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High Speed Travelator

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the umbrella-jousting dept.

Toys 333

Anonymous Award writes "Remember those old Isaac Asimov tales of cities of the future, where everybody walked along on moving sidewalks, sometimes clear across a country? Today's airport travelators have always been disappointingly pale imitations of these, but now in Paris we may be seeing the true birth of this wonderfully dangerous mode of mass transportation. Its already as fast as a bus, but when they can crank them up to motorway speeds... well, lets just say this may have a better chance of having cities designed around it than certain other recent innovations."

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omg omg... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366579)

first post.... I cannae believe it....

You know... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366583)

When it gets up to a certain speed, the wind resistance against your body will be greater than the friction of the belt against your feet, and you will cease to move forward...

Re:You know... (5, Informative)

archeopterix (594938) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366608)

When it gets up to a certain speed, the wind resistance against your body will be greater than the friction of the belt against your feet, and you will cease to move forward...
Now this should look funny. But if you enclose the belt in a tube, with air moving with the speed of the belt (either artificially propelled or just "pulled" by the belt), the wind resistance becomes less of a problem.

Re:You know... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366649)

In which case, why not get rid of the belt completely and go for Futurama-like travel tubes (which I've always thought would be great fun..)

Re:You know... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366682)

"But if you enclose the belt in a tube, with air moving with the speed of the belt (either artificially propelled or just "pulled" by the belt), the wind resistance becomes less of a problem."

Until you fart! "Damn, this smell has been with me all the way from Pittsburgh!".

Re:You know... (2, Funny)

x0n (120596) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366609)

unless it is contained in a tunnel with the wind being blown behind you at the same speed. Oops, the conveyor belt stops, blown onto your face, sue! Oops, wind stops, blown backwards, smash the face of the person behind you, sue! You will have people literally running into the back of you.

Re:You know... (5, Funny)

io333 (574963) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366612)

Not if it travels in a tunnel and they evacuate all the air.

I loved that old story. I hope this really happens!

Re:You know... (3, Insightful)

visgoth (613861) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366688)

IANAP (I am not a physicist) but the velocities needed to create that much atmospheric friction would appear to be pretty damn high.

Re:You know... (1)

Q Who (588741) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366753)

Uhm, ever took a hand out of car's window? I wonder whether 100kmh is "pretty damn high"...

Re:You know... (4, Insightful)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366717)

you will not cease to move forward.

Once the wind resistance equals the force from the belt against your feet, you will cease to accellerate, it's not like you're suddenly going to stop.

Note that the belt has to move pretty fast for that to happen.

Re:You know... (5, Interesting)

klaasvakie (608359) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366759)

When it gets up to a certain speed, the wind resistance against your body will be greater than the friction of the belt against your feet, and you will cease to move forward...

IANAP either, BUT I just walked to our wind tunnel at university [rau.ac.za] , and stood in it. It takes no effort to stay upright up to 50km/h. At 80km/h one has to concentrate on staying upright, didn't go faster than that.

Re:You know... (2, Insightful)

FoxMcCloud (572729) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366765)

Well actually the friction only acts on your feet, while the wind resistance acts on your whole body (the front of it anyway), so you'll very likely fall backwards rather than just stop moving forward...

First Post!!! (maybe) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366587)

Anyone else get a flashback to the episode of Family Guy where the TV shows George Jetson being thrashed by the conveyer belt/sidewalk?

Re:First Post!!! (maybe) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366596)

Uh... Yeah... That was me posting...

Damn you, Slashdot for not keeping me logged in!!!

The Roads must Roll (3, Insightful)

TerryAtWork (598364) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366588)

by Heinlein was one of the first ScFi stories I ever read!

Glad to see it coming to fruition!

Re:The Roads must Roll (4, Interesting)

GeorgeTheNorge (67545) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366640)

Thanks for reminding me of the title.

What I remember of the story was that they had this rolling road that spanned the USA from east to west, with lanes that went faster and faster. You got on the first slow speed lane, and just walked over to successively faster lanes. The fastest lane was some cool 1950's velocity like 150-300mph.

Some disgruntled workers clipped a lane or two, with expected results.

Nice to see Robert Heinlein's idea making it to reality, now if I could only speak Basic with someone on the moon, or have a farm on Ganymede!

Re:The Roads must Roll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366681)

I hope the french get killed by this device! Stupid traiterous French.

