An above-grade gondola network is 90% more energy efficient than freeways, and easily automated.
Teleport gondola transit comprises about fifty of my own innovations. It lowers lifetime transit energy use by 90% and switches energy use to electricity. The entire Teleport system is 90% less expensive than our freeway/automobile system and it saves time! Teleport has 99.9% fewer fatalities than our automobile system. It gives commuters more time. It's extremely wheelchair-friendly.
Teleport is a physical internet of things. We can only scratch the surface of what it will do for society. For starters, Teleport is for the most part a self-assembling robotic system. It displaces a major percentage of fossil fuels worldwide.
Is this proposal for a practice or a project?
What actions do you propose?
Why Our Automobile System Doesn’t Work Well
1. Our freeway system is energy inefficient.
2. Vehicles directly cause 40,000 human deaths per year. The U.S. also sees 100,000 premature asthma deaths per year from air pollution.
3. Freeways waste land.
4. Daily freeway rat races waste everybody’s time and energy.
5. Our freeway system isn’t user-friendly for blind people.
Why Above-Grade Cable Transit?
Cars fifteen to twenty feet above street level can be easily automated. There’s nothing upstairs for cars to hit except for stray tree branches falling across the cables. Ground-level vehicle automation is fraught with deer and with kids running out from behind parked cars, problems that automated vehicles will never be able to handle.
Hanging two cables between rows of poles is far less costly per mile than building a freeway.
Hanging two cables across a river is far less costly than building a bridge.
Assuming that an automated car can navigate a two cable road, total transit costs can plummet by a factor of ten.
The idea of being suspended above the ground may feel inherently hazardous, but people have been stepping into elevator cars for over 100 years.
Teleport In Normal Use
Elevator doors open for you and for your wheeled baggage at ground level. Once you’re inside, the car starts to elevate and then travel immediately toward your destination, and in time you swipe your ID card en route. Would-be scofflaws can always be shipped to a central location for a sales pitch and possibly a coupon for a free ride.
Teleport cars can travel at a constant 20 miles per hour above city streets. Teleport rails or cables can cross each other at different elevations. A two-mile trip from a specific supermarket to your house would take six minutes flat. Teleport public taxis can reposition themselves throughout the Teleport system to handle probable future riders, so that a two-mile trip actually takes six minutes from port to port. Teleport users spend zero seconds looking for a parking space, because Teleport private cars can park by themselves or they can go home after they drop you off.
Teleport is free of the stress of driving. I want my private Teleport car to have an on-board fridge, a fold-down bed for naps and a big computer screen.
Teleport cars will fit down elevator shafts when a section of rail holding a Teleport car can be lowered or raised, transferring a car between ground level and transit level. Teleport cars can go anywhere that an elevator can go. They can reach any floor of a Teleport-compatible building. The cars can deposit wheelchair-using passengers onto subway platforms, where Teleport passes the passengers’ Teleport fares on to the subway.
A number of Teleport rails have gear sprockets embedded in them, where Teleport cars have matching recesses cut into the car wheels, so that any Teleport car will climb a 20-degree incline in low gear as needed. The car can still roll along two flat cables. A diagonally climbing car needs to climb a horizontal distance of about 18 feet to clear the 6-foot height of a pedestrian walkway, and must travel 45 feet diagonally to reach a 15-foot transit height. Cars have reverse gears so that they can descend down an incline to a ground-level station.
An enhanced ground-level station with diagonal rails can store rows Teleport cars for rapid Teleport car loading. As soon as one car starts up the incline, a second car moves into place behind the elevator doors and the elevator doors open again. Each set of elevator doors might take in 30 passengers in one minute.
You can wheel your own shopping cart from the supermarket checkout directly into a Teleport car, and from the Teleport car to your fridge. Plastic and paper bags become unnecessary.
At times, your apartment’s built-in Teleport elevator door can become a closet door where one of several walk-in closets of your stuff is occasionally summoned to your apartment. If you share or rent large appliances such as combination washer-dryers, the appliance will arrive at your apartment when you need it.
