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How to Save America; The PODs

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posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 01:43 PM
What does Mass Transit mean to most Americans? Does it mean the network of trains and buses that make up European transit? Or does it simply refer to our own network of highways and biways, roads that make the transfer of both goods and people easier and more efficient?
At this point in our history, Americans stand to make some long-reaching decisions, with the intention of healing our failing infrastructure and encouraging the growth that our country has become accustomed to. I believe that now, more than any other time in our history, we can marry technology and production ability to better address the myriad of issues that affect our nation and the world.

(This thread is article #1 in a series of ten, that I will refer to as "Ten Solutions for America." If you can add to the thread, or agree in principle with my ideas, please Star and Flag this thread, which will encourage the follow-up articles.)

Where to start?
As we watch the recent news, we can identify numerous problems with our current system; we see the failure of our automotive industries, the skyrocketing costs of fuel, the rising rate of drunk and uninsured driving, the collapse of our highways, the waste and pollution from our vehicles, the loss of opportunity for those unable to secure transportation, hardship for those who barely can, the amount of resources sunk into automobile and road construction increasing, the loss of personal time to traffic, the amount of FATALITIES associated with personal transport, etc. and so on...

Normally, we address these issues with stop-gap measures. We start more drunk-driving checkpoints, we work on fuel efficiency, we build more roads, we ramp up vehicle safety, again, etc. etc....

Why are we doing this and why is it failing?
There is no question that America is dependant on the Auto. We are also dependent on the shipping methods that are auto related. We live in suburbs, and enjoy the freedom and personal privacy that a vehicle provides. We love to buy products that only a nationwide trucking system can deliver... and why not? Is this not a mark of success for our Nation? For all those who champion the public transit system, can they really imagine a mother of 4 doing all the shopping, soccer practices, doctors appointments, etc., from a bus? That isn't even realistic, and therefore makes the person who suggests it sound elitist at best...

And yet, no one can deny the toll that this system is exacting... I listed the many reasons above, but those are just the tip of the iceberg...

Well, I am not an engineer. I am not a conductor, manufacturer, or truck driver. But I do have an idea, one that I believe the members here can agree might be a viable solution to our quandry, as well as a possible answer to our future responsible growth. If you agree, please comment or flag this thread, and maybe, just maybe, some random engineer might read this, and one day this idea might see the light of day.

I have included in this idea below, many solutions that will arise from it's completion. I know that i will be missing many, but I'm sure you can all grasp the idea.

The POD system

Lets understand that this idea requires energy that is not yet being produced. What I mean is, right now we operate on many different types of "engines". We have the auto, trains, diesel trucks, planes, and an electrical grid that powers our homes and businesses. Beyond the obvious issues of creating new engines to run an alternative fuels, and the obvious wastes that would be created by old batteries, etc, it seems as though we are still trying to address these problems one vehicle at a time...

So if we were able to get on the same fuel source, my favorite being the tidal generators that could and should exist on either coast, using the tides to create hydro-electric power, then we could create a grid that would be more efficient and cost effective. Once on this grid, we could develop a new transportation system that was tied into this, thereby creating said harmony and efficiency.

Moving on...
The "POD" system...
Imagine a system, by which there were no more accidents. No more deaths on the roads. No more traffic jams. No more sections of wilderness destroyed by the building of highways. No more intruders in your homes. No more delays in sewer and electrical grid management. No more polution from combustable engines. No wasted time in your vehicle. The costs of goods and services lowered exponentially.
Imagine a huge savings, or budget overage, when it comes to maintainence, and the cost of police patrols. Imagine never waiting a second longer than necesary for an ambulance or fire crew. Imagine letting nature have back the land we use for highways,( effectively cutting off migratory routes for a whole host of species) and never again having to pollute our air again.


The POD system would save America.

Here is how it works.

A POD refers to any vehicle that would operate on the POD track.

