Table of Contents

Mass Transportation

1. Mass Transportation System Open to Competition

All forms of mass transportation should be opened up to the private sector. No subset of public transportation should be exclusively the right of government owned and/or operated vehicles. Nevertheless, all segments of the transportation industry would be subject to government oversight and relevant regulatory controls.


2. Mass Transportation System Infrastructure Design

Long Distance Mass Transportation

Every country should install a network of long-distance, high-speed (preferably electrically powered) mass transportation trains which connect virtually every major population center. These systems should be designed to have both the smallest aesthetic footprint possible and the smallest physical and environmental footprint on the land (by using an elevated, column-supported monorail design, for example), especially in environmentally significant areas. Even through desert areas, elevating these monorail trains would benefit the environment by not creating a physical barrier to the migration of biological organisms. Additional benefits would include a reduced chance of vandalism on the elevated tracks and a reduced chance of interruption and damage by natural environmental processes (floods, wind blown debris, earthquakes, etc.) Furthermore, the visual benefits experienced by travelers on an elevated track would include an ability to see farther than if they were at ground level, allowing both a greater enjoyment and awareness of the surrounding environment. High speed travel on elevated tracks would potentially cause less discomfort to passengers than high speed ground level transport because nearby scenery would appear to pass by slower relative to ground level transportation systems operating at the same speeds due to motion parallax.

Urban/Suburban Mass Transportation

A similar system should also be built to meet the transportation needs within cities and other urban and suburban population centers. Stops could be made by these trains as often as about every kilometer or so. By using columns to support these monorails, very minimal amounts of land would be required for a complete system allowing implementation even in high density areas. Even the space required by embarking/disembarking stations could be constructed on the rooftops of current industrial, commercial, and even residential buildings. Even in densely packed areas that are filled with high rise structures, train stations could be built right inside these existing structures, taking up a portion of one of the floors. These elevated trains could enter and exit such structures at the second or third floor levels without requiring very extensive structural reconfigurations.

Additional transportation systems, perhaps consisting of buses or vans with routes that service only the neighborhood around that particular station, could then be designed to complement the monorail systems in order to create a comprehensive, door-to-door mass transportation system.

Smaller Capacity, More Individualized, Mass Transportation Vehicles

In order to create a mass transportation system with a far higher level of comfort and appeal, it is imperative that people be able to travel from their place of origin to their destination without any transfers to any other vehicles, without being bothered by any other passengers, with a high level of privacy, without having to worry about missing their disembarking point, and not being required to walk any long distance to or from any point along such a system.

Modifications of the above proposals for a basic monorail mass transportation system would enable the creation of this more personalized form of transport. Using the same monorail infrastructure, but just extending it to create a much finer network down to the residential scale (where each residence would be serviced by such a system), and utilizing passive monorail switching methods that enable vehicles to switch from one rail to another at much higher speeds, would allow the creation of a comprehensive mass transportation system able to suit the needs of the vast majority of the population. The remaining population would still be able to use conventional road vehicles, since roads would, and should, continue to be maintained for a variety of valid reasons.

Automated Controls

To ensure the highest capacity usages possible as well as the highest levels of safety possible, each vehicle using this monorail infrastructure, both the larger mass transit and the smaller more individualized vehicles, need to have their speeds and routes determined by an automated network of computers that allow communication among all nearby vehicles (to schedule mergers onto the same track, for example) and to determine routing information to avoid congested lines or trouble spots. If the technology is not reliable enough, it may be beneficial to have a manual override for one or more characteristics of operation.

