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L.A. Artist Contemplates Future Traffic Flow, With Hot Wheels

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the finally-a-reason-to-visit-los-angeles dept.

Transportation 118

John3 writes "American artist Chris Burden is finishing up his latest work titled Metropolis II for display this fall in Los Angeles. There's a fascinating five minute documentary on YouTube about his miniature city and the traffic that flows through it. He comments 'The idea that a car runs free, those days are about to close.' Whether you agree or disagree, he certainly has built one of the coolest Hot Wheels layouts I've ever seen."

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It's missing something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37011228)

Me in a giant Big Wheels running over all the Hot Wheels! Muahahaha!

This is bad. As if downing the 405 wasn't enough. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37011248)

I've lived around southern California my entire life, and I blame the State and property owners. The capacity of the roads and highways is perfect example of mis-management, not in the lack of expansion but giving preference for overcrowding the population in a floorplan that can't sustain itself if ever California was a lone country. And worse, if you look at that same infrastructure of civilians then you'll comprehend it is the movement of intoxicative excess that has nothing to do with productivity: it's all fast-food assembly-lines, lustful and petty entertainment, sporting equipment, and blanda automotive arts, while the worse is the parasitic aspect of society shared by attornies and insurance salesmen and over-priced doctors looking to assure their wage to retain theirselves as a higher-class member of society not much distinguished from a typical drug-dealer.

Overcrowding so-many high-capacity living quarters into an area without adequate self-sustaining farmland is a perfect example how the State is intentionally gauging political benefits and legislative bribery to unbalance the domain into an over-regulated nightmare. Wherever you see the unbalance caused, it is a continuum of imminent domain where the State allows one privateer to have dictation over how they assert is the better use of another's property; in other words, the decay of all the surrounding civil terrain is the State dis-respecting property.

Removing the benefits would entirely reduce the population back to Californian-Americans. As for me, I'm moving to the North-West Front.

Re:This is bad. As if downing the 405 wasn't enoug (3, Insightful)

Optic7 (688717) | about 3 years ago | (#37011316)

Ted Kazinski, is that you? I didn't think you had internet access! What you say makes complete and utter sense. I wish I could say it so clearly. Big fan of your writing!

Re:This is bad. As if downing the 405 wasn't enoug (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 years ago | (#37011396)

Better the internet than the postal system.

Re:This is bad. As if downing the 405 wasn't enoug (4, Insightful)

canadian_right (410687) | about 3 years ago | (#37011684)

The problem is a lack of rapid transit. Cars alone cannot deal with the traffic of a large, dense city.

But of course, American's would never do something as sensible as vote to build rapid, socialist, transit, when highly subsidised roads, gas, etc.. are so free market.

Re:This is bad. As if downing the 405 wasn't enoug (0)

jdpars (1480913) | about 3 years ago | (#37011842)

Nor would we ever use an apostrophe to pluralize "Americans." Well, many would, but I don't.

Re:This is bad. As if downing the 405 wasn't enoug (2)

rjch (544288) | about 3 years ago | (#37012592)

The problem is a lack of rapid transit. Cars alone cannot deal with the traffic of a large, dense city.

But of course, American's would never do something as sensible as vote to build rapid, socialist, transit, when highly subsidised roads, gas, etc.. are so free market.

I was over in California in April/May this year for a holiday and it amazed me just how fragmented and confusing the public transportation was. San Francisco was okay (even if BART was ear-splittingly loud) but LA was atrocious. Different fare structures for just about everything, seemingly no attempt whatsoever to match bus and "train" services and as often as not, two or three separate operators at the edge of coverage zones.

I still think Melbourne's public transport system isn't that great - it's fairly expensive and anywhere between 10-20% of services run late or get cancelled. But for a city that's about three times the size of Melbourne, Los Angeles' public transportation is a bad joke.

Re:This is bad. As if downing the 405 wasn't enoug (1)

theshibboleth (968645) | about 3 years ago | (#37012912)

I'm from LA, and I can say that the fragmentation problem is major, but there's also a socio-economic problem in that most middle class people in LA (my family included) are unwilling to use mass transit, viewing it as low-class or not allowing for enough personal freedom. This is the attitude of my parents and unfortunately I have inherited it. The couple of times I have taken the bus have been rather awful--it's easy to get confused as to where you're going, you can't just turn around and get back on track, and truthfully the condition of the buses is not good. What's more, the bus routes simply do not go to the places they need to, and certainly not at the speed they should. All that said, I don't think that my own distaste for mass transit is insurmountable: when I visited Paris I enjoyed using the Métro, and to a lesser extent in New York. LA does have major earthquakes, thus making the prospect of building a full-fledged subway more difficult than it would be on an East-Coast city. That said, it seems to me that building an above-ground mass transit system rather than adding lanes to existing freeways would be the best solution--in fact, why not close down one freeway lane in each direction, elevate it, and put in rail? To some extent this has already been done, but again not in a way that services the whole city. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been discussing a subway expansion, yet that is only in planning stages and has been for years. It mostly runs into opposition from land-owning no in my backyard types. Anyway this city's either farked or headed to a glorious traffic-free future.

Re:This is bad. As if downing the 405 wasn't enoug (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 3 years ago | (#37013544)

There's nothing that says mass transit needs to be socialized... but non-socialized mass transit has pretty much failed or is failing.

People want privacy and freedom. They don't want to be driven to the same spot as everyone else and dropped off in some cattle call.

The last time I rode on the "L" in Chicago they had hard plastic seats because it's too much of a pain to clean piss and paint off nicer seats. I decided at that point that I'd never ride the train again.

