link: Building to the airport first did in some sense prioritize service to poorer neighborhoods in the Rainier Valley. That’s good-ish, but was made less good by making it a surface train, and cutting local bus service which often better served the local needs of those communities.
Bellevue, West Seattle, and Ballard links can't happen soon enough. I suspect each of those will also generate far more ridership than the downtown-to-airport link as well.
Right. But...twice in one year. You're making my point.
I am curious how they'll deal with the new line siphoning off revenue from the existing service. I assume that they'll negotiate this (maybe a share of revenue?), what the price will be, routing, etc.
I see that they're claiming there's no risk for the city, and that is a very nice claim. It's also a naïve one.
I wouldn't say that it's perfectly fine. The Blue Line to O'Hare has become notorious for it's overcrowding. I think the goal is to reduce some of that congestion to O'Hare and get people to stay at hotels in the city. I'm not convinced that it's worth it though.
Say it aint so!
I dont think he can stay around without exploiting crony capitalism, his businesses have failed.
EDIT: Was forced out of paypal, spaceX is reliant on taxes, Tesla isnt profitable, SolarCity wasnt profitable and was bought by tesla(which outrages anyone who knows anything about corruption and stock ownership) and Boring is reliant on taxes.
How is that an argument? There's plenty of companies that service only governments, and as such are entirely reliant on taxes. Sounds like a perfectly real source of profit.
> Boring is reliant on taxes.
TBC is self-funded and has been all this time. This is literally the first commercial thing TBC is building, and even this they're financing themselves. So this is simply untrue.
> Tesla isnt profitable
I'll give you this. I'm curious if he'll be able to make it profitable like he's promising now.
Also they are offering their services to NASA cheaper then all competition (domestic and global) by as much as 50%. NASA itself admitted that they can not do it cheaper then commercial partners.
So what you problem?
I wouldn't call that perfect. It takes at least an hour from the loop to O'Hare on a good day.
In comparison, the Stockholm Arlanda airport is 5 miles further from Stockholm Central than O'Hare is to the Loop, and it takes the Arlanda Express high speed train 20 minutes to get there.
It's a two-way street. People like to look at it and be amazed, while most wouldn't be prepared to follow through on it given the drawbacks and their own principles of how governments should work.
Philadelphia is the same way. New York on the other hand is more of a spaghetti mess. I wonder if that interconnection does things for the city too, like encourage growth in more areas.
Not really. Look at the map again. Everything flows through Manhattan. The entire system is setup to take you to Manhattan. If you want to go from the Bronx to Queens or Brooklyn, you go through Manhattan.
There's really only one line for which this isn't true: the G from Queens to Brooklyn.
Lines like the M  that could fairly easily have been designed as a full circle, are actually U-shaped, because it's really about funneling people in and out of Manhattan.
London is a bit like this as well, most of the trains that come in from Outer London are commuter trains that go to a ring of termini around the centre, then you have to change onto the Underground.
They're trying to tackle it at the moment by setting up new lines that go through the centre, but start and end far out regionally, so to go north to south you don't have to interchange from one terminus to another. Thameslink and Crossrail are both part of this concept. The model comes from Paris, which has the RER network, separate from the subway.
No way man. I used to commute from cumberland stop to downtown, I would be physically exhausted by the time I got to my stop 1 hr later. 1 hr on CTA is very different from 1 hr on metra, the seats are so cramped, you cannot open your laptop, constant pee smell, so many stop-starts take a toll on your body. Current CTA cars don't allow for people travelling to ohare with even one suitcase, there is no place to put your suitcase.
If the commute was 12 minutes, I can imagine so many people with families will move out of the city to enjoy more space out northwest. I would definitely consider moving out near ohare if commute was 12 minutes to downtown. I can only imagine this will bring down rents/ housing prices in the city. I will go downtown to enjoy an evening if the commute was only 12 mins. This is a game changer in my book not ' marginal improvement'.
I'm sorry if that's how I came across, it's definitely not my feeling. I think the CTA works in that it's a system we should be investing much more in. And taxes should probably go up. I just don't want that money going to private enterprise, especially one run by someone who by all accounts does not believe in society.
Meanwhile Chicago's mayor, Rahm Emmanuel, just slipped ahead of him in line ;<).
A single rail line at 26 trains/hour can carry around 20-25,000 people per hour. A highway traffic line carries about 2,000 cars per hour, or 2,000 people per hour if it's SOV. Personal rapid transit systems have been demonstrated to carry about 7,000 people per hour.
The only way to scale transit to highly dense areas is to minimize the amount of space each person has to themselves. SOV cars are horribly, horribly inefficient uses of space; standing-room-only subway cars are very efficient uses of space.
The problem is that you can't use public transport for cargo, for disabled people, for luxury rides, etc - there are many more use cases. Another problem is time - the bigger area and the more people your bus line has to serve, the less efficient it is for your customers.
There are better ideas than to minimize space (comfort AND usability) per person. E.g. optimizing your route in a way that you go from point A to point B as directly as possible, utilizing buses and shuttles on the way, taking people that need it. Bus lines are just like this, but fixed to specific pickup points, which would definitely remain existing, but the traffic around it would get optimized as well.