Re:The Roads must Roll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366737)

Their treachery is quite ingeneous.
This thing is at the airport.
American tourists whos legs are slighly rubbery from
a long sit-down overseas flight leap onto this thing
and consequently to their doom.

the locals know not to use it because of local
advertising letting them in on the secret plot.

m00hahahaha!

les grenouilles, ils soient astucieux.

The Roads Must Roll (4, Informative)

Titusdot Groan (468949) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366589)

See also The Roads Must Roll [wikipedia.org] ; Robert Heinlein's book based upon moving roads and what happens when the guys who maintain them go on strike ...

kinda silly (0, Redundant)

chef_raekwon (411401) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366591)

don't most major airports already have this 'magic carpet ride'?

Read The Article (2, Informative)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366610)

This one goes about three to four times as fast as a normal one does. It has acceleration and decelleration zones at the beginning and end, as it would be far too fast to get on otherwise.

Re:kinda silly (1)

Jarlsberg (643324) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366615)

Well, the poster did mention that in the blurb. However, the airport travelator's doesn't exactly let you whiz by in 100 km/h.

Re:kinda silly (1)

trikberg (621893) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366627)

If you would RTFA you could see that these are about three times as fast, which presents a problem when people have to get on or off. So all the magic lies in the acceleration and deceleration zones. The rest is more or less an ordinary travelator at high speed.

Re:kinda silly (1)

chef_raekwon (411401) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366645)

after reading the article, posting, then re-reading the article, i still ask the same question: don't we already have these? I mean, its only 11km an hour, and hell, if its 3km/hour in the airport, is it worth it for the speed jump?

makes me think of going from a P-166 to a P-200.....

Re:kinda silly (1)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366677)

makes me think of going from a P-166 to a P-200.....

Actually, it's more like going from a PIII/600 to a modern P4/2GHz. I dunno about you, but I wouldn't like to try playing Quake III on a PIII/600 era PC.

Re:kinda silly (4, Funny)

GMontag (42283) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366693)

We have few traditions on SlashDot and you are stepping on the most sacred.

CLICK HERE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366593)

Attn Slashdot,
After being annoyed, I insist that everyone click here [openfind.com]

Escalators were scary enough as a kid. (4, Funny)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366595)

Imagine getting a pants leg caught in one of these people gobblers.

Re:Escalators were scary enough as a kid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366680)

damn, I read that as "golden goblers" and was like what does that mean?
Hm, spose thats what happens when the only job avail was at a helpdesk...

Transition (4, Interesting)

The Only Druid (587299) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366597)

As mentioned in the article, the most difficult issue is the transition from moving on the walkway and moving on stationary ground.

It seems to me the best solution to this is to have "lanes" in the walkway. The far left lane would move at the maximum speed, whereas successive lanes to the right would be decelerated. When exits were reached, you could easily step to the right to get to a lower speed; the transition between 9km/h and 6km/h is still a transition, but its less than 9km/h to 0km/h.

Re:Transition (5, Funny)

x0n (120596) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366620)

Yep, it's all very clinical and precise until you bring alcohol into the equasion.

Re:Transition (2, Interesting)

KingJoshi (615691) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366622)

Sounds like a nice idea, but people hold on to handrails. You need to have some type of handrails overhead that's short enough for everyone but not too short to be inconvenient for tall people.

Re:Transition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366663)

Why not just have poles every metre? people can hold onto the poles, but they're not continuous, so you could move between lanes.

Re:Transition (3, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366700)

The problem would be where would the poles *go* when you reached the end of the strip. If they just went around like on a conveyor belt, someone would get themselves pinned between the pole and the floor either out of malice (if it didn't slice through the person, the belt would jam or break) or sheer stupidity.

If the belt ran around a deeper area, I could see an "internal" belt, carefully timed and placed so that the poles sank down at the end of the track, where the internal belt just held the poles and the external one had holes for the poles to stick through.

So many holes and poles... Freud would be shocked.

Re:Transition (4, Insightful)

The Only Druid (587299) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366689)

I dont know; in my personal experience with these devices (in their slower, American and Australian forms), I've rarely seen people hold the railing. Most often, they're holding their bags, walking, or reading, etc.

Obviously, I'm not suggesting no one uses the railing. But the people who need the railing (i.e. the elderly, the poorly balanced) might not be well advised to use such a device as this.

Alternately: put hanging handles a la the subway system. They'd be adjustable (i.e. you could raise/lower them) with one hand, and then you'd avoid the need for a railing.

Re:Transition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366690)

Ok, but what happens when you reach the end?

