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Transportation Designs For a Future That Never Came

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the day-after-tomorrow dept.

Transportation 120

An anonymous reader writes "The recently unveiled plans for the Hyperloop have raised a lot of eyebrows, but this is not the first time someone has proposed an idea for mass transit that seemed too good to be true. Here's a look at a few other ideas over the years that never seemed to get off the ground. 'In 1930, the magazine Modern Mechanix presented a plan for a "unique bus of the future (that would) duplicate the speed of railroads. Recent developments in everything that moves has caused many flights of imagination," it wrote. "The bus between New York and San Francisco will be equipped with airplanes for (side trips). For diversion, billiard rooms, swimming pool, dancing floor and a bridle path would be available. The pilot would be 'enthroned' over his engines, with the radio above. Space for autos would be afforded by the deck." Not surprisingly, it never happened.'"

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But but but but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44600819)

I thought that because a scientist was wrong once, it means that anything at all is possible? Why didn't these buses happen?

Re:But but but but (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 7 months ago | (#44601243)

Didn't they happen? Take out the billiard rooms, dance floors, and bridle paths, and you end up with a jumbo jet. In fact, it not only duplicates the speed of railroads, it goes much faster, and it isn't on a rail.

Re:But but but but (1)

nametaken (610866) | about 7 months ago | (#44601507)

The real joke of it all is that we have, or had, and few of the vehicles listed. They just didn't look exactly like the artists rendition on the cover of PopSci.

Submerged floating tunnel (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#44600839)

Actually, a submerged floating tunnel sounds kind of doable.

There's no technical reason why something like this can't be done. There's lots of other reasons, though.

Re:Submerged floating tunnel (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44600961)

Physics is a bitch. There's a *lot* of water in the ocean, and a 3 kt current is a hell of a lot more energy than the combined nuclear weapons of the world.

Re:Submerged floating tunnel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44601499)

No. Ocean engineer here. Currents have a lot of power (not energy, but power), but unless you mean the whole Gulf Stream, or a very long time period, the energy of the world's nuclear weapons is greater still. But it's kind of hard to argue with someone that isn't consistent with units.

Re:Submerged floating tunnel (5, Informative)

careysub (976506) | about 7 months ago | (#44602095)

No. Ocean engineer here. Currents have a lot of power (not energy, but power), but unless you mean the whole Gulf Stream, or a very long time period, the energy of the world's nuclear weapons is greater still. But it's kind of hard to argue with someone that isn't consistent with units.

Two ACs arguing about the energy content of ocean currents vs energy content of nuclear weapons, with neither one putting up a single number to back themselves up. Tsk tsk.

Lets see: total world nuclear arsenal currently about 6400 megatons, or 2.7 x 10^18 J. Gulf stream volume 150 million cubic meters/sec at Newfoundland (1.5 x 10^11 kg/sec), speed 2 kt, or 4 m/sec. Kinetic power of stream = 1.2 x 10^12 J/sec. Number of seconds for the kinetic energy of the Gulf Stream to equal the nuclear arsenals = 2.25 million, or 26 days. Is that a "very long time"?

But wait, there's more! The heat transport of the Gulf Stream is 1.2 x 10^15 J/sec, a figure 1000 times larger than its kinetic energy, so the time for the Gulf Stream flow to transport a "world nuclear arsenal" worth of energy is only 2250 seconds, or 38 minutes.

Re:Submerged floating tunnel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44602315)

Gulf stream is also say 200km across. US highway lanes are 3.7m across. I don't recall any highways even above ground that have 50k+ lanes of traffic.

Re:Submerged floating tunnel (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 7 months ago | (#44601053)

The shortest way... is through the planet's core. Tunnel boring machines, a little slow, but eventually your carcass will get there. Whether you're still living in it is for a different thread.

Re:Submerged floating tunnel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44601187)

Another problem with that: the outer core is molten and the inner core spins faster than the Earth and at an angle (hence why the magnetic poles don't line up with the Earth's axis.)