Re:This is bad. As if downing the 405 wasn't enoug (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 3 years ago | (#37014146)

There's nothing that says mass transit needs to be socialized... but non-socialized mass transit has pretty much failed or is failing.

I think Tokyo has private railway lines and services. I've not been, but I've read that this is inconvenient for some people -- there isn't sufficient integration.

Many towns in England have privately run buses -- the local government sets the routes and service frequency, but the company has some influence on the fares. I don't think anyone except the shareholders of the transport companies think this is a good idea.

Here in London, the government company (TfL) decide on the route, frequency, fares and vehicles, and pay one of the transport companies to run the service. If you're going to privatise transport this is the correct way to do it -- otherwise you are effectively granting a monopoly.

People want privacy and freedom. They don't want to be driven to the same spot as everyone else and dropped off in some cattle call.

Ironic, then, that they choose instead to pay to drive in the same direction to almost the same places on congested roads.

The last time I rode on the "L" in Chicago they had hard plastic seats because it's too much of a pain to clean piss and paint off nicer seats.

Most towns and cities in Europe have cloth (or fake leather) -covered, foam filled seats on their public transport. Perhaps if it wasn't just poor people using Chicago's trains the city might put more effort into maintaining the system.

Some cities OK, but other cities and intercity bad (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | about 3 years ago | (#37015248)

Some cities do have fairly effective local mass transit systems. For instance, visiting Boston and Chicago provided a breath of fresh air compared to the mediocre bus system in my hometown. (I've heard good things about the NYC subway system, but I've never been to the Big Apple for any length of time.)

By the way, one characteristic of a local mass transit system would be how well it supports going to/from the suburbs.

However, the local network in some cities is a problem, and the US intercity rail system ... enough said.

Blame the greenies (1, Insightful)

Jayson (2343) | about 3 years ago | (#37011448)

It has the environmentalists' dream for years now for high-density living with mostly public transportation. What they call sprawl and fight tooth and nail against is what most of us call personal space, a yard for children, and a nice house. They would rather cram everybody in the smallest area possible and hope we all convert to riding buses because the traffic congestion is so bad. Urban planning classes pump out more and more people with this same view every year, so I can only imagine it getting worse.

Re:Blame the greenies (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 years ago | (#37011612)

It'd be hard to claim that L.A.'s highway system is the result of "greenies"; it's just about the most generous possible highway system you could imagine. In L.A., unlike in most cities, if I miss my freeway exit, I take the next freeway, which comes up in 5-15 miles, instead of bothering to figure out how to turn around. Oh, and if I miss that, I take the freeway after that. Because in L.A., there are so many freeways that they're like arterial streets in other cities.

I'm not sure how many more freeways L.A. could put in, even if its ideology was 100% pro-sprawl (which it sort of is). The 10 is 8-10 lanes, the 210 is 8 lanes. Are you going to bulldoze another 10-lane freeway in the mere 5-10-mile strip between the two?

Re:Blame the greenies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37011948)

The leftist politicians in the city and county refuse to take on the left leaning rich on the west side so there will never be a rail along the busiest freeway in the US, the 405. They also refuse to take on the left leaning rich in South Pasadena to complete the 710. Instead, they rape the poor by cutting right through low class areas with the 105 and 710.

Anyways, a major reason for congestion in LA is the ports. They're also a major reason why so many freeways are necessary. The worst part is that because of real estate costs, the warehousing for the ports is now all in the Inland Empire and High Desert.

There is rail here, but it is hard to make it like they did in Denver, where the suburbs lead into the job centers. There are very few job centers in LA and very few dedicated suburbs. Most everything is mixed in with everything else. You have many Fortune 500 companies with offices in a dozen suburbs rather than massive offices in downtown LA, downtown Long Beach, etc. Aerospace is one of the major employers in the area and they're located in El Segundo, the South Bay, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Irvine, Cypress, Long Beach, Downey, Garden Grove, La Palma, Santa Ana, Los Alamitos, etc. How do you setup public transportation to fit that?

a badly-implemented idea doesn't make the idea bad (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | about 3 years ago | (#37011620)

I don't think you can prove the idea bad because of bad (terrible) implementation.

Allowing density to increase without allowing space for increased transit is a recipe for disaster - and it's what's happened here in Seattle. Once all available space is already built on, the acquisition costs to expand highways or light rail, or anything - skyrocket to the point of a political inability to get anything funded.

You have to put the big rocks in first [dailyblogtips.com] .

Re:a badly-implemented idea doesn't make the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37012316)

And you can't even pull a Madrid and dig tunnels, because there's a whole other city underneath...

Re:a badly-implemented idea doesn't make the idea (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | about 3 years ago | (#37012340)

Depends on where you dig and how deep. They're actually planning on digging a deep-bore tunnel underneath downtown Seattle, and have already begun digging tunnels in other parts of the city. The deep bore one downtown may be cancelled, but only due to stupid city leaders and stupid citizens. The 'underground' city in Seattle isn't that deep, but it is a pretty cool tour (especially the very humorous (and true!) history lecture at the start of the tour).

Re:Blame the greenies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37012120)

If the woo-woo eco-loonies can make it where one can raise their kids safely in a dense city, then yay for public transportation. However, US cities are no place to raise kids if you want them to have a future other than target practice by a gang, or have a life in prison.