Passive Monorail Switching

Passive monorail switching technology is essential to prevent grid-lock associated with the relatively slow conventional rail switching methods used today as well as the relatively slow speeds at which vehicles can pass through such switches due to their relatively high angles of departure from the main track. In addition, the maintenance requirements and significant breakdown and failure risks associated with active monorail switching systems are eliminated through the use of passive systems. A passive monorail switching system involve a conventional I-beam (on which the vehicle travels) gradually becoming flared from the bottom as it approaches a switch. This flaring continues until the sides of the I-beam are level with the top of the I-beam. Such I-beam flaring may proceed along a 50-200 foot segment of track, depending on the speed at which vehicles are planned to travel. Thus, the stabilizing wheels which normally ride along the sides of the I-beam would have pivoted and would now be riding along the top of the I-beam and out towards the sides of the vehicle providing the needed stability.

For the vehicle to switch to a different track, a guide pin attached to an arm directly connected to the forward wheel assembly of the vehicle would be inserted into a deep groove or channel which will veer off onto the desired track, automatically guiding the front steering wheels onto the new track. If the vehicle desires to continue on the same track, then the guide pin would be inserted into a different channel (or perhaps a deeper portion of the same channel) ensuring guidance along the same track until the switching point had passed and the flattened (flared) I-beam returns to its normal I-beam shape. Theoretically, there would be no upper limit to the speed at which vehicles could travel through switches designed in this way.

I-beam technology would not be appropriate for residential scale service because such service needs to be at ground level to facilitate easy embarking and disembarking. But at ground level, it is not practical to design a monorail system that is easy for pedestrians to cross at all points and that does not involve much maintenance. Thus, this proposal to use monorail vehicles with the ability to transform, to a degree, to travel along flat paths would allow the much more versatile use of such vehicles in a residential environment (and a host of other environments) with much lower costs than would otherwise be the case. For example, since residential uses would be at far lower speeds and at ground level, it is not as important to provide a method of support and stability that relies on a mechanical fix against forces coming from all six directions. In addition, the stabilizing wheels that would normally be riding along the sides of the I-beam, would now be rotated to a flat position and spread out along the extreme sides of the vehicle providing as much support as conventional road vehicles are provided.

Monorail Vehicles Could Also Be Conventional Road Vehicles

In fact, such vehicles would be able to be used as conventional vehicles. While riding on the main I-beam monorail infrastructure, such vehicle could be powered by electricity obtained from the electrified I-beam itself. While traveling along the flat surface streets, batteries may provide enough energy to power the vehicles to their destination. The guide pins that would safely guide the monorail vehicles through the switches could be retracted to allow travel on surface streets just like conventional vehicles. Occupants may become drivers who may then drive these vehicles, as they would conventional ones. They could drive them into their own garages if they have bought such vehicles for their own private use. Or they could drive them to a local public monorail vehicle parking lot and walk the rest of the way home. No special infrastructures would be required by these vehicles after they leave the main monorail system and travel along flat roads.

However, public vehicles should not be limited to only licensed driver. Mature school children should also be allowed to use such vehicles, though perhaps operations should be limited to on-rail usage only so that safety could be ensured.


3. Public Bicycle System

A public bicycle system could also form an important part of this mass transportation system. Public bicycles (and tricycles) could be used much as shopping carts are used now in the sense that when a person is done using a bicycle, he/she could just leave it parked somewhere nearby so that any other person who wants to use it could take it from there. The government would be responsible for ensuring that an adequate number of bicycles exist to satisfy demands at each major bicycle parking location.

Public bicycles and tricycles could be used to transport people and goods from their residences and places of work to the train station. Or, for more healthy exercise, people could ride bicycles directly to their destination instead of using the trains. Essentially, the public would be free to ride the bicycles anywhere. The only restriction would be that they cannot keep them at home for their own exclusive use. Perhaps, if a user wants to own or lease one of these bicycles, they could buy them from the government or even lease them. People could use their own private bicycles as well, but they would, of course, need to lock them up so nobody else steals them.

This much more energy efficient method of transportation would not only save energy and reduce pollution emissions, it would also encourage the population to exercise by walking and cycling more and making the physical effort to carry everything they take.