Re:Submerged floating tunnel (2)

hedwards (940851) | about 7 months ago | (#44602855)

You wouldn't want to do that even if you could. Besides the issues of heat, you'd have to worry about plate tectonics. Not to mention that it would take centuries at the rate we currently excavate. Around here we've had several different deep bore tunnels being dug, I think for a total of about 100 miles between them, and they don't excavate more than about 7.5 meters per day.

And that's at the surface, without having to worry about the increased pressure of being deep within the earth's core.

Re:Submerged floating tunnel (1)

cupantae (1304123) | about 8 months ago | (#44605865)

Tunnel boring machines, a little slow

But if we tunnelled exciting machines, it could be much faster.

Re:Submerged floating tunnel (3, Interesting)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about 7 months ago | (#44601061)

I know just the place for it, in terms of technical desirability.

Lake Washington, next to Seattle, has two pontoon bridges. The surface is a bad place for them because they're vulnerable to the regions occasional but fierce windstorms. The lakebed is too deep and mucky to be good for construction (which is why they are pontoon bridges).

I don't know how bad currents get in a lake.

Re:Submerged floating tunnel (1)

jythie (914043) | about 7 months ago | (#44601265)

Looking over the list of things that did not happen, many seemed to depend on other areas of technology coming up with cost effective solutions for infrastructure. So once you have the special roads/tunnels/rails built the tech makes sense, but even building regular roads/tunnels/rails is expensive. Granted those things have gotten a lot of improvements over the years, but there is a real chicken and egg thing going on there since process improvements tend to show up after something is already being done a lot.

Re:Submerged floating tunnel (3, Interesting)

Teun (17872) | about 7 months ago | (#44601449)

All it takes is a significant market for fast travel and someone willing to invest, a lot of the technology exists.
The biggest energy expense in fast travel is air resistance so the idea of a (partially) vacuum tunnel is only logic.
With these speeds a trip doesn't take long and having a relatively small thus cramped cabin is less of an issue.

The problems with Eminent Domain, a total distrust of government etc. will probably make such a system, under- or above ground, not likely to be pioneered in the US but in places like China or even Europe.

Re:Submerged floating tunnel (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44603325)

Over the years working thinking this stuff out what I come up with is there is a huge leap in cost once you shift from static compression structures made of found materials to engineered tension structures. An example a road made of crushed stone, very cheap requires little maintenance, and the maintenance you do have to do is proportional to the usage. Compare with bridge, made of steel, requires vast amounts of maintenance to keep it from decaying. And after 50-100 years it's in bad shape no matter. Tunnels, very much more expensive to maintain than a road made of compressed soil covered in asphalt.

Re:Submerged floating tunnel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44604667)

A submerged floating tunnel sounds like an oxy-moron

Re:Submerged floating tunnel (2)

silentcoder (1241496) | about 8 months ago | (#44605693)

>There's no technical reason why something like this can't be done. There's lots of other reasons, though.

You mean like the fact that "submerged floating" is an oxymoron ?

those Modern Mechanix covers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44600867)

are some of the ugliest designs I've seen. Some of those guys may have gone on to do the Ford Edsel or AMC Pacer.

Wrong approach (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | about 7 months ago | (#44600875)

We don't need boondoggles and fanciful transportation methods that don't pan out. All we need is: the power of our mind.

Close your eyes. Pretend you're surrounded by pretentious rich assholes. Bingo, you're in LA. Total cost: $0. Total time: 15 seconds.

Ok, now close your eyes. Pretend you're surrounded by hipsters and leather deviants. Bang. San Francisco. Ding Ding, you can even hear the trolley and smell the homeless guy peeing.

Re:Wrong approach (4, Funny)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 7 months ago | (#44601133)

Close your eyes. Pretend you're surrounded by pretentious rich assholes. Bingo, you're in LA. Total cost: $0. Total time: 15 seconds.