Hot pizza, coffee, any item, can be ordered and it appears on-site quickly. You don’t need a coat to get from one indoor location to another indoor location.
Teleport can help to assemble new Teleport routes. An old fashioned concrete mixer truck will probably be needed to pour the bases of new poles on a new Teleport route, but then Teleport can deliver each new pole to within 100 feet of an existing Teleport pole. A moveable Teleport crane covers the last 100 feet. Teleport can help to install the rest of what Teleport needs.
Teleport turns a city into a giant assembly line. A “walking crane” Teleport support structure erected over a construction site can deliver every piece and rafter of a house, piece by piece, from an indoor factory across town to each piece’s exact assembly spot on the house. Construction workers need only drive the nails to affix each piece into place.
Teleport Lifetime Costs
Teleport track costs are about 1 cent per passenger-mile. Teleport public cab costs are also about 1 cent per passenger-mile. Finally, Teleport electricity costs are about 1 cent per passenger-mile, for a grand total cost of 3 cents per passenger-mile.
Rails and cables suspended in the air aren’t bothered by three feet of snow. Cars have balancing devices to create a smooth ride even in strong lateral wind gusts.
If a leaning tree blocks one or two cable lines, the network senses a problem with the cable. In one second, an entire network of cars is quickly diverted onto cables on other streets. A tree care Teleport car can be next to the leaning tree in ten minutes. If one cable or rail ever snaps, a car has the ability to disconnect from the broken cable, navigate the good cable forward or backward to safety and reconnect to the second cable. If a car’s motor breaks or a wheel bends, a Teleport wrecker truck can clamp onto the car and hoist the car to safety.
Terrorism simply isn’t worth the effort when an automated system controls all of the rail switches and all of the other cars. An identified car full of terrorists is likely to be redirected to the city jail. I have a number of special improvements for Teleport stations located at airports. Teleport cars have individual stop/reverse buttons so that riders can avoid creepy-looking individuals lurking around Teleport stations. Teleport taxis need several cameras.
Gondola cars need to hang from two slack wire cables or from two rails to solve the last mile problem. My slack cables have evolved from simple metal cables to motorcycle chains to chains with a roadbed that wears off with time. Special pivoting rail devices on metal poles link the chains, so that cars roll seamlessly from cable to rail to cable, without a stomach turning dip or jump. Cars grip the rails/cables with almost a death grip, and the system flexes under high stress.
Car wheel housings have a device that transfers from one cable to two cables after a rare cable snap. A car's wheels will horizontally move several inches farther apart, the wheels will spread vertically so that they don't grip the missing rail or cable's top and bottom, the wheels move horizontally to line up above/below the second rail, and finally the wheels latch on.
Cars must pick up wheelchairs at ground level. Double elevator doors are a standard elevator technology.
Cellular computer systems control the network’s switches. Passengers have the ability to stop a car and to reverse direction if, for example, people hanging around a station look threatening.
If one car’s motor were to be stuck wide open, the car could be switched into a runaway car ramp and captured.
Cars stop at automated battery swapping docks every 20 miles or so. The transit system uses the existing electric grid.
Disability access laws demand a minimum payload of 1200 lbs per car. That will also be the maximum payload.
Single passengers in automobiles are common. I expect to see single passengers in Teleport private cars and public Teleport cabs.
Each cell’s computer in the cellular transit system tries to minimize the sum of the squares of everyone’s waiting time. A priority vehicle’s waiting time gets 100 times the weighting of an ordinary vehicle in this formula. Freight rate vehicles get 1/10 the weighting of an ordinary vehicle.
For slightly longer trips, multiple relatively slow Teleport cars that travel at 20 mph will plug into above-grade Teleport commuter trains that can easily run at 40 mph or better on special Teleport express commuter train overhead rails. The long, thin trains spread their weight out horizontally to minimize rail stresses.
For much longer trips, Teleport cars plug into special slots on intercity trains, using the current railroad system. Intercity trains have rest rooms and club cars.
