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Paul Wolfram

Jun 17, 2014
10:10

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It is not clear to me how you calculated these numbers. Could you provide your method or any sources? It would be great if you had a sketch to illustrate your idea. Is it necessary to charge a fee for renting the vehicle and in addition a toll for road use? Wouldn’t it be easier if users had to pay just once?

Jim Berergi

Jun 17, 2014
12:12

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The numbers are generated by a simulation spreadsheet of 4 sheets. The simulation contains the cost information, energy required, solar panel output, and calculations that generate all the numbers. The assumptions for the high-speed toll road are: trains of 6 vehicles are built to share the energy cost of high-speed travel, (1.754 Kwh/mile/chain). The vehicles in the train are linked electronically not physically. Trip cost is in three parts per mile: toll 18 cents, energy 17.2 cents, vehicle rent 12.3 cents totaling 47.5 cent per mile. A single bill is generated at trip end based on number of miles. If the user wants the vehicle rental can be extended for off system travel. The website: http://freedomtransit.com/ Has pictures and much more info.

Jim Berergi

Jun 18, 2014
05:36

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Can anyone help? The embedded picture from the internet will not resize. I have changed the size by editing it and it shows resized but when published it reverts to the original size.

Elizabeth Marcello

Jul 13, 2014
05:42

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This is a cool and interesting idea. The map is particularly helpful to understanding how the network would work and how it could greatly ease travel between major urban centers and in commercial corridors. I'm not sure I understand how building the elevated roadways will be cheaper than building freeways/interstate highways, since that infrastructure already exists. Also, would this technology compete with private car travel in such a way that might jeopardize the quality/maintenance of exiting roadways? Or, is the idea to eventually replace those altogether?

Climate Colab

Aug 5, 2014
08:35

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I commend the authors for the significant effort they put in their idea. What they have failed to show is how the elevated guideway for the same passenger throughput could be (i) cheaper, and (ii) faster than high speed rail. Their cost/benefit calculations don't add up. More importantly, Personal Rapid Transit systems are already available in some locales and so are automated cars - the authors do not adequately justify the need for the very complex guiding system they propose which could simply be relegated to different levels of guidance in automated vehicles on existing infrastructure. Although, I did want to like this proposal, it does not provide a feasible way for tackling the sustainable transportation transition challenge.

Christopher Fry

Aug 7, 2014
10:47

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The link to freedom transit in the references section is broken. The related proposals section is empty but it should reference my proposal from the 2011 climate colab contest: https://www.climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/5/planId/15207 To the extent that this proposal is similar to mine its good, ie elevated, dedicated guideways under computer control, electric and solar powered. This proposal is what's known as "Dual Mode" PRT, ie vehicles that can travel on both the dedicated guideway and conventional roads. Superficially this is very attractive and has been proposed many times before. If you are a car lover (as most Americans are) you will love this proposal. All the advantages of your car plus the advantages of high speed rail. The problem is that you also get the disadvantages of cars and high speed rail. This system is considerably more expensive per mile, and per passenger mile than MagLev PRT as I articulate in the above link. It also uses a lot more energy per passenger mile, has a larger footprint and skyprint due to the relatively massive concrete guideways and much more hassle (cars!). It will take much longer and be considerably more disruptive to build than MagLev PRT. It is however, more conceptually incremental and so has an adoption advantage (provided you can get the much greater funding for it). I appreciate the author's creative financing scheme. MagLev PRT is much less imaginative. Since it is so much cheaper in both capital and operating costs, just pay for it from fares that are far lower than Freedom Transit (ie 10 to 15 cents instead of 47.5 cents per mile) and get the money from a bank. A large Israeli aerospace firm is now building a test track for a proposed system in Tel Aviv which will not need the kind of financing proposed for freedom transit. It was designed by engineers in California who tailored it to LA's traffic problems, but will also work better than roads in snow. We desperately need new transportation infrastructure. For those of us enamored with cars, this proposal provides a good conceptual stepping stone to the better-in-most-respects infrastructure of grids of MagLev PRT.

Jim Berergi

Aug 11, 2014
05:17

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A more complete description comparing High Speed Rail construction cost to Freedom Transit has now been added.