HALEP! I ended up in a conference room at Oracle with Larry Ellison! :'(

Re:Wrong approach (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about 7 months ago | (#44601173)

Close your eyes. Pretend you're surrounded by pretentious rich assholes. Bingo, you're in LA. Total cost: $0. Total time: 15 seconds.

HALEP! I ended up in a conference room at Oracle with Larry Ellison! :'(

Lucky you.

Re:Wrong approach (1)

jythie (914043) | about 7 months ago | (#44601271)

Hrm.... this technique could probably be applied to those silly business meetings that eat up so much travel. Just close my eyes and imagine that the other stakeholders gave me all the resources and go-aheads I was wanting. mmmmm

Re:Wrong approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44603219)

Sounds like you've never been to LA. Most people around here are working class nobodies, "aspiring" actors, gang bangers and/or bums. The rich make up only a very tiny percentage of the population.

Re:Wrong approach (1)

thunderclap (972782) | about 7 months ago | (#44603303)

Close your eyes. Pretend you're surrounded by pretentious rich assholes. Bingo, you're in LA. Total cost: $0. Total time: 15 seconds.
No, I ended up in the Capital Building on the House floor. Gotta run, the police are coming for me now.

Rolling Roads (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 7 months ago | (#44600929)

Has anybody come up with the rolling roads concept again? Kinda like those moving sidewalks at airports but on a gigantic scale.

Re:Rolling Roads (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about 7 months ago | (#44600949)

sorry, but we don't even have the technology to make an escalator that stands up having 10% of its length exposed to the elements in the midwest. (Eyewitness testimony of subway commuter in large city)

Re:Rolling Roads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44601003)

You mean an escalator sold by the lowest bidder, on a procurment contract without monetary penalty for downtime.

Re:Rolling Roads (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 7 months ago | (#44601083)

no, that's not how they roll in this city for mass transit expenses. vendors and contractors get preferential treatment for certain reasons. This is top of the line model rated for outdoor (but covered) use from the #1 manufacturer on the planet.

Re:Rolling Roads (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 7 months ago | (#44601191)

KONE?

it's superduper rare to see even covered outdoor escalators in finland.

but then again, if you were building escalator roads you might just as well cover them... I'd love 'em. fuck snow.

Lets all point and laugh (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 7 months ago | (#44600995)

At the old magazine covers from the 40's, that was awesome, we are so better than they were right?

Re:Lets all point and laugh (1)

cupantae (1304123) | about 8 months ago | (#44605909)

First paragraph of TFA:

US entrepreneur Elon Musk recently unveiled plans for a train that would travel at speeds of up to 1,200 kilometers an hour. As promising as his design might be, skeptics would argue he's merely continuing a long tradition of revolutionary transit concepts which inevitably end up thwarted by reality.

In other words, the article is drawing attention to the idea that current visions of the future might be just as infeasible as those shown in the article.

Great ideas are out there. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44601007)

There are plenty of great ideas - many of which are feasible from an engineering only standpoint.

But when you factor in economic viability, that's when you run into problems. And when it comes to publicly sponsored projects, then you run into the inevitable cost "overruns" and mismanagement.

That's something I never got, how is it that a company can bid on a project, win based on that bid, and end up making whatever the hell they want to in the end - See "Big Dig" in Boston and every other municipal project out there. Are things that corrupt?!

Re:Great ideas are out there. (3, Interesting)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 7 months ago | (#44601443)

It is not necessarily corruption, it is a natural result of people being tasked with spending other people's money. They don't have to be actually receiving bribes, they just don't have an incentive to be super careful with it. This is why a congressman will casually vote for spending say $500 million of public money, usually without even reading the bill, whereas there is no way in hell he would spend even $5 of his own money without being convinced that he is getting a good deal for it.

Re:Great ideas are out there. (4, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | about 7 months ago | (#44602375)

What you are describing IS corruption. It doesnt have to be bribe-taking. The fact that you can describe it so clearly and NOT call it corruption is symptomatic of our real problem here.

Fix your political system. (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 7 months ago | (#44603293)

That's a symptom of your political system being busted. The congressman should be worried about not being reelected.