Teleport pod cars are able to move Teleport full-size pods from storage to apartments and from factories to stores. Given a weight limit of 1200 pounds, most consumer goods can be shipped by Teleport. Large boats and automobiles will still need to be moved by trucks on freeways, but 99.9% of all traffic should fit onto the Teleport system.
No system is complete unless all engineering problems can be named and surmounted.
Terrorists: strand known terrorists in the middle of nowhere, build special blast-resistant entrances at airports, sniff cars, detour a certain pattern of car to a safer station for inspection. Block terrorist-controlled cars with empty cars on both sides, switch onto runaway car tracks. Trying to hijack both the cellular switching computers and all of the network's individual cars would be more difficult than, say, driving a motor vehicle bomb to a target. I use my own new network cryptography algorithm.
Overweight cars: weigh them constantly, especially in elevator shafts. Teleport will beat freeways because overweight trucks currently destroy freeways.
Sexual assault prevention, medical emergencies: have call buttons, stop/goback buttons, redestination in mid-air. Have an ambulance car, a fire car, fire tankers full of water with a pump.
Tornadoes: the human sysop should detect tornadoes. The program immediately sends passengers to best tornado shelters, sends cars away from harm.
Cars in high winds: it’s a struggle up a slack wire cable. Get a running start, detect headwind problems based on speed. Balancing algorithms and motorized counterweights will help reduce airsickness. We want cars to be as vertical as possible even when 100 mph winds are blowing emergency vehicles as sideways as possible. Ripping cars from their rails takes tremendous force, and the rails/cables have a bit of lateral bend.
Vandalism and cleanups: know your customers and bill them, recognize changes in car walls, have one specialized cleaning station.
Group transit: everybody swipes, sometimes hitchers will be ok. Lower rates and better transit times for full cars.
Certain people need blackout windows because of fear of heights. Certain people need unscented public cars.
Snapped cables and toppled towers: cars will need oversized airbags inside and outside to cleanly handle a 15-foot fall. Cars may fall into rivers.
Unemployment is massively overrated as a problem. A sane society would employ people to better care for their kids.
Disability access: Have voice menus, have large print (one letter at a time if needed), have big buttons on a touch screen.
Train Surfers: Cars must be weighed. If an empty car is supporting a car surfer outside, the weight will show up.
Air Friction: Teleport car fairings fold flat for vertical elevator shaft access, then expand for horizontal travel.
Heating, A/C: Teleport exchanges hot / cold packs for spent lukewarm packs every ten minutes at special Teleport stops.
Who will take these actions?
Conscience-stricken individuals will lead this effort. It’s not enough to try to personally stay clear of causing climate change or to pretend that we already have enough technological tools; we must now be effective in our climate R&D work. Climate change is now firmly in a positive feedback loop. Pretending that the problem will go away shall certainly lead to a human catastrophe. New York magazine reminds us that human civilization wants to act quickly (1).
Signatories of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (2), most American universities, have all promised in writing to perform critical climate research. It remains to persuade half of these same institutions to live out their academic integrity. Some will lead. Others will be sent their white feathers.
We also need national, state and regional governments willing to do right by their own labor forces. For example, the nation of Denmark pioneered offshore wind power and profited handsomely. We need major corporations with vision as opposed to greenwashing.
Identify any showstopper engineering problems. Work on the easy subsystems first, including virtual networks and HO-scale model transit systems for display. Have a series of go / nogo check points in the development of the system.
Crash-testing a car with airbags from 15 feet up will be an expensive proposition. Also, cars must float. Putting up the first demonstration system may cost $100 million or more.
Small national governments and regional governments have pulled off technology miracles before, in the computer field and in wind power. Finding an intelligent government or a smart profit-seeking company may not be impossible.
Where will these actions be taken?
We’ll organize on the Internet.
Teleport will work in urban areas first. Teleport loves subways, although it may soon supplant them. Teleport also works in slum cities that don’t yet have paved streets, much less freeways. It also links remote mountain villages to the world, because running a couple of cables down any ravine is easier than building a safe pedestrian bridge across that same ravine, much less an automobile bridge. Teleport probably won’t compete well against Jeeps in flat, empty deserts.