Re:Transition (4, Informative)

tfischer (64688) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366708)

>>It seems to me the best solution to this is to have "lanes" in the walkway.

In fact, this is exactly what they have in Paris. The high-speed travelator was put in between two other standard moving walkways. One of the standard walkways goes in the opposite direction, and the other lets you move along at 3km/h. So pedestrians do have a choice between the 9km/h lane, the 3km/h lane, or the "old fashioned" 0km/h walkway.

The only thing I don't like about the highspeed walkway is the fact that it is only running during the workday, Mon-Fri. There were enough people who were falling on it that they had to employ people to stand at both ends of the thing to make sure that users don't hurt themselves...

tom

Re:Transition (2, Informative)

putaro (235078) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366728)

Not quite. The idea would be to have the lanes running at different speed alongside each other (without handrails in between and no gaps) and be able to SWITCH lanes to speed up. This was the system that Heinlein laid out in The Roads Must Roll. The system for accelerating used looks like a clever solution, though. I'm not sure how practical it would be to switch lanes in reality.

Re:Transition (2, Funny)

xA40D (180522) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366719)

The far left lane would move at the maximum speed, whereas successive lanes to the right would be decelerated.

No, a better way would the to have the lanes getting faster as you move right. Just as driving on the left is superior, more logical, etc., etc.

Re:Transition (1)

marcus-e (99580) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366731)

Am I the only one thinking of the old 8-bit game Shockway Rider [ysrnry.co.uk] right now?

Re:Transition (3, Interesting)

lfourrier (209630) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366751)

Already done, already in Paris, during 1900 universal exposition: a two lanes, two speeds walkway
http://gallica.bnf.fr/scripts/Consultatio nTout.exe ?O=03300029&E=50

Yeah. (5, Funny)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366598)

Am I the only one who would be embarrassed to use this simply by virtue of its name?

"How are you getting there?"
"Oh, I'm taking the travelator."
"...."

Coming Autumn 2003 (5, Funny)

dewie (685736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366623)

He's been sent back through time on a mission: to move between different locations!

Arnold Schwarzenegger is... "The Travelator".

Re:Coming Autumn 2003 (1)

DiggiLooDiggiLey (683911) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366676)

JA, I have been designated to trAHvelate you!
[afterwards]:
You've been trAHvelated. I'll be back.

Could be worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366631)

Tavelator is better than "The moving faster than walking speed while walking at normal speed device" (name brought to you by Leonard da Quirm)

Re:Yeah. (1)

radish (98371) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366668)

I thought they were always called that? That's what I've always called them anyway (the regular speed ones that is).

Very Neat (5, Funny)

squaretorus (459130) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366599)

I read this this morning on the BBC and immediately booked a weekend in Paris for myself and my beloved - hey its summer, the flights were under 200 sterling return and I cant wait to see her fall on her arse as we get on this thing!

I'm just hoping they dont stop you taking skateboards onto this thing!

Re:Very Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366648)

£200 return to Paris? If you're flying from the U.K (Which admitedly, you may not be, by then why quote in £?) try EasyJet, or just take the Eurostar. It'll cost less.

Re:Very Neat (1)

radish (98371) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366658)

Crikey - £200? Seems a bit steep. I rarely pay more than £50pp return for anywhere in europe, usually less.

Motorway speeds? (1, Redundant)

gclef (96311) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366600)

It's unlikely you'll ever reach motoway speeds: wind resistance against a moving person at that speed will cause lots of problems (translation: you'll be on your butt somewhere around 40km/h). Also, it should be noted that the "bus speed" they list in the article is 9km/h. That's not exactly speedy by open road standards, but is probably pretty fast by congested downtown standards.

Re:Motorway speeds? (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366661)

Wind resistance? Simple solution, just make sure everyone lies down...

Baz

Re:Motorway speeds? (1, Redundant)

thasmudyan (460603) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366725)

About wind resistance: you could construct a tube around the travelator and then blow wind through it at the speed of the trottoir. Yeah, that might work.

But think about the possibilities for gruesome injuries! Naa, this whole travelator concept only goes so far...

I think I'll wait for my magnetic/antigrav boots, undulating floors, or at least small transportation capsules that go around through pipes. Maybe we should just redesign cities to accomodate more people more elegantly, that would be a start!

Cool (2, Funny)

spoonist (32012) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366603)

What an accomplishment!

Did they smash a bottle of cheap Champagne [slashdot.org] over it to dedicate it?