And having worked in the private sector and moved up quite a bit over the years, it's just as bad there if not worse. I've watched companies waste billions just so nobody has to admit they wasted billions (e.g. not take the write off).

We had to ride horses for thousands of years (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 7 months ago | (#44601011)

Some things progress very slowly. And with politics being such a big obstacle, not much is going to happen any time soon.

Re:We had to ride horses for thousands of years (2)

Sique (173459) | about 7 months ago | (#44601097)

It's not the politics that are the big obstacle. Politics is the playing field where the different interests are fighting each other until there is some result. Politics thus are mainly a result, not the reason for something. The big obstacle is that we don't need most of those transportation means so much, that it might be feasible to invest enough. What's the point of having a cruiser ship like bus line across the U.S.? It might have made sense in a time when even air travel was not faster than 150 mph, and when NY - LA was a two day trip with 10 hrs of flight each day. It does't make much sense when it takes 5 hrs.

Re:We had to ride horses for thousands of years (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 7 months ago | (#44601257)

Yeah, that's right. I was advocating bringing back some 80 year old fanciful dream to replace our incredibly safe, reliable (despite its fragility) system we employ today. What was I thinking? Let's just call the whole thing off and head to the beach.

*Amazing*

Re:We had to ride horses for thousands of years (2)

Sique (173459) | about 7 months ago | (#44601375)

No, that's not what I was saying.

In the most cases, the role of politics is either completely misunderstood, or greatly exaggerated. There are much more simple processes at work. Some of the ideas might have been really good, but for every good concept, there are two adversaries: the one, that is better, and the other one, that is good enough. Having an idea that is really at the sweet spot of being feasable and being between being really better than the current state of affairs, and not being outcompeted by another idea that is better is a very rare occurance.

Re:We had to ride horses for thousands of years (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 7 months ago | (#44601591)

Politics: (from Greek: politikos, meaning "of, for, or relating to citizens") is the practice and theory of influencing other people on a civic or individual level. (From wiki, because, what the hell)

I'm sorry, I just got done with another guy who thinks I don't understand the common meaning of words. Two times in one day is a bit much.

already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44601039)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68dTwJNvE1E

Too good to be true? (1)

Mad Quacker (3327) | about 7 months ago | (#44601075)

You mean like mass produced electric cars? Or maybe reusable rockets :-/

Elon Musk does his homework.

Re:Too good to be true? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44601095)

> Elon Musk does his homework

Sometimes he plans on you doing yours.

Re:Too good to be true? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44601435)

Do find out how many passengers his hyperloop can transport per hour.

And then compare with other modes of transportation. Then you might see that his hyperloop really isn't that much cheaper than a high speed train if you want to transport large numbers of people.

If you don't want to move large numbers of people, stick to video conferencing - its cheaper.

Elon Musk just wants someone else to help pay for his personal high speed transport (limited passengers per hour = high ticket costs = only rich people like Musk will be able to afford it). Think Concorde.

Re:Too good to be true? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 7 months ago | (#44602901)

Precisely. What I'm wondering about is how scalable is this, and what are the maintenance costs going to be on maintaining a depressurized tube. Granted it won't be a complete vacuum, but you still have to maintain it.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love for this to be feasible, I just have my doubts about that. It's a crap load of expense to replace something that we already know how to build, but doesn't particularly promise to be a stepping stone to anything beyond either.

Re:Too good to be true? (1)

tragedy (27079) | about 8 months ago | (#44604017)

Do find out how many passengers his hyperloop can transport per hour.

Apparently 3,360 per tube. I can't actually find any numbers on how many per hour a conventional train carries. I'll try guessing. We're talking about Los Angeles to San Francisco, so the existing trains take about six hours, or 12 times longer than the hyperloop would take. So, the distance is about 382 miles, and we'll divide that by six to get 63.66 miles or 336,125 feet. Cut that by 1% since we'll need an engine every 100 cars or so and we have 332764. We'll call a passenger car 85 feet including linkages, so we can have about 3915 passenger cars in that 63.66 mile stretch. A passenger car can hold maybe 100 people. So, a decent upper limit, without overloading, for people the conventional train system can carry per hour is 391,500, which is about 117 times as many as the hyperloop. That's a silly number of course. To maintain that rate you would need 23490 passenger cars and around 235 engines.