No, suburban areas isn't perfect, but there is space for kids to play ball without running into some hobo who would be more than happy to slit the kids's throat for the lunch money carried, or for a key to burglarize the parent's house. It also is no question that suburban schools, even public ones are far better in quality than urban schools, so parents who can afford to GTFO from city cores do so, for sake of their kid's future.

Until urban planners realize this and do something about crime other than tossing potheads in for longer sentences, people will be moving out of cities because they value their safety and their family's.

Re:Blame the greenies (3, Interesting)

OctaviusIII (969957) | about 3 years ago | (#37012432)

Actually, the concerns you raise are serious for not just urban planners but urban politicians. The twenty-somethings of this generation are moving to the cities and want to stay there in a way their parents didn't, and city leaders are desperate to have them stay. The District of Columbia, for example, is doing its damndest to improve its schools, as it's already done a lot to improve the crime situation. One of the political barriers is the memory that people who came of age in the 70s and 80s have of cities: rotten, crime-ridden slums aching under decay. Those people generally left the city for precisely the reasons you give and would rather not see tax money go to what they remember as a black hole of waste, corruption, blight and crime.

American cities have come a long way in the last decade and will keep moving back towards the good this coming decade. Many are growing again, and almost all are growing in their downtown cores. Even downtown Detroit has a housing shortage. Anyway, I think you'd be surprised how fantastic some cities are and just how far they've come. They're not as bad as you think.

The problem is the Government & Immigration. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37013118)

Just to remind all of you, in coalescence with the OP, the increase in population is from impation 3rd-world immigrants increasing their family-sizes for the State benefits of Assisted Living through HUD a& Human Resources. Notice how Americans don't have more than 3 children on average, and consider the fact that the schools are full of children of the 3rd-world immigrants that are nowhere near becoming gentele until maybe the 2nd or 3rd generation of them actually proves to be Americanized.

Meanwhile, Mexicans and Blacks talk about how great their homeland and such like they are only visitting America on a long vacation. Christians say they aren't of this world either, but at-least they aren't strip-mining the land like the Chinese to import more Chinese lifestyle. And the native Indians enjoy the dryest of Reservations with the lowest lifespan and highest death-rate and highest poverty-level but don't complain because they truly are in another foreign country known as America whereas everyone else is in the United States.

Re:The problem is the Government & Immigration (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#37014302)

Who's buying all that shit from China? Oh yeah, the Christians. And everyone else. Guess who's strip-mining by proxy?

Re:Blame the greenies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37012556)

Oddly enough, there's an easy way to make urban areas safer. Just increase gas prices and wait. What will happen is that the values of properties nearby where the jobs are will start to increase. Even if these areas are traditionally lower income, higher crime areas, they'll start to become gentrified. And as the lower income groups are priced out of living in these areas, the crime rate will go down. Thankfully, we don't even have to do anything deliberately since gas prices will increase naturally as we start running out of oil and Goldman figures out new ways to skim off the top.

This kind of thing happened in the city where I live. I'm in one of the US's most famous cities, though not among the largest due to limited space (the city has been full for quite some time now.) And there's only one small part of the city where I don't feel safe and only a couple of other small parts where parents won't allow their children to go unsupervised. If the trend continues, it won't be long until those areas are safe too.

Incidentally, we've got good public schools too [wikipedia.org] . You're missing the true correlation with good schools. The good schools, both public and private, are where the wealthier people live. Currently, there's more money in the suburbs, but if that were to change, you'd see the urban schools become better than those in the suburbs. Richer people vote for bond measures to support schools. And richer parents are more involved with their children's education and have better educations themselves. Those are the most importan factors that determine how successful schools are, and they've got nothing to do with where a school is placed or how much space the school occupies.

Re:Blame the greenies (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#37013636)

If we all spread out, take over a bunch of space, and clear it for our use, then we will leave nothing else but residential areas. My personal vision of hell is neverending suburbia punctuated by refineries and strip malls... you know, kind of like in Snow Crash. And that is precisely what you are advocating.

Cities are more efficient places for people to live (if their food is not produced too far away) and we need people to live in them if we are going to have massive populations needed for modern society. The only way we don't need cities is if we're moving to a post-industrial society in which the poor are simply killed off when they are inconvenient. (Some say we're there now.)

We simply cannot sustain everyone having their own house and land. Especially if they're just going to put a lawn on it, or some other similar waste of space and water.

It's flawed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37011254)

It doesn't take into consideration the the construction companies and their ties (bribes) to Republican politicians - and of course with some Democrats.

But the deal is, unlike the Democrats who are cash and carry and will fuck us up the ass with our knowledge, the Republicans hide behind myths and lied. For example, the Republicans will lie and say that all we all need to do is work hard and we'll all get rich. Or, vote for them and they'll protect "family" values or "social values".

We're fucked all because of the Republicans. traffic? Plahease! It's all non-sense because the Republicans are out to help their Super Rich masters.

The Republicans are whores. The Republicans are liars. The Republicans use religion to control the masses. The Republicans will fuck us all! The Republicans caused ALL of our problems! Cant's you see that?!?

The Republicans are evil! THEY are the anti-Christ! Who else could have convinced Christians to vote for them!!

Help me all! Protest! Take over discussions! Take over the media! Take over phone lines!! Tell the World who sold us out with false promises and lies!! The Republicans did!!

They lie to us all and yet protect their masters!!

Bill Gates is a Republican!

All of F/OSSes enemies are Republican!!

Fight!

Revolt!

We are all doomed by The Republican liars!!

Re:It's flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37011712)

If the Republicans will keep dipshits like you off the Internet I'll vote for them.

