Here’s an Idea

I think everyone would agree that traffic congestion in metro Atlanta is so complex that it will need multiple options to make significant reductions in travel time. The existing and under construction toll lanes, bus rapid transit and other public transit, staggered work hours, car pools and a host of other ideas will work in concert if our metro area is to stave off gridlock.

So I found what I thought was a new idea from Benita Dodd over at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation only to discover it was actually conceived in 2000.

“Fifteen years ago, the Foundation published a paper proposing SyncTrans, a system with “small family-sized cars that travel non-stop on an elevated guideway between stations. The quiet, electric-powered system and its cars require no drivers and can operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The elevated guideways are cost effective and can be erected quickly. Since the system is fully automated, labor costs are minimal.”

Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But at this point we need every idea to get a fair hearing if we are ever going to work out of the morass that being a successful, desirable site has wrought. After all Dick Tracey’s wristwatch was a fantasy years ago and now we are working on the 2nd and 3rd generation of that technology. For more on this Jetsonesque concept read the full article.

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buzzbrockway
buzzbrockway
4 years ago

Interesting article. Another piece of the solution will be driverless cars. Imagine Uber transformed into a fleet of driverless cars that pick you up at home, then pick up two or three others who live near you and work near you. No need for you or anyone else to organize this carpool, the app does that for you. Then all these driverless cars use designated lanes on the freeways and certain main arteries. Even cutting the number of cars on freeways by 10% would make a huge difference. Uber is spending a lot of money developing driverless cars as is… Read more »

blakeage80
blakeage80
4 years ago
Reply to  buzzbrockway

Flex-Trans lanes: They could allow BRT buses, the Sync Trans type vehicles and any driver-less route taxis as you describe.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker
4 years ago
Reply to  buzzbrockway

Uber is an incredible disruptor in traditional transportation now. The metro bus systems should be planning an 80% or more reduction in their fleets now.
Marta trains, Express buses and Uber now. Somewhere later add driverless uber.

WesleyC
WesleyC
4 years ago
Reply to  Saltycracker

Uber’s a great convenience from time to time but as a regular means of transport it’s really only viable for the upper middle class and beyond. It also adds to or at least maintains the traffic problem, rather than solve it. Generally speaking the plan needs to be new half penny in ATL for infill stations, lightrail, expanded and optimized bus routes and actually making the Streetcar go enough places to become viable. Extend the half penny to Dekalb in 2018 for Clifton Corridor and I-20 east extensions, pass fully MARTA penny Gwinnett in 2020 and keep working with North… Read more »

Saltycracker
Saltycracker
4 years ago
Reply to  WesleyC

Never knew those in town millennials were upper middle class nor mass transit implied as needed for indigents or to run around all over the place empty.
7 of us recently took an uber van about 5 + miles in a congested big city for $10.75,
A trip for 2 rich guys from the Omni to the Capitol might run you about $5.50 depending when.

ScottNAtlanta
ScottNAtlanta
4 years ago
Reply to  Saltycracker

Uber operates on a congestion pricing model so like its been said already, its not really a good option for commuting. Its great when Millennials want to go out drinking at night, but not a traffic solution

blakeage80
blakeage80
4 years ago
Reply to  ScottNAtlanta

That pricing model isn’t unchangeable if there is opportunity.

Rambler14
Rambler14
4 years ago
Reply to  buzzbrockway

What happens if social behavior changes once we have driverless cars,
and people start sending their cars home to park in their garages instead of paying fees for parking decks?

Won’t you be doubling the Vehicle Miles Travelled?

gt7348b
gt7348b
4 years ago

Where to start. First, buses operating in Managed Lanes are NOT bus rapid transit. The federal Transit administration defines bus rapid transit specifically as all say service operating primarily in exclusive lanes, not shared with paying vehicles or car pools. Second, the only places that have the type of system Ms. Dodd is trying to sell is Morgantown, WV with variations in Jacksonville and Miami. They are expensive to maintain because of the electronics required to run the system through the guideway. Yes, they don’t have operators, but they ain’t cheap.

ScottNAtlanta
ScottNAtlanta
4 years ago
Reply to  gt7348b

…and for what your initial expenses would be, you could make meaningful investments in what we have now.

Benevolus
Benevolus
4 years ago

If you were an insurance company how much would you charge Uber to cover driverless cars? I would consider that high risk!

ScottNAtlanta
ScottNAtlanta
4 years ago

Generally when I see the name Benita Dodd I cringe because her Libertarian ideals are not a reasonable fit for Atlanta traffic. Anyone recall the proposal to tunnel under VA Highlands and Morningside to connect 400 to 675…That was her group. I rest my case.

augusta52
augusta52
4 years ago

Scott, agreed—no more likely—or practical–as double-decking the Downtown Connector, which would probably fill up even if it had 15 lanes each way. Maybe if commutes were staggered or more teleworking encouraged….what passes for traffic at Masters time in Augusta pales to an adventure on the Downtown Connector at rush hour……..

Yuppie Pundit
Yuppie Pundit
4 years ago

would be nice if a video game company would make a “Fantasy Transportation” league where people could play online simulators at how to solve this. Would work like fantasy football. You pick teams, draft legislators, governmental depts, and lobbyists. Each week you get points depending on who you played that week and what type of performance they put up.

Yuppie Pundit
Yuppie Pundit
4 years ago
Reply to  Yuppie Pundit

Snarky comment that’s relevant, what if the “School Choice” concept applied to transportation. State gives you a voucher and you take that $$ and pick to live in the community that has the best transportation scores. Creates competition among municipalities to provide great services or like under performing schools run the risk of being withheld resources or needing to close.

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