The POD track is a track made of a composite of hemp, corn plastic, and carbon fiber. (a note, all technology mentioned exists in some form or other) The track would look similar to our current telephone pole system, mixed with a "hanging" carraige system. (think of a ski lift or roller-coaster) These tracks would carry, in their main rail, all electricity and telecommunications wires that are currently used. These rails would be 10 feet or more off the ground, depending on rural or city use, and could be built to accomodate mulitple levels of rails. (i will get to the pods in a sec)
The base of these rail systems would be a trench that was covered with locking "lids". Within this trench, that would be 6 to 10 feet wide, would be all sewer, water, and other main power conduits. The rails would lead to EVERY home, apt. building, and business.
I want to stop here, to keep you with me. I know that this type of change would effect every aspect of our lives and business, but in the long run this would make more sense; bear with me and you will agree.

The purpose and benefits of these rail systems is already evident, before I even mention the PODs. How much money does your local gov't spend on road or sewer repair? Have you actually watched them dig up a sewer pipe? It takes weeks, where they dig up the road, fix it, and then rebuild the road... If these systems were in a trench that could be accessed, how much labor would we save? How much quicker could we fix these things? How much MONEY would we save? And the rails would be mass produced and interchangable. It would take hours, not weeks, to repair a stretch of "road".

So what is a POD? A Pod refers to a transport device that utilizes the suspended rail system. Pods will come in all shapes and sizes. Produced by auto companies, they will vary from personal one-seater economy devices, (think of a tear-drop shaped egg suspended under the rail) to large 10 seaters that a family might use. There would be cargo Pods, and "buses" and "taxi's" as well. Rail Sytems (and their carrying abilities) would vary based on the neighborhood or needs of an area, but would allow someone in California to go to New York without ever doing anything other than picking the location that one wanted to go to.

The Pod would be stored in a garage of sorts, at your home, and be called to an elevated platform by your home. You would enter the Pod, and have access to all public areas, and businesses that accept you. You would also have access to any home or business that chose to approve you. Cargo would be delivered in a new manner, probably automated and vary in it's delivery method based on size of cargo, and rail capabilities in the local area. You would be able to get dropped off in one area of town, and then call your Pod to pick you up anywhere you are.

I don't think I am doing a good job of describing this Pod to you all, but maybe if I listed the things it would make better, it will become clearer.
The Pod would only need to travel at 30 mph or so in urban areas, and it would be far more efficient than our current system. In rural areas, it could travel faster, but for long distance, you would be attached to a more stable "train" that linked multiple Pods together.
You would never again have drunk, sleepy, distracted drivers. There are no drivers. No more Patrol costs, no more traffic, and no more pollution. No more wasted time, as better equipped Pods would be roving offices. Drive-throughs would still exist, as would many other service industry positions related to the auto. It would just be different.

Some rebuttals....
The costs saved by this would easily pay for the bonds that are needed to build this. It would take 30 years, but once up and running would create new industries to replace the ones it destroyed.

I know for one thing, that teamsters would complain about the loss of their industry... Heres a point for them and other industries like them;
If it took 30 years, then the youngest drivers today would have a whole career ahead of them. It would just eliminate the field AFTER it was built. Actually, today's teamsters would have RECORD amounts of work for the next thirty years. By the time we ripped up all of the roads, (and we would use prisoners for this purpose, my 3rd point in the series of 10) there would be TONS of work building our new water/sewer/electrical grid.

Anyway, I am out of space, and I don't think I painted the perfect image that I was going for, however, I think that my point has been made. The list of benefits goes on forever, and all that stands in the way is our clinging to the ideas of old. We have the technology to create these rails, and the energy sources needed to make this work . It IS a long term plan, but it would leave a legacy for our grandchildren, without the problems our Grandparents left us.
What do you think ATS?

[edit on 16-3-2009 by jasonjnelson]

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 02:05 PM
So basically an above ground railroad system powered by hydro current?

[edit on 16-3-2009 by Gouki]

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 02:13 PM
reply to post by Gouki

A rail system is a simplistic way of putting it, as the lightweight nature of these pods, and their autonomous nature, makes them far more efficient and personal than trains are. And the Rails are actually the carriers of the entire electrical grid that will run our country.