In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.
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What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?
Total energy costs will be 90% less than our current automobile and freeway system. Moreover, if renewable electricity powers the system, no smog or particulates are created and little CO2 is released. Transit is 23% of greenhouse gases.
I look for zero worldwide market penetration in 5 years, a modest 1% penetration after 15 years and explosive growth similar to worldwide cell phone use in the 15 to 25 year period. I would expect a 90% worldwide transit market share 50 years from now, displacing 21% of all greenhouse gas production.
What are other key benefits?
Total construction costs per passenger-mile will be 1/10 of our freeway and automobile system. Teleport is a self-assembling robotic system, given a walking crane at the assembly end of the track.
Two cables are vastly cheaper per mile than any paved road, and they are easier to snowplow. Mile-long suspended cable and rail bridges are easily thrown across rivers.
Teleport car costs will be lower than current automobile costs because most ground automobiles eventually get into accidents. Gasoline engines are inherently risky.
Traffic deaths will be down 99.9%. Elevators are inherently 99.99% safer than cars per trip, and applying artificial intelligence equally to the two transit systems doesn't change this ratio. The people in the next Teleport car might still be drunk but they’re not driving. Almost no amount of automation can cure drunk automobile drivers.
Asthma deaths from breathing urban air will drop. Streets become safe for bicyclists, raising human longevity through better exercise.
Commuters will be free to sleep or to read e-mails in privacy. Every driver is given extra time, perhaps an extra hour every workday, for an aggregate of trillions of dollars of world productivity or leisure. Total stress is reduced. Daily commuting time and effort is generally reduced.
Teleport solves the last mile problem right into people’s garages and apartments. Life gets easier. The same shopping cart can go straight from a checkout line to your fridge at home. Ten closets full of stuff can be uploaded from your apartment into the cloud, into a nearby pod warehouse. Sending kids to school on frozen mornings becomes easy.
Extra Teleport doors and lines can be added to completely empty a baseball stadium within 20 minutes of a walk-off winning hit.
If a car runs at 20 mph and if a vertical elevator movement takes 30 seconds, a car might get from the tenth floor of a Teleport-enabled building to a subway platform one mile away in as little as four minutes. This compares wonderfully to automobiles cruising around for a lucky parking space. Teleport cars can park themselves and pick up your groceries. “Drive-through” becomes a matter of your car doors opening up to a counter.
Teleport cars can plug into Teleport commuter trains for longer journeys, preferably with access to common bathrooms and a club car.
A city becomes a physical Internet of things, where wall sections and rafters are downloaded to exact positions on a construction site and where Teleport participates in its own track assembly.
Teleport is wheelchair-friendly, frailty-friendly and dementia-friendly. It interfaces well with Teleport-compatible skyscraper elevator shafts and with subway platforms.
What are the proposal’s projected costs?
Any transit rollout costs $100 million late in the cycle for crash testing. Teleport is ambitious enough that we should pencil in $200 million for prototype development.
Early stage pencil and paper development costs will be notably more affordable.
We need a climate change R&D coordinating committee to spot any showstopping engineering arguments and to parcel out the subsystem research, so that engineering departments aren’t duplicating each other’s work. When two or more horses are in a certain technological race, we need two parallel development projects until one engineering option is clearly proven to be better than the other.
Airbag crash testing from 15 feet up needs to be done last, when we know that the full project is a go.
After a slow 5-year launch, Teleport will explode.
About the author(s)
The author holds two solar patents, #8408199 and #8823197. He holds Masters degrees in Computer Science and in Political Science, both from the University of Rhode Island. He has 50 other inventions waiting in the wings, including many inventions fundamental to inhibiting climate change and its effects.
The fundamentals of this proposal were put together in 1999. Many small pieces have been added since.
All of my work is original invention.
1. New York magazine, July, 2017, “The Uninhabitable Earth”,http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html