"About to close"? (2)

drobety (2429764) | about 3 years ago | (#37011268)

'The idea that a car runs free, those days are about to close.'

"About to close"? Laugh at mental picture of hordes of people trapped in long rush hours jams on a at least twice a day basis for years feeling like their cars has been running free all that time.

Re:"About to close"? (1)

amanicdroid (1822516) | about 3 years ago | (#37011478)

'The idea that a car runs free, those days are about to close.'

Does anyone have a clue what the hell he means by this quote?

Re:"About to close"? (2)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 3 years ago | (#37011500)

I imagine it has something to do with this design involving cars on set tracks, rather than free-to-navigate roads.

Re:"About to close"? (0)

iamhassi (659463) | about 3 years ago | (#37011538)

'The idea that a car runs free, those days are about to close.'

Does anyone have a clue what the hell he means by this quote?

Guessing he means the days of us manually driving our cars is almost over, that they'll be self-driving like the google car that crashed the other day [slashdot.org]

Re:"About to close"? (1)

amanicdroid (1822516) | about 3 years ago | (#37011680)

But we'll still tell the car where to go, so we'll still be free in that respect?

Re:"About to close"? (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 3 years ago | (#37011940)

As long as the destination you tell it is on it's list of destinations. Meaning, a parking garage at a highrise apartment building along a rapid transit corridor, the valet drop-off point for a gated estate, one of the approved shopping malls, etc.

People like me who live 'out in the wild' as far as most GPS Navigation Maps in cars are concerned will just have to wing it somehow.

Re:"About to close"? (2)

Ironchew (1069966) | about 3 years ago | (#37011694)

google car that crashed the other day

A person was driving that when it crashed. No robot apocalypse here, move along.

Re:"About to close"? (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | about 3 years ago | (#37011650)

He means that the days of free-range cars are going to end due to factory-farmed cars being so much cheaper.

*sad panda*

Re:"About to close"? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 3 years ago | (#37011740)

>> 'The idea that a car runs free, those days are about to close.'
> Does anyone have a clue what the hell he means by this quote?

In means in about a ~100 years, a human won't have the freedom to drive their car -- they will delegate the safety of driving and managing traffic density to an automated vehicle. You will put in their destination and dedicated roads that will ONLY accept computer-controlled cars will minimize the time needed to travel to your destination.

Think about it -- every car is P2P sharing road conditions, so that cars 30 mins away can start slowly down to minimize congestion.

We have the technology to make cars that are 100% computer controlled, they all travel at a set speed, minimize collisions. It is just at what price do we dream?

Today, we are on the cusp of these new ideas starting to become practical. You can look back at today and say "Yeah, that is when we starting thinking different about what the problem of traveling is really about -- maybe we should automate it to maximize efficiency"

Re:"About to close"? (2)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | about 3 years ago | (#37011852)

Great pipe dream.
What will really happen, however, is that any time someone in charge wants to be re-elected, or want funding for something he/she will make the roads run slower(though selective false info, etc) until people vote to fix it.

On top of that, someone will figure out how to get priority for their cars, and that will further mess things up. And that's on top of the kids who will mess things up *just* to cause problems.

Sorry, but any system that's computer controlled can be exploited, either by the users or "big brother".

well main roads can be auto drive but rural and ma (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 years ago | (#37011868)

well main roads can be auto drive but rural and maybe parking lot's can be manual.

The start of any kind of auto drive system will be auto drive road ways and it will take time to get rid of the old cars. Also trucks may need there own system as well.

Re:well main roads can be auto drive but rural and (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 years ago | (#37011936)

An example of this would be "smart roads," as people were calling them about 15 years ago, where you lay wires into the roads, which are basically virtual rails they can follow. This eases automation to an incredible degree vs. the high-end computer vision approach. For the foreseeable future of course it would only be built into expensive, high-volume roads that get resurfaced fairly frequently.

Re:well main roads can be auto drive but rural and (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 3 years ago | (#37012492)

Yup -- we have the technology -- just not the budget it seems.

Re:"About to close"? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 3 years ago | (#37012596)

In means in about a ~100 years, a human won't have the freedom to drive their car -- they will delegate the safety of driving and managing traffic density to an automated vehicle. You will put in their destination and dedicated roads that will ONLY accept computer-controlled cars will minimize the time needed to travel to your destination.

That sounds great, can't happen soon enough. I really enjoy driving, so as soon as the bulk of the ovine plodders are bimbling along automated guided motorways in only a little more of a trance than they are now, the better.

Then we enthusiasts can have the back roads to ourselves.

Re:"About to close"? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37011516)

But he has run hundreds of unpowered toy cars downhill along pre-set non-intersecting routes - don't you see how that makes him an expert on traffic flow?

Re:"About to close"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37011986)

He's also lived in LA for 40 years... that doesn't hurt...

Re:"About to close"? (3, Insightful)

tpstigers (1075021) | about 3 years ago | (#37012226)

And Mel Gibson is an expert on Christ because he made one crappy film about him.

Welcome to America, where it doesn't take actual knowledge to become an expert on any given subject.

All it takes is exposure.

Re:"About to close"? (0)

dcw3 (649211) | about 3 years ago | (#37012096)

"About to close"? Laugh at mental picture of hordes of people trapped in long rush hours jams on a at least twice a day basis for years feeling like their cars has been running free all that time.

I blame the Tea Party. Oh, wait, wrong article.

Annoying closeups (4, Informative)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about 3 years ago | (#37011298)

The video mostly consists of annoying closeups of tiny parts of the contraption.