Jim Berergi

Aug 11, 2014
07:26

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I have added to the following sections: What Actions do you propose and Where will these actions be taken, that I hope will clarify Freedom Transit Costs and Revenue. Fast, safe, convenient, low cost Freedom Transit travel will eventually replace other modes of travel of 500 miles or less. Out to about 700 miles Freedom Transit is faster than air travel when you consider airport time spent obtaining boarding passes, and going through security, and queuing for the plane. Most airports still recommend arriving at the airport 2 hours before flight time. With Freedom Transit you just go in your own vehicle or a rental anytime of day. Freedom Transit technology can also be used to automated the nations freight. Eventually replacing tracker-trailers and freight trains moving the nations freight to freight distribution centers and then on to the final destination much faster than is currently possible as each load's automated travel is direct and non-stop. In 15 to 20 years both a passenger and freight nationwide network could be built, all traveling by electric solar power. Eliminating the need to import oil and reducing the overall CO2 Emissions by over 30%

Jim Berergi

Aug 11, 2014
07:03

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The Freedom Transit link to our website is now fixed.

Jim Beregi

Aug 12, 2014
09:30

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Freedom Transit is several times more expensive than standard freeways. Freeways average cost is about 10 million per mile per lane. If you consider what you get it looks less expensive. Example: High speed and vary close vehicle distances give Freedom Transit a traffic capacity equivalent to a 14 lane (7 in each direction) Freeway. The cost of building such a Freeway would exceed the cost of Freedom Transit's elevated fixed guideway. To save energy at high speed (140 Mph) vehicles are grouped into small trains of 5 to 6 vehicles which then share the cost of the energy for the group.

Jim Berergi

Aug 21, 2014
06:16

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Freedom Transit was designed to be a complete door to door transportation system that keeps the advantages of private car ownership yet eliminates the disadvantages. Fuel based vehicles contribute about 30% of the overall CO2 emissions. Freedom Transit's nationwide network powers the electric cars with solar power and would facilitate the conversion to electric cars by eliminating the range restriction of current electric cars. Our nations highways kill over 30 thousand people per year, the equivalent of over two jumbo jet crashes every week. Freedom Transit protects passengers by physically isolating vehicles in a single lanes with all vehicles moving at the same speed. The elevated lanes one in each direction keep vehicles safe from cross traffic and vehicles going in the opposite direction. Freedom Transit high speed and high capacity all but eliminates traffic congestion and provides automated self driving for a relaxing trip with the driver free to do other things while in the network. Yet able to stay in the same vehicle and manually drive the last mile to the destination. Freedom Transit is door to door safe, fast, anytime low cost travel.