Mmm.. lawsuits.. (5, Funny)

walmass (67905) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366604)

US personal injury lawyers are already lobbying to bring this to the USA.

GNAA has failed... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366607)

to achieve the 1st post.
But never phear, GNAA is alive!

Check out official GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) irc channel #GNAA on EFNET!

for EFNET servers, connect to:
irc.secsup.org

GNAA president

The problem is for distances _under_ 1 km ?! (3, Interesting)

itsme1234 (199680) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366611)

----
"The real problem nowadays is how to move crowds; they can travel fast over long distances with the TGV (high-speed train) or airplanes, but not over short distances (under 1km)," he says.
---

How about good ol' walking ?!

Re:The problem is for distances _under_ 1 km ?! (1)

trikberg (621893) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366665)

How about good ol' walking ?!

The operative word was "fast". Walking speed is 5-6 km/h tops. In a crowded area such as a train station carrying luggage probably closer to 3-4 km/h. The current high speed travelators go at 9, and you can walk on them for a total of something like 12-15 km/h, a significant increase.

Re:The problem is for distances _under_ 1 km ?! (1)

itsme1234 (199680) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366701)

Actually: "Top speed: 11 km/h". How about a bigger tunnel/sidewalk ?

Re:The problem is for distances _under_ 1 km ?! (3, Funny)

Frogking (126462) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366704)

How about good ol' walking ?!

Well, have you ever been in a public space with a large group of people? As simple as the concept is, many people can't seem to understand that there is a reason people go to airports, etc... they are trying to get somewhere! However, throw in a few shutter-bugs taking pictures of everything, or social butterflies that have to stop and talk to every third person they see, and you've got one large fleshy traffic jam. If I could bypass all of the slow, stupid and otherwise unmotivated people by stepping onto a rolling sidewalk, I'm there! At least there would be a minimum speed. Of course, I'd be one of the people still trying to speed-walk while on the thing, but even when stuck behind someone I'd still be moving.

Of course, I can see this invention starting a whole new type of road rage... perhaps I should go to France and try it out before they make laws against bumping someone out of the way "by accident."

Re:The problem is for distances _under_ 1 km ?! (2, Funny)

hplasm (576983) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366763)

How about a giant catapult? *ping!*

thud.

Motorway speeds? (1)

snipingkills (250057) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366617)

Where does it mention motorway speeds? It mentions that the second stage moves up to 9km/h and that it will probably be used mostly for distances of less than 1km.

Strip running (4, Funny)

F4Codec (619560) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366621)

So when can we see the first (Asimov) strip runners.

Say, whats the bandwidth of one of these if you can stack boxes of DVD-RW on one end and take them off the other.

Julian.

Re:Strip running (1)

itsme1234 (199680) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366692)

So ... let's see: you can fit 100 DVDs (that's 470 G, maybe more double sided) inside a

0.12 m x 0.12 m x 0.15 m space.
Let's say your strip is 4m wide and the height for the pile of DVDs is 3 m.
We have (3.055m/s=11 km/h):

(3.055*4*3*470)/(0.12*0.12*0.15) Gbyte/s

7.98 * 10^6 Gbyte / s !!!

Re:Strip running (1)

itsme1234 (199680) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366711)

Oh, and sorry - I don't know how many LOC or WV bugs is this.

Damnable Life! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366625)

This sounds even better than my idea of having wheels for feet.

Curses!

Will it be like... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366626)

... in Futurama - where if they malfunction or you don't know how to get off them properly - you get spatted against the nearest wall???

Pfft... tourist.

A Segway for this sidewalk?... (2, Funny)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366629)

And what about moving WiFi hotspots?

Re:A Segway for this sidewalk?... (1)

ttj (580277) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366762)

And what about moving WiFi hotspots?

That actually happened a while ago with the "war car" [slashdot.org] .

Timeline (4, Funny)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366633)

Today: The introduction of the travelator eliminates the need for walking.

10 years: Our legs become strange, archaic appendages that surgeons will handily remove for a small fee.

100 years: Our brains float around in little hovering domes.

I want a cobalt blue dome.

This travelator is a lot of fun (5, Informative)

James Durie (1426) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366638)

I went Paris for the weekend in March and we went through Montparnasse one day and went on this travelator.

They have guys watching to stop certain people getting on, I have heard they have had to pay out for injuries to some people.

First it accelerates you to 9kph then it is exactly like a normal travelator only much faster.

I loved it.

The only problems are the acceleration and deceleration phases. It's very bumpy. You have to hold on to the rail. If they can fix those aspects these things will start appearing in airports everywhere.