Why? Because with growing population, there are more and more people that need to go individually because of time constraints, comfort requirementa, disability or cargo. My solution supports your approach, just extends it to all vehicles on the road.
Wait what, why not? If anything, public transport is the sole means of transport for many people with disabilities. I'm not going to claim that all public transport is fully accessible to those with physical disabilities, but every new transport project fully accommodates the needs of those with disabilities, and existing ones are gradually retrofitted as they are refurbished and upgraded.
To give you an example in the UK, specifically London;
* All buses and trams are wheelchair accessible, with audio and visual announcements of routes and stops.
* Some parts of the tube network are completely step free. All trains have audio announcements, most also have visual. A map of current accessibility can be seen at . Every time a station is upgraded or refurbished, it is made step-free.
* Many heavy rail stations have step-free access to the platforms, and staff can deploy a ramp to enable wheelchair users to board and alight. At some newer stations, level boarding is available.
So sure, public transport today is not 100% universally accessible to those with physical disabilities, although other disabilities are better catered for. However, in the context of new public transport projects and surface public transport there's no doubt - public transport is much more accessible than other forms of transport and is an absolute lifeline for those who have either temporary or chronic disabilities.
And let me correct you: the majority of disabled people with more serious disabilities sit at home because going outside and getting to the bus stop is too hard for them.
If anything, it's even more convenient than going in person. I'm not spending ages having to drive to the supermarket, trudge round picking up everything, going through the checkout, loading up the car, driving back etc. I can place the order any time, from anywhere and it arrives when I want it to.
Much better than individual transport. Just compare the space taken up by a bus with 40 seats, with 20 individual cars (I'm generously assuming an average two persons per car).
> doesn't completely replace individual transport
That was never the intention of public transport. It aims to supply the majority of rides.
> is uncomfortable for everyone.
Aaah, I get it. You're from the US.
I was born in a smaller city in the Czech Republic and now I live in Prague, Czech Republic, a capital city (±2.8m people in the metro area) with advanced and well functioning public transport that I use regularly. And while today it functions well enough, it has many shortcomings, especially problems connected to more people coming into the city (the metro population has doubled over last 30 years).
> That was never the intention of public transport. It aims to supply the majority of rides.
Yes, and the problem is that it won't, because it doesn't scale well, because it has so few use cases for so many people and is used out of necessity, not desire.
> Much better than individual transport. Just compare the space taken up by a bus with 40 seats, with 20 individual cars (I'm generously assuming an average two persons per car).
I never said that I agree with the current state of things. I actually despise it.
I'm in favor of a decentralized self-managed system of individual self-driving vehicles where usage of a road would cost money per time unit. Sharing rides would be encouraged and parking unused vehicles on the street would be expensive - carsharing and carpooling would be the best option.
Even buses could (and most certainly would) give shared rides, solving the inefficiency you've described. The difference is that this system would be much more flexible.
Thinking about it now, it seems like the distinction of public vs private/individual transport will become less and less important - and that's what we should encourage. Let everyone choose the best option for them - given the prerequisites I talked about in my other comment, the market could take over from there. I'm 100% positive that buses would not cease to exist, just operate more efficiently.
Tesla has an interest in keeping the governmental investments in automobile infrastructure going strong. It's really an enormous subsidizing that's been going on since the 50s that more than anything else has shaped the way we work and live.
PR plays an important role here. And even if, worst case, that's all the Hyperloop and Boring Co turns out to be, the bang for the buck will be incredible. You have to give them that. It's not a coincidence we're talking about them right now.
He has also spent 100s of millions of his own many to realize his dreams. But sure, its all a synic ploy to get the support of people on reddit and hacker news.
Tesla has always been clear that their growth plan is to continue to move down-market from the high end to the mainstream, and they've acted in accord with that. Public transit does than that arc.
I think great public transit is extremely threatening to car ownership, especially when zoning changes as a result of public transit.
It's just easier - until car sharing is functionally seamless and available more-or-less instantly, that will continue to be the case.
Apparently Tesla isn't having much luck selling its cars there anymore anyway:
Depending on the age of the children they can also take public transport on their own, so can the drunk, elderly, and disabled.
(Kids are so overprotected in this age - freedom to travel on their own on bicycles or public transport is great!)
These people may not be able to drive cars. No, they can't get a self-driving car trip for $1.50 yet. When they can, we won't have enough road space anyway (one 8-carriage Sydney train carries 1200 people, that's a long line of cars!)
I really like what Citymapper is doing - augmenting buses with modern tech, similar to Uber Pool but coming from the other direction:
Of these, b) is the least common, but for these people public transport works well. From our previous house, we did this, I took both kids (5 and 2) by bus with a jogging stroller to and from daycare every day. This was approx. 15 minutes faster than going by car, due to dense traffic and very limited parking spaces. Now we live close enough that we bicycle instead.a
There's indication that that's happening to some extent where I live (Dublin); number of people commuting into the city by car has dropped recently. More families can get by on one car, or no cars, than could before.
In fact, bus lanes on freeways would probably be a better solution for most of The Boring Company's applications...
Trains make sense for longer distances (more efficient) but in cities, buses work as well and can be used more flexibly.