For a few seconds of a full view on the quite impressive thing, jump to about 4:30 [youtube.com] .

Re:Annoying closeups (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 3 years ago | (#37011322)

That was a nice segment of video. I had the same complaint.

I don't think cars are going to stop running on the road. I think more likely we'll switch to electric cars. I know my car has 110,000 miles on it, and I want to see how far I go before I buy an electric car. Once I get an electric car, I'll buy some land, and a solar array so I'll pay next to nothing to drive.

Re:Annoying closeups (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 years ago | (#37011356)

It's all closeups because it's really just a commercial, a tease for the exhibit at the museum.

Switching power sources will help polution and eventually cost, but not congestion. There's a limit on the density achievable by big vehicles moving independently. That said, the US is not one of the more dense nations around and won't be anytime soon (our own population growth has now shifted to places like Texas that are less overcrowded) so I would be surprised if it isn't China that takes the lead in this. (High speed rail counts, sort of, but I'm really thinking of something more individualized, taking each party to their own destination).

Re:Annoying closeups (1)

pablodiazgutierrez (756813) | about 3 years ago | (#37011428)

I would like to see smart car technology really starting to get widespread. Cars that sync with each other based on destination and form self-driven chains to minimize gas consumption and space usage. That'd be not just really cool, also very practical. Of course, public transport is the obvious low tech solution that would make sense if so many Americans weren't ideologically against it...

Re:Annoying closeups (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 3 years ago | (#37011494)

/. has previously covered the idea of "road trains", which basically describe what you're talking about. They're basically just cars that enter and exit independently, but operate as a unit while they are on the highway, enabling them to move much more smoothly and with much less space between them. My bet is that we'll start seeing it before too much longer (10-15 years*), with HOV lanes (or some equivalent) becoming restricted for cars of this sort. Eventually more and more highway lanes will become restricted, until we reach the point that you can't enter the highway without having a car that operates in this fashion.

*By 10-15 years, I really mean, "sometime this century", of course.

Re:Annoying closeups (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37011502)

Here in upstate NY public transit is horrendous. Within an hour there are only two runs per day to a specific town. These don't jive with the shift changes of businesses in that town. Relying on public transportation here is like Relying on a piece of paper to stop a bullet. Never gonna happen!

Re:Annoying closeups (1)

Tacvek (948259) | about 3 years ago | (#37011440)

I think the artist's idea is that in the future we will have fully separate lanes on major roadways with cars driving automatically at really high velocities. With fully separate lanes an automatic car need only worry about not hitting the car ahead of them, since the car would be unable to leave the lane. So no worrying about the car in the next lane cutting you off, etc.

Obviously in practice the there would be the on and off ramps, and periodic opportunities to change lanes, but even so, the cars would basically be on rails, and it is far, far simpler to create a safe automatic driving system for vehicles on rails than free-driving vehicles.

Nevertheless I'm not at all sure if that is what the author meant, since that video was just terrible.

Re:Annoying closeups (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 3 years ago | (#37011802)

Would work fine in places with nice weather year round, but I'd like to see a computer controlled car handle the Canadian winter, before the plows have a chance to get out. Or when the snow is falling so hard, it doesn't matter that the plow just went by an hour ago.

Re:Annoying closeups (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37012444)

hear, hear! Winnipeg can barely keep it's roads serviceable let alone computer operated. I've lived here for 10 years and they're just started building a high speed bus corridor. They'd study this idea for 4 years, we'd change governments then study if for another few years and by that time there'd bbe something new to study.

Re:Annoying closeups (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 3 years ago | (#37012766)

I misunderstood him. I thought he was saying,"Gas is going to be expensive, so less cars will be on the road."

What he is actually saying is,"Cars will run on tracks?" Sure that is reasonable. I've been thinking that for a while. Make new cars able to run on a rail system or guide by wire, and make the HOV lane into this track. If you have a car that runs on it, that is cool, if not, stay in normal lanes. If widespread adoption of a track car catches on, make more lanes dedicated towards it

The problem I have is: "Look, its a herd of deer crossing the road."

Re:Annoying closeups (1)

hellop2 (1271166) | about 3 years ago | (#37015132)

Just have little snow plows/blowers every x cars.

Re:Annoying closeups (2)

wasme (35127) | about 3 years ago | (#37011938)

I could be wrong, but the impression I got from the video was that the artist wasn't trying to produce a [realistic] model of traffic flow (future, present, or past) at all. I think people get confused when he makes the comment about the cars' going 230 miles per hour and how that gives him 'hope for the future.' I don't think that's equivalent to saying 'this is (my idea of) the traffic flow of the future.'

A couple of quotes from the artist in the video I think show otherwise:

"the idea that the car runs free. Those days are about to close. So it's a little bit like making a model of New York city at the turn of the last century and your modeling horse buggies everywhere and then the automobile is about to arrive. So something else is about to arrive."

So he's making a 'model' of a car-centric city on the idea that soon that will be an anachronism.

"It wasn't about trying to make this a scale model of something. It was more to invoke the energy of a city."

In other words this is art for art's sake. Something I personally am often rather ambivilant about but I still think this is cool for the sake of the amount of time and effort put into this. It's a giant working mechanism. If he called himself a 'geek' instead of an 'artist' would the comments here have been less hostile?

And who doesn't remember playing with Hot Wheels and the like as a kid. Wouldn't you have loved to have a setup like this back then?

Re:Annoying closeups (1)

berashith (222128) | about 3 years ago | (#37011468)

too bad i got sick of the artsy focus and just quit watching before I read this comment. I may go back and try again, after the headache that it caused has left me.