Many points of failure? (5, Interesting)

Savant (85811) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366639)

It would seem to me that the sheer number of moving parts in a kilometre or so of walkway must make the chances of frequent failures pretty high compared to other public transport methods. How fault-tolerant is it? Any French Slashdotters able to answer?

Would be interesting to see some schematics.

Re:Many points of failure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366703)

Admit to being French?!!!

On Slashdot?!!!

So offtopic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366647)

http://static.hugi.is/video/fyndin/dctf-1.wmv

Holy crap.

nightfall? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366651)

Wasn't it soemthing similar in Clarke's Nightfall? Something about similar sidewalks that moved at different speeds in different sections...

37th Post! (-1, Offtopic)

hackrobat (467625) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366653)

Gotcha.

it's mechanical.. (5, Interesting)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366655)

it's a poor solution..
better would be organic, something like stomach cillia, where the floor doesn't move the length of the journey, but little tiny bits from in place do- not my idea, something I read once.

the individual elements take turns dropping, moving a tiny bit, pushing up again, and moving you a tiny bit... done repeatedly= ya move down the floor- which doesn't move.

less to break down, and spilled drinks and food (as long as they aren't too hot) are actually welcome...

Re:it's mechanical.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366771)

better would be organic, something like stomach cillia, where the floor doesn't move the length of the journey, but little tiny bits from in place do- not my idea, something I read once.

the individual elements take turns dropping, moving a tiny bit, pushing up again, and moving you a tiny bit... done repeatedly= ya move down the floor- which doesn't move.

We have that. It's called the sea. What you just described is known, in areas where the sea is generally warm enough, as "surfing".

I have been to the future... (2, Interesting)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366670)

...And it's located in the tunnels beneath the Geneve airport. They've got a system like this there, but I'm not sure they run it at the same speed. At least I didn't think it was moving that fast when I used it. Quite fun, atually.
I also use a similar thing in a local supermarket. All you'd have to do is crank up the speed on it to equal the Paris one, but then again, it's slighly elevated and I don't think people like being catapulted from the 2nd floor...

Is this a reinvention of the wheel (Kakakaka! Transportation!) or did I miss something? Prolly the latter, so please releive me of my blissful ignorance.

The sound of an American falling... (0)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366671)

I can see this coming to America and watching all the overweight people fail their DEX checks, run off to lawyers, and sue it into the ground, ruining it for the rest of us. If you can't do the run/hop to get on, or the hop/run to get off, then go for a walk, you obviously need one.

Extending the hand rails a ways past the moving mat on either end makes the transitions VERY easy to do even for a total clutz. From the pic I can't tell if they knew that or not.

People will adjust. (4, Insightful)

FTL (112112) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366673)

I was at Toronto International airport last year and saw an Ethiopian woman and young child at the top of an escalator. They were clearly having problems. I took the hand of the child and helped her take "the big step". Presumably her first. She had no problems. Then I realised that I was helping the wrong person. The mother was now stranded at the top wondering what to do.

Teavelators, escalators, revolving doors, they seem natural and intuitive to those who are used to them.

Re:People will adjust. (1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366694)

saw an Ethiopian woman and young child at the top of an escalator. They were clearly having problems.

If you thought they had problems there, you should have seen them at the food court!!!

Expressways (4, Interesting)

ariehk (215517) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366679)

As an idea, these expressways are a fairly good way of transporting humans. They travel at constant speed, so there should be no obvious difference to the traveller, no matter what the speed is. Of course, in reailty we'd experience air resistence; try sticking your head out of the window on a car going at 70mph. but there may be some way of reducing this in enclosed tunnels, like blowing air at the same velocity as the floor is moving.

In Asimov's vision (I think), the different-speed strips were parallel to each other, not serial like this French version. This meant that you's step to the side to go onto a faster strip, and keep going until you hit the fastest one, which could be several hundred miles an hour. As the differential in speed between the strip you are on and those near is never more than about 1mph, you won't do yourself any serious damage by falling over. see diagram:

---->---7mph->--
---->---8mph->--
---->---9mph->--
etc.

This structure makes them easier to 'network'. The only danger, I suppose, is if a strip breaks then the speed-differential between it and then next one could be massive.

I suppose any serious implementation would use some kind of semiconductor thang to decrease friction, and on a wide scale could be very energy efficient. These things are probably more useful to society than a Segway, but you'd have to design a city around them from the ground up, so I doubt they'll change the way we live just yet.