4. Transportation Route Layout and Nomenclature

Mass transportation routes should run only along the same street for its entire length. The streets they run on should be preferably of the same name throughout the length of the route, but if that is not possible, they should either end where the street changes its name, or the name of the street should be changed. If neither of these options are possible or desirable, the route should continue on throughout the length of the new street as well, but only if that new street is a logical continuation of the previous street. That route would then need to be given the name of those two streets. There should not be any major turns or sharp breaks in the bus route that may not be perceived as logical for an average member of the public, with no access to a map, to follow. The idea is to make routes generally straight, logical, run longer distances, and not zigzag within relatively small geographical areas.

Mass transportation vehicles operating such routes should be given, not so much a number identification, but rather the names of the streets upon which they operate. In addition, instead of these vehicles merely stating their destination city or location, they should include a north, south, east, or west directional label right next to the name of the bus so that potential passengers, especially those with no knowledge of the area, would know, unmistakably, in which direction the bus is heading. Possible directional color coding could also be used.


5. Comprehensive Mass Transportation System Schedules & Information Database

One single comprehensive database (i.e., website) should exist for people to get detailed information about route maps and schedules, current mass transport vehicle location and virtually all other questions people may have regarding any aspect of the mass transportation system.

Mass Transportation System Vehicle Schedules

All mass transportation vehicles (buses, trains, etc.) should operate on the same daily schedule, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year without exception. For example, if a bus normally passes by a given bus stop every 15 minutes during normal business hours, it should be required to pass by once every 15 minutes regardless of what time of day it is or what day of the year it is. This restriction is intended as a minimum guarantee only. Operators are free to run buses or trains more frequently than the scheduled 15 minutes in this example, but they cannot run any less frequently than 15 minutes. Such a requirement is essential for the public to have the necessary level of confidence in the continuous reliability of such a system. If any vehicle takes longer than this minimum time to service a scheduled stop location, all riders at that stop location should be entitled to a free ride. Instead of running big, 40-foot buses at 2 AM with very few or no riders, smaller mini-buses or vans could be used. In addition, these smaller vehicles could also be placed on certain routes to supplement the larger vehicles during times of extraordinary passenger demand or could just regularly be used to more accurately meet the needed capacity on bus routes.

Mass Transportation System Vehicle Schedule Enforcement and Real-Time Tracking

Mass transportation vehicles should compile and permanently record highly accurate records of the exact times that they have arrived at scheduled stop locations. This information should be continuously fed into a central location which integrates similar information from all other vehicles into one large comprehensive database which system managers and individual vehicle operators could refer to check up on the system-wide mass transportation scheduling performance. System managers could divert vehicles (especially buses which are easier to transfer) from one line to another to better meet demands. Individual vehicle operators would be able to use this system to find out exactly how long it has been since a mass transportation vehicle last visited any given stop. This way, vehicle operators would better know whether they should understand or dismiss rider complaints about late arrival times.

This information should be made available to the public so that as they are walking to a bus stop, for example, they could check in to this database to find out roughly (or exactly) where a bus is and they could better determine whether they need to run to the bus stop or not.


6. Public Transit Vehicle Information

Information Displayed Within Vehicles

All mass transit vehicles should provide its riders with an easily viewable automated list of the next 3-5 stops and perhaps a map of where they are, at all times during their travel.

Information Displayed At Scheduled Stop Locations

Every scheduled mass transportation vehicle stop location should provide all the relevant information concerning that route. This would include a schedule and/or the frequency of vehicle visits (such as every 10 minutes), a complete route map for that line, and the webpage for a comprehensive mass transportation system database. These changes would make using mass transit much more convenient.

Countdown Until Next Arrival

Every public transportation stop location should have a countdown clock so that users standing there can know where the vehicle currently is and so that they will have a reliable estimate of how much time they will need to wait until the next public transit vehicle arrives.

GPS Info Made Public

All public transportation vehicles should have GPS devices that transmit their current locations so that they could be made public and used by whoever (like Google maps) to provide such useful information to users.