So, anyway, it looks like conventional trains could certainly carry more passengers on one set of tracks based on the numbers musk gives and the numbers I've roughed out for trains. On the other hand, there's no particularly good reason you couldn't stack hyperloop tubes on top of each other and next to each other to achieve more capacity.

Mass transit (2)

pe1chl (90186) | about 7 months ago | (#44601147)

Even those ideas for mass transit that did work out are not always a success.
It appears to be difficult to predict the usage of such a network.
We got a highspeed rail line but nobody is using it. Existing connections had to
be terminated before some people forcefully started using this train (at higher tariffs).
And specially built trains that were ordered for a lower priced service were a total disaster.

Re:Mass transit (2)

jythie (914043) | about 7 months ago | (#44601293)

What is even worse then predicting usage patterns is predicting political currents. Much of the relative state between air, road, and rail today is a product of the political situation each of those industries exist in.

Re:Mass transit (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 7 months ago | (#44602913)

What highspeed rail where? I'm pretty sure people use the one they have in Europe, I'm pretty sure people are using the one in China. We don't have any in the US, which is why nobody uses them.

Re:Mass transit (1)

pe1chl (90186) | about 8 months ago | (#44605479)

Highspeed rail in the Netherlands. We have a small country, so when a highspeed rail
is constructed every city wants a stop along it, and cities are only 30km apart here.
Furthermore, when they ask me "would you take the highspeed rail to Paris" I probably
would answer yes, but it would not be more often than once every 2 years or so. Not a
basis for a regular train service.
So what we got was a highspeed rail with a surcharge, nobody using it so they had to
stop the regular service to force the users over to it. There was a special train built for
"local" service, but it had so many defects that it was removed from service and there
now is a big dispute with the manufacturer.
The problem with trains is that everything is so close here, and people who can afford
the ticket price normally can afford to travel by car and have the advantage of door-to-door
travel. E.g. the highspeed rail would be ideal for government officials to travel to Brussels,
but I'm sure they use their car-with-driver instead.

That remins me of "The Big Bus" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44601157)

A nuclear powered bus built for cross country trips. The Big Bus [wikipedia.org]

Buses and the future that never came (3, Insightful)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 7 months ago | (#44601207)

The displacement of the inexpensive, efficient and reliable urban transportation known as "street cars" by diesel-powered buses was one of the gravest errors in urban planning. How's that for a future that never came? Expanding the street car rather than replacing it would have reduced the smog so endemic in the 60's and 70's.

Re:Buses and the future that never came (1)

jythie (914043) | about 7 months ago | (#44601353)

Yeah, but it would have been more expensive, and 'lower taxes' has been a major rallying cry over the last half century. Not to mention the idea of planning has become pretty demonized, with the magical 'the market will fix it' becoming increasingly dominant. So public patience for thought out infrastructure that will be in place for decades is pretty thin. Short term fixes are hot, and busses fit into that mold pretty well.

Re:Buses and the future that never came (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44601381)

See, here's the thing. The market can fix it by just not building a road to the subdivisions in fuckingowhere.

Re:Buses and the future that never came (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 7 months ago | (#44601399)

Why would they do that? It seems that generally the people deciding to build roads to the middle of nowhere just so happen to either own the land there, or have financial interests in the development companies who do.

Re:Buses and the future that never came (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44603143)

No way would it be more expensive. the street car infrastructure tracks and overhead lines) was long since installed and paid for. It was quite a job to rip them out. That's what army general Groves did before he built the Pentagon and ran the World War II, atom bomb, Manhattan Project. Funny thing, General Motors made out like a bandit selling those diesel buses. Undoubtably just a coincidence.

