Saturday, February 23, 2013

The future of efficient transportation

Might look like this:

I heard a lecture from Alain Bertaud on how networked, scheduled transportation is not a good solution for many people--even in poor parts of the world.  And I can testify that auto rickshaws are often the best way to get around cities in India--they are quick, cheap, and when fueled by natural gas, environmentally not too bad (those with two stroke engines are a whole other matter).

One of the most provocative things I learned from Alain is that buses are often less fuel efficient than cars--for a bus system to work, they have to run at periods where demand is fairly low.     As it happens, while sitting at dinner in downtown Los Angeles last night, we watched bus after bus on 6th Street go by nearly empty.


Jarrett said...

Re the misleading claim that buses are less fuel efficient than cars, which is based on confusion about transit's competing purposes:

Benjamin Cole said...

After 55 years in Los Angeles, I moved to Thailand, Here in rural Thailand, we have "baht busses." That's a guy with a pick-up truck, and slats running the long way over the wheel wells. and maybe a roof.

The drivers follow routes, but adjust to circumstance, and obviously do not drive around without passengers.

I imagine this kind of service would be cheaper and more efficient than the big busses running regular routes.

Subways. Depends on if the MYA can zone enough density around the stations. Turns out they own the land around the stations.