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 02:19 PM
What happens if the grid fails does that mean every person on the rail stops?

I would get in contact with a person that could do technical drawings just for basic display because it is a little hard to imagine and paint a picture of all of this.

Not a bad idea though, just another solution. I admire the time and dedication you put into the development of this idea. With refinement Im sure you could perfect it to make it even more plausible for the future.

[edit on 16-3-2009 by lastmanstanding]

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 02:22 PM
That is an AMAZING idea.

I can see your vision and have often had similar ideas. Not the same, but along the same lines kinda thing.

It would be a far better place for the entire world if everyone had this. Unfortunately, the 2% of people that basically control the world wouldn't allow it, as they would have far less to scoff about. We wouldn't be the little worker ants for them any more..

but nobody deserves misery. Whatever mankind achieves has been achieved by mankind, therefore we should all share in the fruits. We are one, not seperated by invisible barriers.

The POD idea wouldn't remove them barriers, but it would make them irrelevant.

I really hope that people pick up on this. I'll be keeping my eye on it for certain.

Star and Flag! Someone applause him too!

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 02:27 PM
reply to post by lastmanstanding

I believe that each grid would be self contained to a point, and each pod, no matter the operations, would have a self contained battery for limited transport in lieu of a grid failure. Thanks though, and I wish I was an artist. My vision for a ten rail high city system would be something to see...

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 02:29 PM
how would one deal with the hundreds of thousands of PODS trying to get on or off at different locations. would the pods have to stop travel to integrate new pods into the transfer line? I think looking for alternative forms of travel are great, but my luck the pod system would stop working on my way home (takes me an hour now driving at about 70mph. At 30 take me forever) the poop pipe bursts, then it shorts out the main power conduit. MMMMM smoking poo to enjoy on my delay. If the pod system breaks, how do maintenance crews get to the problem site. The pod is down.

On a serious note though, you do realize the absolute magnitude of what you are talking about? I mean a pod for every home, you have to network the whole system across the entire country to every home. Something of that scope could take decades, and at the end of it. It would be time to revamp the whole system as technology would have changed so drastically.

[edit on 16-3-2009 by Doom and Gloom]

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 04:54 PM
Awesome idea(s)! If we could incorporate that into a resource economy as I describe in my book (linked in my sig), it would be beautiful!

Thanks for your creative solution.

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 05:10 PM
reply to post by Amaterasu

No problem, and thanks, I'll check out your book!
Now if only I could find that second line somewhere...

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 05:14 PM
reply to post by Doom and Gloom

Those are very relevent questions/comments. Luckily I thought of all the answers before I posted this idea.

As for volume? Think multi tracks, computer driven. These Pods know where they are headed, thereby allowing for gaps to be created in traffic, and constant flow to be achieved.
And as for drop-off, pick up? there would be designed entrance and exit ramps, that diverge from the main line. Think mini-train stations off exit ramps.

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 11:05 PM
I say, imagine stepping out your front door today and this system was reality.

You stand on the platform by your entranceway, where your pod awaits you. Maybe it's a two seater, no frills. Or maybe it's a luxury model, with leather and a full office and bar. Who knows?
You program your destination, and it pulls quietly away from your home. You merge instantly onto your local line, and head towards work.

Do you live in a suburban community? There are likely to be only three lines on your rail, a public line, a freight line, and an emergency services line, all stacked and staggered on "tree's" that stretch in every direction...

There is no traffic, only the peace and quiet of your morning paper, and a cup of coffee.

Or maybe you watch the ground below you... Where roads had once carved out miles of concrete, there were now forests and parks... Homes open up onto lawns that hold no risk for their occupants... There are no strangers cruising these streets, as the bike paths are well lit and monitored by a police force o longer burdened by traffic enforcement...
As you approach the city, you might take a nap...
Or maybe you catch up on paperwork, or make a few calls... your pod is a transition, not just your transportation...