This will teach me to never again read any links from the summary, just jump straight into the comments.

Thank you (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | about 3 years ago | (#37015330)

Thanks for this post. I'm one of those guys who always starts the video at the 50% point to skip the pointless preamble. If you want some great still shots, check here [slashdot.org] .

Re:Thank you (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | about 3 years ago | (#37015350)

Aw, fuck me. I fucked up the link. here [google.com]

Perspective in the video (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37011354)

It's hard to see the scale of the project since the video is presented as 'artsy'. The best view of it is at 4:32-4:52 where you see an overlook of the whole thing.

presented mostly "out of focus" (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 3 years ago | (#37011778)

..because they shot it with DSLR, I'm guessing, and didn't use a small enough aperture or even bother to carefully set the focus.

Re:presented mostly "out of focus" (1)

Relyx (52619) | about 3 years ago | (#37012812)

I'm afraid it was almost certainly deliberate - that's why so many people are flocking to full-frame sensor DSLRs for affordable video. It's a very popular look.

Perhaps even more interesting... (1)

moj0e (812361) | about 3 years ago | (#37011398)

Perhaps even more interesting is what this artist has done in the past.
Check out the wikipedia entry about his life:
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Chris_Burden [wikimedia.org]

It's almost surprising that they let him in the museum.

Re:Perhaps even more interesting... (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | about 3 years ago | (#37012426)

this guy is one sick person.

pointless DSLR camera porn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37011402)

...from the philip bloom school of being unable to tell a story.

there's about 4 lines of dialog and far from 'contemplating future traffic flow' its just something that could exist in a funpark aimed at children.

could somebody please do a nice color grade on Koyaanisqatsi and re release it so these wafer thin DOF idiots can get a clue that making something that looks like an advert and goes on for 5 minutes is a boring as f*ck?

Future? Bah (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | about 3 years ago | (#37011404)

If we built a closed-circuit freeway-style system we wouldn't be using cars now would we, we'd be using personal rapid transit because it'd be considerably cheaper to implement rather than retrofitting an entire country of cars.

Not in America. (0, Troll)

RyanFenton (230700) | about 3 years ago | (#37011454)

Since it doesn't serve the ultra-rich, the right wing won't support it, no matter how much it might possibly help everyone.

As for the left? They've long since given up doing anything big and useful, and have mostly turned into a reactionary set of frightened groups, who couldn't even begin to imagine doing something like Roosevelt did, losing all the progress they made, chunk by chunk, weeping all the while, but not actually doing anything meaningful enough to save the things they care about.

We're too busy giving our car industries sweetheart loans, while they outsource as much labor as they possibly can, to ever expect any meaningful change like this fantasy.

Sure, we make noise about raising fuel efficiency standards every couple of years, but that's more to convince voters that we can at least pretend to act in their interests.

We used to be able to do big things - but the only big things we do now, is wage useless wars against token enemies for bogus purposes. That, and protest taxes when they are the lowest they've been in living memory for most people.

But for science, for basic infrastructure, for human rights, lower-than-upper-class living standards, for helping the bulk of the American people - progress on those fronts is now dead for a generation, given away by the democratic party that used to stand for them.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Not in America. (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 3 years ago | (#37011582)

Since it doesn't serve the ultra-rich, the right wing won't support it, no matter how much it might possibly help everyone.

As for the left? They've long since given up doing anything big and useful....

Ryan Fenton

I know you're trolling, but after what happened this week would you really want to give the government control of our cars? I like the idea of being able to jump in my car and drive around regardless of whether or not Congress balances the next budget, don't you? Why would anyone want to give more control to the gov't after seeing how bad they just screwed up? Reminds me of a quote:
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it" -- George Santayana [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not in America. (1)

RyanFenton (230700) | about 3 years ago | (#37011754)

Why not? Back in the day, a government of the people managed to do a very good job creating the highway system, the internet, NASA, and overseeing the creation of modern science. Smart people CAN be used in the creation of such things - as long as "equal time" isn't always given to people with a direct interesting in sabotaging them at every step.

Government CAN work, and can do things otherwise impossible - if so many in power weren't so busy trying to hack it all apart at every opportunity.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Not in America. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#37012570)

If you go back and read the history of Johnson when he was creating his Great Society, some of it is positively inspiring. His basic ideology was:

* We should help the poor lift themselves out of poverty.
* We should find the best experts in the world to figure out how to do it. Be scientific about it.

It gives you a different idea of how things can be. It's not based on envy or even hurting the rich, it's about helping people. It's not surprising that people elected him, because most people will try to help each other out if we can.

Nowadays someone's idea of change is to tax corporate jets so we can keep paying entrenched interests. And yet if someone really did have a plan that seemed workable to do something great I think he/she would get a large following. But where is that person?

Re:Not in America. (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 3 years ago | (#37015268)

some of it is positively inspiring

Too bad it didn't work.

Re:Not in America. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#37015510)

Then how DO we help the poor?

Re:Not in America. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37011756)

Unless you rather enjoy off-roading, and/or do an atypically large amount of driving within the confines of giant private holdings, the government does effectively control your car on every timescale but the very near term.

Blacktop crumbles pretty quickly without upkeep, and pretty much only exists in most places because somebody eminent-domained their way through with state power and then paved with public money.

Assorted mark-of-the-beast fantasies of having vehicles directly controlled by the Master Computer in washington are obvious nonsense; but that doesn't change the fact that the 'freedom of the open road' is overwhelmingly a state construct, albeit one polite enough not to mention the fact very often(unlike that commie 'public transit' stuff)...