There are still some trolleys running. The Green Line in Boston. Works just fine.

As far as air tubes for rapid transit goes, US mail in NYC once went between post offices by pneumatic tubes underground. Got abandoned during the Eisenhower years when "Engine Charlie" Wilson, ex-GM, was running the Defense Department. Just what was needed, more trucks on Manhattan streets. 'Specially if you were making trucks. "What's good for General Motors is good for the country" (a slight misquote).

Urbam legends. (1)

westlake (615356) | about 7 months ago | (#44601687)

The displacement of the inexpensive, efficient and reliable urban transportation known as "street cars" by diesel-powered buses was one of the gravest errors in urban planning.

The streetcar wasn't all that efficient, cheap or reliable.

The humble Ford Model T cost about 1 cent a mile to operate --- in an era when a streetcar ticket cost 5 cents. The Ford provided portal to portal service for a family of five plus dog and cargo.

You could shop the big downtown department stores, take in a movie, buy your groceries at the new A&P. Unless you were shopping for something like a piano or a sofa you would never again see a surcharge for merchant home delivery. The savings added up quickly.

The streetcar lines had tracks, cars and overheads to maintain. Most were in deep financial trouble before World War I.

Re:Urbam legends. (4, Insightful)

Ichijo (607641) | about 7 months ago | (#44601847)

The humble Ford Model T cost about 1 cent a mile to operate --- in an era when a streetcar ticket cost 5 cents.

Operating costs include not just gasoline but also maintenance, insurance, registration, and parking.

Other costs of owning a car include depreciation, loan servicing, and the opportunity cost of capital.

And then there are hidden costs such as air pollution [fullerton.edu], carbon emissions, the urban heat island effect, sales and property taxes to build and maintain the roads [pewstates.org], and the loss of freedom (and loss of capital utility) to own a home or business without the government forcing you to overbuild your parking lot.

Far fewer people would drive if not for all of these government incentives and coercion to drive.

Re:Urbam legends. (1)

westlake (615356) | about 7 months ago | (#44603091)

Operating costs include not just gasoline but also maintenance, insurance, registration, and parking. Other costs of owning a car include depreciation, loan servicing, and the opportunity cost of capital.

True now. True then.

But no matter how you cherry pick the numbers, the Ford Model T was still dirt cheap transportation, versatile and affordable. Hobbyist and commercial conversions became legendary: pick-up trucks, delivery vans, lunch wagons, tractors, you name it.

You cannot escape the expense of building and maintaining a road; even in its prime, the streetcar shared the lanes with an extraordinary amount of traffic.

The old time streetcar is nostalgic urban fantasy.

The reality was more like this: http://levyrapidtransit.ca/wp-content/uploads/s-fig8a.jpg [levyrapidtransit.ca]

Re:Buses and the future that never came (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44603271)

All of the buses around here are powered by natural gas.

Re:Buses and the future that never came (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44605083)

The problem with street cars is that they only work where the tracks are. Once the demographics shift, the tracks no longer go where the people live and/or work, and they are useless. You can build new tracks to where the people move to, but only if the streets aren't already built or are already 20 feet wider than they need to be.

While actually driving streetcars is more efficient than driving buses, the general operation is much less efficient. Maintaining the trackage and overhead wires is expensive. Maintaining the roads is free with the fuel (road taxes are built into the price of on-road Diesel).

You can create a new bus route just by printing up some maps and timetables, and getting the drivers to memorize them. The only expensive part is making the bus stops (benches, shelters). Creating a new streetcar route means acquiring rights-of-way, laying track (not just for the route itself, but all the way to the garage/maintenance yard), putting in overhead wires, and so on. The hardest part is probably finding a place to put the tracks, which could take years (requiring eminent domain battles, politics, commitees, ...) and might end up going nowhere.

It's not hard to see why buses have replaced streetcars. You may note that in some cities there are electric buses that run via overhead wires. This is like streetcars that don't require the tracks. That gives you some of the added efficiency, with no additional rights-of-way being required.

dom

"Not surprisingly, it never happened.'" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44601269)

If it didn't happen it was because people didn't make it happen.