Time Clocks

All scheduled stop locations should have at least one clock. All mass transportation vehicles should also have clocks in one or two places where virtually all riders are able to easily see them, preferably near each door.




7. Electronic Stop Indicators At Stop Locations

All mass transportation scheduled stop sites (especially bus stops) in which vehicles stop only upon request, should be required to allow customers to press a button to indicate to the vehicle operator that they request to be picked up. Perhaps the customer waiting at the stop could press a button that would activate some kind of light signal (like a strobe light) directed towards the direction in which the vehicle will come. When the vehicle sees this signal, he will stop at that stop. At the same time, when a customer presses this button, perhaps a signal could be sent to the operator, indicating that there is someone waiting to be picked up at that stop. At the appropriate time, the vehicle’s interior “Stop Requested” sign would activate so everyone onboard knows that the vehicle will stop at the next stop. Perhaps there could be either an audible or visual warning to the customer waiting at the stop that the vehicle is one stop away from theirs, and to get ready.

At bus stops where more than one bus line travels, there could maybe be some kind of color coded system of lights, like different colors for different bus lines.


8. Other Vehicles Must Yield to Mass Transport Vehicles

Public (or private) mass transportation vehicles should enjoy merging priority over all other vehicles. Privately operated vehicles should always yield to public transportation vehicles (buses, trains, etc.) when the option is presented. For example, when public transportation buses are merging into a lane, other vehicles should allow them the right of way and should not maneuver in any way that needlessly causes the mass transportation vehicle to maneuver to avoid the other vehicle. Of course, vehicles always should be required to allow for others to merge without causing the merging vehicle undo hardships, but perhaps higher fines could be levied against vehicles who clearly refuse to allow public transportation vehicles to merge.


9. Behavioral Codes of Conduct

The use of mass transport vehicles is a privilege, not a right. There should be enforced behavior codes on public transportation vehicles, so that if people engage in crazy talk, are drunk or on drugs, play music or talk too loudly, especially about indecent subjects such as sex, fights, etc., curse or stink excessively, put their feet up on the seats, engage in vandalism, put their hands in their nose, mouth, ears, then touch the bars or anything else, or are just annoying or engage in unsanitary behavior, they should probably be warned once, but more likely they should be cited and required to pay a fine. Depending on the offense, they should also be required to disembark at the next stop location. Minors should especially be watched for inappropriate behavior. They should be issued the same fines as adults for any inappropriate behavior. Cameras should be installed on all mass transportation vehicles and their video feeds could be monitored by both the driver/operator, and personnel at a central location. Enforcement personnel could be located both on board the vehicle or at various stations or bus stops so that offending behaviors could be corrected immediately.


10. Vehicles Sharing the Same Route

Vehicles sharing the same route for at least a significant part of the route should each be easily distinguishable from a distance by either having different colored paints, lights, or super large route name lettering on all four sides of the vehicles, especially the front and rear. The driver’s side should also have route name information that could be easily readable from a minimum distance of 100 feet.


11. Vehicles Must Be Cleaned At Least Once a Week

All public transportation seats, rails, sidings, and other parts that are often touched by passengers on buses, trains, and other public transportation systems should be cleaned and disinfected at least once a week, but preferable more often. These vehicles should prominently display to their riders when they were last cleaned. These notices could be placed at the front of buses, over exit doors, etc.


12. Fare Machine – Out of Order

If mass transit bus money machines (bill or coin slots, card slots, etc.) are out of order or otherwise are not to be used, the bus drivers should be required to place specially made brightly colored plastic covers over any non-functioning part so that it firmly stays in place and logically lets people know not to even try to insert bills or coins. This would eliminate a lot of confusion for passengers and reduce the need for the driver to continually tell boarding bus riders that the machine is broken.


13. Departure Warning Toot

Bus drivers should provide an alert signal or warning call several seconds before their moment of departure from a bus terminal or other areas where they are stopped for a significant length of time, in order to give people a chance to get on.