Your arrival in the city is marked by the many tracks that loop throughout the buildings... You feel your car switch tracks many times, and you even end up in a temporary holding pattern, looping around the nearest square at least twice before moving on...
Finally, the computer informs you of your impending arrival at work. You collect your things, and step out onto the arrival platform, taking note of the hundreds of others arriving around you on the same public platform...

You Pod leaves you after you signal your use is done, moving to a public holding area, where it will "stack". awaiting your call....

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 11:09 PM
Interesting Ideas to say the least.

Originally posted by Amaterasu
Awesome idea(s)! If we could incorporate that into a resource economy as I describe in my book (linked in my sig), it would be beautiful!

Thanks for your creative solution.

Do you have to mention your book in all your posts?

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 11:11 PM
reply to post by TV_Nation

Do you have to mention that he mentions his book in all his posts in all your posts?

Just askin'.

posted on Mar, 17 2009 @ 01:24 PM
2nd day bump?
should I give up?

posted on Mar, 17 2009 @ 02:02 PM

Originally posted by jasonjnelson
reply to post by Amaterasu

No problem, and thanks, I'll check out your book!
Now if only I could find that second line somewhere...

I have a PDF of a version that has the introduction included, with a typo corrected and a few tweaks for clarity available.

Any brave enough to offer an email addy (U2U) will receive this version upon request.

posted on Mar, 17 2009 @ 02:07 PM

Originally posted by TV_Nation
Do you have to mention your book in all your posts?

In a word... Yes.

Though you may already be aware of my book, there are new readers at this site daily. And because I think I have a solution - which will only work if we get the concepts to the tipping point (to that point where enough grasp what I present that it takes over rather than dying in obscurity) - I am driven to inform others. If you don't want to read me mentioning my book, feel free to put me on ignore.

I want to solve the dire situation we are in. No... I am extremely driven to do so. And so I will mention it at every opportunity.

posted on Mar, 17 2009 @ 02:58 PM
reply to post by jasonjnelson

Dude, do you work in shipping/freight forwarding?? Great ideas and i think your right in thinking rail is the future - it is, and more and more companies are realising this. Problem with the current set up, i.e. in the UK, is that the rail bridges of old are too low for the european containers - although i'm sure this will not be a problem eventually - my viiew is new lines will be built to accomodate the issues they presently have. Currently, the larger companies are making as much use of multimodal hubs in order to economise and and the same time helping the environment
Like your ideas though, have to say one thing, using the termPOD system in shipping could be a pit confusing - It means Proof of Delivery and the document you sign for when you receive your goods to say you have received them in good condition or not, or have even received them at all. Very important document that one

[edit on 17-3-2009 by MCoG1980]

posted on Mar, 27 2009 @ 02:17 PM
good idea, its a way to ween off the oil. is it possible that we could have BOTH infrastructures?

I don't think the rails would be practical to hang off trees though. it would be heavy and would have to be durable. whats the average age of the rails? whats their max capacity? your talking about luxury pods, with a full bar? that's a lot of weight to maintain on a course cross country. (im no engineer, but those are the first questions id ask about it)

It is a good idea to move to a rain system. your idea has holes, that could be filled in with by other minds. id like to see how this idea could form. this would create a lot of jobs, and bring in new technology along the way.

S&F, we might need this idea one day....

posted on Mar, 27 2009 @ 02:19 PM
Not sure that lowering the death rate is the way to save america.....

Second line....

posted on Mar, 27 2009 @ 02:31 PM
reply to post by ugie1028

I would have to argue that I think there are at least two composites that would have the stregnth for this idea, and maybe more if the need was there.
Second, we have to acknowledge that the weight of these pods is greatly reduced, compared to automobiles, due to the lack of engine, mufflers, Etc. and so on. Therefore, they would require FAR less stregnth needed.

And I would think carbon fiber?

Oh, and the cross country rail would be a sturdier monorail, where pods were connected and moverd together at higher speeds...

[edit on 27-3-2009 by jasonjnelson]

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