You shouldn't confuse your own accomplishment (or lack thereof) for a static variable outside your influence.

That mind set will never accomplish anything. You predicted it first!

Popular Science - Nuclear Powered RVs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44601317)

When I was young I subscribed to Popular Science. I remember an article about how someday there would be these enormous highways and that people would drive what would now be called nuclear powered RVs. People would drive around between cities on these huge roads and when they reached a city they would park and drive a smaller car kept in the back.

Re:Popular Science - Nuclear Powered RVs (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 7 months ago | (#44601419)

when they reached a city they would park and drive a smaller car kept in the back.

The funny thing about these plans is that back then they understood that people were not going to give up their car.

These days nobody bothers to try and figure out how to get the car into the mass transport system anymore, then they whine when everyone would rather drive.

Re:Popular Science - Nuclear Powered RVs (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#44603027)

These days nobody bothers to try and figure out how to get the car into the mass transport system anymore, then they whine when everyone would rather drive.

The problem is that today we have such a broad variety of cars. If we mandated them down to a smaller size with uniform attachment points we might load them onto trains. Or, the problem is that we don't have room for lots of parking in the places where we'd need it. Etc.

Re:Popular Science - Nuclear Powered RVs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44602361)

I remember that article and I thought it was a good idea for people who traveled great distances daily. Of course that was before the amount of cars and cost to build roads kept increasing. The problem with having a very fast transit from one point to another is simple, why would many people want to go only from point A to B then to point A from B ? To fund this is crazy expensive then to have enough paying passengers to keep it going is questionable. If the thought is a great deal of people from surounding areas would transit to a hyperloop entry point isn't totally valid because of road congestion. Look at current daily traffic around major airports that offer trasnsit to 100's of locations including overseas. Good reading but doubt it will go beyond the idea phase.

Article cited sponsored by the Automobile Industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44601325)

Their usual approach to preventing technological advance is to claim to be "the experts in the field" get involved anyway they can, and then make things so expensive they fail. An example: The BART system in San Francisco cost more, per seat, than the per seat cost of the modern jet liners of the day.

Re:Article cited sponsored by the Automobile Indus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44603541)

Yeah, well the LA Metro is cheap and efficient. BART is just horribly managed.

Favorite part of the hyperloop photo... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 7 months ago | (#44601441)

...is the seat belt the passengers are wearing, complete with little red buckle. As if only a lap belt would really protect someone (i) in a collision at 800 MPH and (ii) seated in a reclining position. Adorable.

Re:Favorite part of the hyperloop photo... (1)

Eivind (15695) | about 7 months ago | (#44602117)

There's swimvests on planes too -- please look up for me a few examples of situations where those have saved lives ?

Re:Favorite part of the hyperloop photo... (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 7 months ago | (#44602535)

There's swim vests on planes too -- please look up for me a few examples of situations where those have saved lives ?

Reminds me of an old joke about a Lufthansa flight about to "land" in the ocean - told in a heavy German accent, of course. Over the intercom, the pilot says for those passengers that can swim to get on the left side of the plane with their vests on and, after the plans lands, to swim out to the rafts, then says, "and for those passengers that cannot swim... thank you for flying Lufthansa Airlines."

Re:Favorite part of the hyperloop photo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44603157)

That's not the reason for the seat belts. You are confusing things. The reason for the seat belts are somewhat heavy accelerations needed to get up to and down from 1200 km/h. And of course emergency braking.

What a terrible article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44601557)

"There have been stupid transportation ideas in the past, the Hyperloop is dumb" seems to be the extent of the authors argument.

The logic is solid as the idea is simplifying (1)

Cogent91 (2203516) | about 7 months ago | (#44601957)

Historical notions were forced to brute force through the 2 main barriers, air resistance and friction. What is being focused on now is purely about removing those barriers, a vacuum eliminating air resistance and magnetic levitation eliminating friction. For the first time ever material science is starting to make the idea look viable. Maybe not yet, but soon hopefully.