Re:Not in America. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37012548)

Hum, that reminds me of another quote about the "government of the people, by the people, for the people." Those representatives serve at your pleasure. We are the government, the ultimate source of all political power. And our representatives not doing what we need is nothing short of our fault.

Another thing: our government screws up so much mainly because a large section of Americans (of which I assume you are a part) and, consequently, their representatives do not trust it enough to do much of anything. Not trusting the government because it screws up frequently because you don't trust it is completely circular.

Re:Not in America. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37011988)

>Since it doesn't serve the ultra-rich, the right wing won't support it, no matter how much it might possibly help everyone.

It must be hard to be that stupid.

Re:Not in America. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37012320)

It must be blissful to be that naive.

Re:Not in America. (1)

Urkki (668283) | about 3 years ago | (#37012404)

Since it doesn't serve the ultra-rich, the right wing won't support it, no matter how much it might possibly help everyone.

Would it require massive public spending?
Would it increase private spending on cars?

If answer is yes to just one of these questions, who do you think will reap the profits?

Re:Not in America. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37012782)

Why would the "right-wing" support the ultra-rich if they're not ultra-rich themselves? It makes no sense.

I'm not American, but surely the right-wing (as you put it) merely wants to work, use the money to provide for themselves and live and let live.

Re:Not in America. (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 3 years ago | (#37012936)

But for science, for basic infrastructure, for human rights, lower-than-upper-class living standards, for helping the bulk of the American people - progress on those fronts is now dead for a generation, given away by the democratic party that used to stand for them.

Isn't the USA one of the countries that spend the most money in scientific research?
In any case, the difference in funding between what I've seen in the US and what I've seen in Europe is impressive.

Humans Weren't Meant to Live this Way (1)

Udigs (1072138) | about 3 years ago | (#37011456)

Seriously. However cool it may be, humans weren't meant to live this way... All packed on top of each other, so tightly that moving around one another is no longer possible to do with just a human brain... It's just badness, all the way down. In nature, overpopulation is naturally corrected for. Humans, ever so smart, are always finding ways to stick yet another finger in the proverbial dam. It's a beautiful piece of art in that it is totally, and utterly terrifying.

Re:Humans Weren't Meant to Live this Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37011634)

You're conflating "the way it was" with "the way it ought to be." Overpopulation still is naturally corrected for; we call it war.

Re:Humans Weren't Meant to Live this Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37012346)

Overpopulation still is naturally corrected for; we call it war.

War is not natural, it's man-made.

Re:Humans Weren't Meant to Live this Way (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 3 years ago | (#37013196)

Humans are natural, ergo anything they make is natural.

Unless you're arguing that humans aren't evolved from any other species, or humans were planted on Earth from another planet.

Re:Humans Weren't Meant to Live this Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37011808)

Seriously. However cool it may be, humans weren't meant to live this way...

I'm sorry? "Meant to"?

Whose decision is this? Yours? Or is it some religion's?

Overpopulation is always going to be naturally corrected for - even with humans. That's what increasing housing density does. That's what famines do. That's what urban sprawl does.

Re:Humans Weren't Meant to Live this Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37012390)

In nature, overpopulation is naturally corrected for.

In nature we live in freezing caves and eat roots and bugs on a barely subsistence diet while doing our best not to get eaten by a wolf or a tiger as we're shitting in a river.

I'm not sure about you, but I'm fine being unnatural.

Re:Humans Weren't Meant to Live this Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37012564)

As human's DO live this way - vis. Tokyo - it is arguable that therefore they WERE meant to ...

Re:Humans Weren't Meant to Live this Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37012818)

If americans really lived on top of each other you wouldn't have to commute very far would you.

in the future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37011460)

overpasses, overpasses everywhere!

I strip away the old debris... (1)

Braintrust (449843) | about 3 years ago | (#37011964)

...That hides a shining car!
A brilliant red Barchetta,
From a better vanished time.
I fire up the willing engine!
Responding with a roar!
Tires spitting gravel,
I commit my weekly crime!

Sing it with me now!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAvQSkK8Z8U [youtube.com]

This dude loves Rush. I love Rush.
It's all coming together.

Efficient pricing makes congestion obsolete (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 3 years ago | (#37012032)

Given that traffic congestion is a type of shortage (a shortage of available space on a road at a given time of day), and that a shortage happens when when the price of an item is set below the going rate determined by supply and demand [wikipedia.org] , the solution is made obvious: raise the price of freeway access just high enough to eliminate the traffic congestion, but no higher. Then lower the toll when demand is low, to give people the ability to economize. Variable tolls permanently eliminates any need to expand the freeway just to eliminate congestion. There are other ways to justify expanding a freeway, but congestion is no longer one of them.

Efficiently pricing freeway access saves a lot of money that would be spent expanding the freeway. For example, the USA's Congressional Budget Office found that southern California's SR-91 express lanes generate net social benefits of at least $12 million per year, compared with a scenario in which the lanes had been built but drivers did not pay to use them. [cbo.gov]

Because many if not all states currently fund freeways with general sales tax revenue, As a group low-income residents, on average, pay more out-of-pocket with sales taxes" for freeways than with tolls. [springerlink.com] Therefore, tolls are less regressive than the alternative.

The free market works remarkably well, when it's allowed to work.

Re:Efficient pricing makes congestion obsolete (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37012374)

Face it, the free market will not work in today's society. Why? Well simple, greed. Why bother competing on price when you can just have a un-written agreement with all the major players in the field to price your products and services the same? Why bother competing on value when you can just produce a crap product (and have noone even know the difference - eg. apples from China that are about as nutritious as a bit of cardboard).