Climate Colab

Sep 3, 2014
12:26

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This looks like a huge infrastructure project. If the reference point is an extensive high-speed rail system, the costs seem moderate, but it remains unclear whether that high-speed rail system will ever be put in place. Hence, where should the capital come from? Also, how is power transmitted from solar panels to the vehicles, via wireless charging? What are usage estimates underlying the surprisingly precise transit fares? The authors make an interesting proposal but there are a few problems. This would be a huge infrastructure project. The cost estimates seem to be quite low for what is proposed but still massive. You can check the cost of installing the silver line on the DC metro (train) to see how much elevated tracks cost. It is ins't clear that infrastructure to handle cars would be cheaper given the weight requirements and wider width required. One major issue not addressed is how to build a road above existing roads. The social acceptance of elevated roads is not high in urban areas. Building them in remote areas still has issues with building around existing roads, bridges, power lines, etc. The concept of automated electric vehicles is interesting and may be able to come true without the elevated highway. Autonomous vehicles are likely to come to fruition before such a large infrastructure project could actually get approved in the current political environment. The concept of renting out personal vehicles is becoming more acceptable with Uber. There seem to be a lot of assumptions and calculations, still the overall concept / results seem a bit overly optimistic This is certainly a well written and extensive proposal. Several components of this idea have merit:-using exclusive lanes for automated vehicles that drive as a train, -using the right of way / highway covering for PV installation- coordinating automated EV (PRT)Yet, the entire proposal, of elevated guideways does not seem to be supported by economics especially when compared to existing, much more efficient alternative: high speed rail.Essentially, the author does not seem to have conducted a thorough technological assessment and supportable cost/benefit analysis of the proposal. I will just pick one example:The proposal states:"A comparison to commuter rail traffic in the New York to Washing DC corridor shows it is much less expensive to use Freedom Transit. The current Amtrack schedule:Amtrak Acela Express 2103 New York to Washington,fare $180.00 time 6:00 am & 8:00 am travel time 2 hr 50 min. The same route on Freedom Transit would be available 24/7 and cost $82.65 per vehicle not per passenger and travel time is 1 hr 30 min. 1 hr and 20 min faster. The $82.65 Freedom Transit fare includes the vehicle rental for the trip, the toll, and the energy used.”The distance DC-NY is 230 miles. For the travel time to be 1 h an 30 min as claimed, the average speed of the cars should be 153 mph. Therefore, max speed should exceed 180 mph to account for the low speed segments. First, there are no commercial EV’s that can sustain this speed currently, second, consumption for a single trip will be 350kWh just from basic aerodynamic calculation. A battery pack to support this amount of energy for a single trip will be prohibitively expensive (USD87500 for Tesla’s cost of $250/kWh) and weigh 1750 kg. If the author expects the cars to charge somehow while on the guideway, he did not say so and did not explain the technology to do so.And finally with regard to cost. Acela, has an already built and basically paid of infrastructure, so it only has to cover maintenance and yet they charge USD180 for the trip. How can a infrastructure with lower ridership, trying to pay of its capital cost, and with vehicles that cost a fortune, be cheaper? Where are the cost calculation to show this?Just by taking this corridor, the cost of building an elevated highway is estimated conservatively at USD40 million / mile i.e. USD9.2 billion for the DC-NY corridor. For a meager 5% return on investment, it would need a revenue of 460 million / year. Assuming that the super-expensive EV s could be rented for USD28 for the trip (which is the cost of an average zip car) it leaves a generous USD55 for the infrastructure. That means it would need 8.4 million vehicle trips /year to break even. In passengers, it would be perhaps 12.4 pax-trips /year. For comparison, Amtrak had a record of 3.3 million pax-trips in 2013 for the entire Acela corridor…So to summarize, I urge the author to focus on parts of the idea that do have promise (outlined above), and pay more attention and support the techno-economic assessment of the re-thought proposal. The proposal is interesting innovative and of great potential impact. I have always thought about something similar as the real solution for travelling and really hope this could be realized in the next future. My only big concern is about the costs. The authors say that the much lower costs with respect to the rail infrastructure are due to the fact that: "Transit is built over ground level traffic with no need to disturb existing roads". This is unclear. Are we speaking about a new infrastructure built over an existing freeway? How this could not interact with crossing roads? For instance with roads passing over the existing freeway? Much more explanations about these construction aspects and related costs are really needed.

Jim Berergi

Mar 28, 2015
02:33

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I am sorry I did not see this much earlier. It appears I did not make it very clear on the usage or the cost. I apparently missed typed the milage I had 103 and it should be 130 about. All of my calculation were based on 103. Let me correct my numbers and explain where they came from. Route 230 miles, Freedom transit fare is $109.27 rental car, toll, and energy. Travel time is 1 hr 39 min. at a constant speed of 140mph. To reduce energy costs platoons of 4 to 6 vehicles travel together at very close distances with the following vehicles drafting behind the one in front. Energy for the traveling group is shared equally reducing the cost per vehicle. These traveling groups are created on the fly and individual vehicles can exit the group at a station and a new vehicle can take its place or the group will close the gap. The elevated guideway construction cost including stations every 10 miles is $9.6 billion. The rental fleet of 36,000 vehicles will cost $1.4 billion. Total cost for 230 miles $11.billion. Revenue is based on ridership. The current traffic load along the route is about 300,000 AADT (Annual Average Daily Traffic). If we estimate that 30% of that traffic was to use Freedom Transit for at least some of the distance (there are stations every ten miles) and all the current rail and air traffic between the cities used it, we get the equivalent of about 190,000 full length trips per day. This volume will generate $3.7 billion annually, a $10,000 investor would get a $1,252 per year and the government for its 30% share of the cost would get $1,064 million per year in new taxes, which includes a portion of the energy revenue. I hope this helps clear up the misconceptions. I will try to answer questions in a more timely manner.

Jim Berergi

Mar 28, 2015
02:18

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Sometimes you just can't win. The number of estimated daily trips is 90,000 not 190,000 or 32,850,000 trips per year. The estimated cost of the dual mode electric vehicles is about $37,000 per.
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