Re:The logic is solid as the idea is simplifying (1)

bendilts (1902562) | about 8 months ago | (#44604915)

It's amazing how many people read so little about the Hyperloop that they think it uses magnetic levitation.

Everything Old Is New Again (2)

Forthan Red (820542) | about 7 months ago | (#44602001)

New York's first subway, built in 1870s, and long forgotten until a part of it was discovered during excavation, about a decade ago, was the Beach Pneumatic Transit. Created by Alfred Ely Beach, people sat in capsules which were driven through underground tubes via air pressure. A variety of circumstances prevented it from ever being extended beyond its initial demonstration length.

Re:Everything Old Is New Again (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 7 months ago | (#44602069)

Created by Alfred Ely Beach, people ...

So Beach created not only the subway system, but also the people to ride in it? He must have been a very busy guy.

Re:Everything Old Is New Again (1)

tragedy (27079) | about 8 months ago | (#44604067)

When they discovered it during excavation, was it full of pinkish psychoreactive slime flowing towards the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Did the excavators get put on trial for violating their judicial restraining order?

Hovercraft trains (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44602003)

Surprised noone has brought this up yet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracked_Hovercraft

We squandered our future. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44603411)

As a 'civilization' we squandered our future on war and prisons.

The entire Earth is less than 1% of the mass of the solar system. The recoverable resources of the earth are less than 1% of the planet's mass.

We've spent decades murdering eachother for scraps instead of developing the rest of the solar system.

Why?

Because every new frontier brings a loss of control for existing governments and power structures.

All these Ideas are really great and will work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44603599)

If it is anyone except the government that does it.

Apples to oranges (3, Insightful)

Natales (182136) | about 8 months ago | (#44604393)

The way this post was presented is totally idiotic. The fact that some of these ideas have been around for a very long time means only that technical feasibility was not there yet. Remember Jules Verne or DaVinci for that matter. Many of their ideas have become normal part of our lives, while many others were just product of a fertile imagination.

What I really like about the hyperloop is that the idea is old, but it's been re-thought from the perspective of the 21st century, by someone who has the credibility to make things that everyone else said were impossible a fact.

I, for one, think Elon Musk is one of the greatest minds of our generation, and not only because of the ideas, but because of his attitude of "why not" and "build it and they will come". I'd trust him with my tax dollars any day when I see what he has accomplished, vs. the bozos in the State Government.

Re:Apples to oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44604747)

Thank you. I agree with you 100%.

What I expected from the article was a well spelled out explanation of why each far-fetched mode of transportation failed, and how Musk's plan falls on a parallel trajectory towards failure. Zero evidence was given on why Hyperloop is a bad idea. The entire write-up can be summed up as "these old fanciful forms of transportation didn't pan out, so logically, neither will this current idea or any other future transportation revolution. Improvements in technology, brilliance of design, and soundness of financial plan are all irrelevant."

If Hyperloop doesn't get traction now, perhaps we will have to wait until Musk is finished with revolutionizing space travel and the electric car industry. I think you're right. Musk is going to be in the history books along with the Telsa, Newton, and the likes.

Hyperloop is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44604605)

The hyperloop is obvious, I've personally thought up similar things in concept (except using magnetic levitation instead of an air cushion) and all the technology to do it already exists (LIM are used on Vancouver's skytrain, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardier_Innovia_Metro ) it's just a matter of safety, which a vehicle moving at very high speeds is inherently dangerous (contact with the tube walls, external collisions with the tube,) and in the case of an emergency, impossible to escape when enclosed.

I think it can be done, but it's first practical application would likely be something like Vancouver to Victoria (which is too dangerous and deep to have a bridge built) or something more practical like Anchorage to Seattle, where there's less environmental conflict and airplanes have problems dealing with the arctic. Or why stop there... Anchorage to Petropavlovsk. Miles of sea and wilderness.

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