Why price the tolls on the highways according to market when you can make more money due to your captive market? Couple of dollars here and there and you can make any other route a pain to take (just put in traffic lights that are out of sync, roundabouts, or anything else that will slow down the traffic) to "encourage" people to take the highway.

And then you have the other side, the people who refuse to spend the money on the tolls and use the side roads rather then the highway. This will cost a lot of money with the increased maintenance of side roads which were not designed to take heavy flows of traffic because people should be on the highway.

TL;DR? Free markets are destroyed by greed. Greed is rampant in today's society. Due to greed, free markets wont work in captive markets like isps, highways, telecommunications, and all the other crap that people claim free markets are better then the current solution in.

Re:Efficient pricing makes congestion obsolete (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 3 years ago | (#37012478)

Why price the tolls on the highways according to market when you can make more money due to your captive market?

If you want to make more money, build fewer lanes. Then you can price the tolls according to the market and also make more money.

And then you have the other side, the people who refuse to spend the money on the tolls and use the side roads rather then the highway.

If the freeway lanes are nearly full because you've correctly priced them, then you can hardly blame the tolls if people are also taking the side roads!

Re:Efficient pricing makes congestion obsolete (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 3 years ago | (#37013246)

Here's the problems with that philosophy.

#1, if everything is a toll road in congested areas, the areas that have higher tolls between the living area and the working area will be depressed in value, making it more likely that low-income people will live there instead, meaning they're more likely to pay high tolls.
#2, job availability won't be spread out to cheat the tolls, so the crappiest jobs will still most likely run you right into peak toll time. And for a lot of jobs, you can't just say, "oh, I'm going to go in later to avoid the toll". Which leads to...
#3, just because there's a toll making it more expensive to get there, doesn't mean that there'll be any less traffic, meaning the problem isn't solved AT ALL.

No, the answer, IMO, is to tax the ever-loving shit out of the top 0.1%, and do this taxation on a smoothly sliding scale (tax brackets screw over individuals that get just on the wrong side of the bracket, while giving individuals on the right side of the bracket an unfair advantage, whereas a tax curve does neither). Fund all infrastructure from THAT. (That's how the interstate highway system was built in the first place, too.)

And, the reason for doing that actually isn't to build infrastructure - it's to keep that top 0.1% from having so much money that they can steer the government due to their wealth.

Re:Efficient pricing makes congestion obsolete (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 3 years ago | (#37013496)

tax brackets screw over individuals that get just on the wrong side of the bracket, while giving individuals on the right side of the bracket an unfair advantage

Given that only income that falls into the range of a given bracket is taxed at that bracket's rate, how is that so? A person $1 below the top of a bracket does pay less in taxes than a person $1 above the bottom of the next bracket up, that's true, but the difference, all else being equal, would only be a few cents.

I suppose that we have the spare computing resources to calculate these things on a curve now without it being laborious, but it hardly seems like one of the major problems with our tax policy. I'm sure we've got bigger issues to address there.

Re:Efficient pricing makes congestion obsolete (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 3 years ago | (#37014470)

#1, if everything is a toll road in congested areas, the areas that have higher tolls between the living area and the working area will be depressed in value...

Why not let the free market decide what properties in sprawling suburbs far from work centers is worth?

#3, just because there's a toll making it more expensive to get there, doesn't mean that there'll be any less traffic...

Of course it does. Look at a demand curve [wikipedia.org] . As price rises, demand falls, so if the price is high enough, demand falls to the level of supply and the shortage is eliminated.

There is no free market in transportation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37012250)

What people don't seem to understand, we would have flying cars by now if the free market was allowed to work in the transportation industry.

When you take into account the costs to build and maintain all of the roads, flying is cheaper.

http://mises.org/resources/6528/Its-a-Jetsons-World-Private-Miracles-and-Public-Crimes

Yes, _that_ Chris Burden (1)

efudddd (312615) | about 3 years ago | (#37012298)

Typical Slashdot readers are probably not aware of what Burden is actually notorious for in fine arts circles. As a relatively early performance artist back in the 70s, he had his hands nailed to a VW Beetle crucifixion-style. Apocryphal variants regarding this performance piece when I was in art school had him being fully nailed and driven around LA that way, which would certainly have upped the fun level had it only been true. (Just in case you might be wondering if his current interest in cars is in any way... obsessive.)

Stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37012372)

This is just a guy making a big hotwheels track the way someone might make a model train track, then calling himself an artist and, with nothing whatsoever to back it up, claiming that this is how cars will run in the future... Yes, every person who wants to go from point A to point B in a city will have to visit EVERY POSSIBLE LOCATION IN BETWEEN THOSE TWO POINTS either on the way there or on the way back. And it's better because they go fast instead of having to sit in traffic. Makes perfect sense. Fucking stupid.

Shut it down! Quickly! (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about 3 years ago | (#37013274)

Considering recent theories about how small underpowered cars are really dangerous, this exhibit should be immediately destroyed to stop the public seeing these tiny unpowered little cars whizzing around in perfect harmony. It'll never happen! In the real world, thousands of leprechauns would be killed under the wheels of SUVs, 18-wheelers, Winnebagos and Segways the very second they drove onto the public roads in these things! Ban the tiny cars! BAN THEM!

Artists and future. (1)

drolli (522659) | about 3 years ago | (#37013310)

To me it seems more like that past.

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