Re:Expressways (1, Interesting)

F4Codec (619560) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366699)

I think the higher speed ones in Asimovs' vision had seats too, for the long distance commute.

Trouble is, I can't see how you get a handrail into these multiple strip senarios, so your chance of causing a pile up increases dramatically.

Re:Expressways (4, Funny)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366744)

---->---7mph->--
---->---8mph->--
---->---9mph->--


That won't work. You'll just get some stupid old lady in the fast lane, walking backwards at 2mph with her blinker on.

~Philly

Not that hot (3, Insightful)

onthefenceman (640213) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366683)

When I first read "already as fast as a bus" I envisioned this thing cranking along at 30mph, people hanging on for dear life with the wind blowing their hair back. 9 km/h is a decent jogging pace, so maybe they are referring to the average speed of a bus in Paris. I am unimpressed.

Besides, in the first month they are going to have at least one old lady fall on the exit rollers with her gigantic suitcase and 40 other people will be force-fed into the melee to create a giant writhing heap.

All it will take is one idiot and his lawyer to mess it up for everyone else.

ObFrance joke... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366687)

Does it have an "emergency reverse" button, in case of invasion?

And the earth moved beneath us (2, Informative)

supersam (466783) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366691)

This is a neat thing. I guess they're using it or have at least tried it out at a few other places around the world.

I had read in a newspaper report some months back that authorities in Mumbai, India were planning to install this kind of 'travelator' to link two of the most important railway stations in Mumbai, Churchgate and CST. But I don't remember seeing any action on it since then.

Btw, I would like to advise the travelator operators in Paris to hand out barf bags to people travelling on these contraptions. *heh*

Re:And the earth moved beneath us (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366715)

had read in a newspaper report some months back that authorities in Mumbai, India were planning to install this kind of 'travelator' to link two of the most important railway stations in Mumbai, Churchgate and CST.

How will the Indian version work? Will there be mannequins permanently mounted to the moving surface for the passengers to hang on? [8k.com]

travelator for the brain (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366696)

Perhaps we should invent something that speeds up mentally lazy peoples brains, before we humour the physically lazy ones.

Meet George Jetson (2, Funny)

n1nj4k3n (685377) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366697)

Wow! After I say goodbye to the wife Jane, my boy Elroy, daughter Jane, and pat Astro on the head, I can hop on one of these babies and start another productive day at Spacely Sprockets. Ain't the future grand?

Re:Meet George Jetson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366761)

After I say goodbye to the wife Jane, ... , daughter Jane

I think you've been watching the Kentucky version of the Jetsons. :-)

Bah! They've done it before. (4, Informative)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366702)

It's not really a big innovations. The French did it 103 years ago, during the 1900 exhibiton. A rolling sidewalk [gallica.bnf.fr] was running along the exhibition and was whisking visitors at about 8 km/h. It was composed of two side-by-side rolling sidewalks [gallica.bnf.fr] one going at half the speed as the other.

If you ask me, this was a much better design than the neck-breaking jallopy installed in Montparnasse Station...

They also experimented some 30 years ago with one that was shaped like an integral sign; instead of a rubber plate, there were solid plates which slide sideways at the end, effectively yielding a slower speed but without the jarring hells-on-wheels acceleration.

I tried it (3, Informative)

BigJim.fr (40893) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366705)

I live in Paris and tried it a while ago. It works like a charm. The acceleration and deceleration are surprisingly smooth provided you keep your feets on the ground. Then it is exactly like a normal conveyor mat. I like it and I see no drawbacks.

Yeah but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366721)

Will they let me ride my Segway on it?

why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366722)

why can't people just be happy where they are?

I can hear it now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366730)

"Jane! Arrêtez cette chose folle! Je me rends!"

OK (1)

jabbadabbadoo (599681) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366736)

"But new users also appear every day, and a small proportion promptly fall and hurt themselves. "

Ehem. This excludes the possibility of highway-speed travelators, now doesn't it?

I've seen it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366739)

It's not _that_ fast, folks.

The Montparnasse sidewalk was corded off when I visited it a few weeks ago.

For we 'merkins who don't grok the metric system, it's going at about running speed. This won't blow your hair back or anything.

-cmiller

But tell me Mr Anderson..... (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 11 years ago | (#6366740)

what good is a trottoir roulant rapide.....if you are unable to talk...err walk.

Slidewalks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6366750)

An old sfnal name for these things was "slidewalks". Better name than travelator.

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