Unfinished Transportation Story

by James Edward David Cline SSN# 525-82-1047

The great redwood tree forest remenants remembered their greatness, spreading from coast to coast, far North to far South. Their ancestors' carbon had been locked beneath the rocks for millions of years, buried in the form of coal and crude oil, locked away from use by the forests.

Animals had come to munch on leaves, that there may be room for more trees. Bigger animals with bigger teeth came to munch on the leaf eaters, that the forests would not become extinct. But the upheavals of the earth had buried the forest carbon. Now there were creatures that tapped into those hydrocarbon burials, and the creatures' engines spread the carbon into the atmosphere. Now there was about too much CO2 and the planet would become too hot unless there was time for the forests to spread again across the land. It was time.

The oil producing countries of the Mid-East gently gave the news to the western world. The Iranians, the Saudies, the Kuwaites, the Iraqians chose to change from the adventure of war to the adventure of rebuilding their desert lands into wondrous gardens of plenty. In three years from the announcement to the Western nations, no more crude oil would be exported. The decades during which they had saved up the hundreds of billions of dollars of US money from petroleum, would be used to buy solar cells from the US, and all else they would need to terraform their deserts. Their petrochemical subterranean stores would be used to supply their deserts with the necessary carbon to build forests of plenty. Biological engineering would start with lichens and oil-eating microbes would start, and eventually a thousand-year-old redwood forest would elate over what had been the Sahara Desert.

Three years, OPEC had told the Western world, during which the oil shipments would exponentially decrease to zero. It was time for this to happen, they said with wisdom.

In America, the few who wanted to go to war with the Mideast to rob them of their oil, were quickly brought to their senses. The US instead chose to cherish their Yankee Ingenuity, welcoming this need to responsibly recreate their transportation system. The Government chose to bring back the process that had brought about the early inventiveness of America, that of offering prizes to those who invented and built adequately innovative ways to make the commute system better than ever, and without the use of gasoline in cars. It was time for this to happen, they knew with wisdom.

Permit stickers required to park on the streets in some cities. Gridlock. Finite fossil fuel resources. America selling its land to foreign countries...46% of LA's best real estate already sold to foreign countries...to pay largely for transportation fuel and cars...we don't make anything they want to buy from us, so we sell our land. Surely wake-up-to-reality time for the U.S.. And now the loss of Mid-East fuel impending. It was time to do something about transportation.

Ground transportation. Evolving from the complex of automobiles, busses, trucks and motorcycles...toward what? A measure for transportation efficiency needs be developed, from transportating food around a kitchen while cooking to transporting concrete to a building site. Mostly transporting commuters between residence and worksite. Total brainstorming was invited on the problem by the federal government; to bypass the restrictions on individual inventing, the government offered to buy outright the company that employed the winning ideamaker...for twice the company's worth. Corporations eagerly switched from censoring employee rights to inventions, to eagerly urging them to think about transportation widgets.

They created a race. A child on a skateboard would compete with a bicyclist and a railroad train, based on sheer transportation efficience geared for the daily work commute.Initially the bicycle won, long known for its outstanding transportation efficiency, and utilized massively in many countries. But the Los Angeles commute, where many workers casually commute 40 miles each way, the bicycle was too slow, and too messy on rainy days. A walk-amplifier was invented, analogous to carnival stilt walkers, except low to the street...ok on flatland, but also amplified to effort needed to go uphill. A massive increase in busses was tried, covering every street every day every 10 minutes...but the cost of running them empty was nearly as much as running them full of people, and coverage had to be 24 hours a day to cover all contingencies. Changing to vans in the wee hours helped some, but driver pay still had to be made. The advantage personal cars had had was that when no one wanted to go anywhere, there was no energy cost during that time. One city, which had an experimental high-tech communications system which had a computer link to every residence and workplace, eased the problem by asking that each commuter send a brief message telling of expected bus needs: starting what time, where going to, and how many people...the computer then adjusted the bus/van/taxi schedule according to the expected needs of the route at the time.

Electric lines for electric cars or busses exposed much too high voltage for safety, enough power to move every vehicle on the street...unsafe. And where would the electric power come from, anyway? Nuclear fusion powerplants still depended on great breakthroughs in technology; solar power satellites required building an industrial support system for utilizing Lunar materials for construction. Much creativity was found in creating human powered transportation systems, such as pedal-powered mini-monorail cars.But when someone failed to be able to pedal, then the monorail stopped until that vehicle could be gotten off the track. A tow cable system was tried, which started with a simple tow cable continually going around each block, and one grabbed onto the cable while on roller skates or whatever wheels, and towed down the street, then crossed the street to grab onto the next block's tow cable. The tow cable ran constantly, powered by salvaged automobile engines with speed governers that adjusted for the daily varying commuter load. Wearing daypacks or backpacks for lunch and packages became popular everywhere. As the tow cable system became more in use, ultralight wheeled enclosed vehicles were created to provide some weather protection, and mechanical cable grippers became programmable to shift at block cable intersections automatically routing through the city without thought. The cables were replaced by steel bands for higher efficiency and less stretch. Then a system of higher speed tow bands around each block were built...extending further into the old roadways as speed went up, so that when routing long distances, one could shift from slow tows to ever faster tows until approaching destination, then reversing the process. The tow bands were powered by whatever was available locally, coal-fired engines, hydropower or whatever could turn something around fast enough. Then the tow bands were run through enclosed tubeways, to shield from the weather and to allow the airflow to move along with the vehicles, cutting drastically down on wind resistance. On long intercity tubeways, air was pumped into the traffic, boosting the speed; the air was forced under the lightweight vehicles enabling them to airsled along the tubeway on air bearings. Inside the tubeways, speeds went up and up, unaffected by the space outside the tubes; towairsledding through the tubes at hundreds of miles per hour were unnoticable by the occupants. (JEDCline 88I11)

Copyright © 1995 James Edward David Cline

I'd appreciate any comments and suggestions at jedcline@earthlink.net, and would be happy to answer any questions.

I can also be contacted at: Dave Cline, 9800-D Topanga Cyn Blvd #118, Chatsworth, CA 91311, USA Telephone 818/886-8059 E-mail also at: j.e.d.cline1@genie.geis.com