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Pitch

Build the world's first solar-powered mobility network from Kendall Square to Somerville.


Description

Summary

Massachusetts Senate Bill #1837 will allow the building of solar-powered mobility networks base on simple requirements:

  • Build with private capital.
  • Operate without government subsidies.
  • Exceed a Performance Standard of 120 passenger-miles per gallon.
  • Exceed the safety of existing transport modes approved the a rights of way.
  • Pay 5% of gross revenues to the rights of way holders (typically local governments).
  • Regulated by the ASTM F24 Technical Committee (theme park standards). This provides an existing insurance industry, enforcement industry, and common law.


JPods are a version Personal Rapid Transit (PRT or podcars) that exceeds the requirements of Senate Bill #1837. JPods has been working with the City of Somerville to use the #1837 approach to build an initial solar-powered mobility network from Kendall Square to Prospect Hills as part of a larger plan for the Grand Junction route


Which proposals are included in your plan and how do they fit together?


Explanation of the emissions scenario calculated in the Impact tab

JPods networks gather about 5 megawatt-hours of solar energy per day. This equates to about 40,000 vehicle-miles of power per mile of rail per day.

As JPods networks grow, congestion will be reduced and urban transport of people can cargo can be powered within a solar budget.


What are the plan’s key benefits?

The people of Massachusetts spend about $19.9 billion per year on traffic:

 

Building about 600 miles of JPods networks in the Boston metroplex will reduce oil-powered mobility by about 70%. This network can be built in 3 years with private capital. It costs about 56 cents/car-mile and only about 4 cents/JPods vehicle-mile to operate. This 10x cost savings is what will support private capital building and operating the networks.

Based on the history of the Morgantown PRT network, this network will pay for itself about every 5-10 years. See Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (COTA) Study PB-244854 for how American cities can be independent of foreign oil.

Putting protected bike paths under the JPods rails will make biking safe. 

 


What are the plan’s costs?

JPods networks are funded by JPods. But  for background, the costs are about $10 million per mile with the first 20-30 miles costing 2 to 3 times the typical cost.


What are the key challenges to enacting this plan?

Radically safer and more efficient transportation networks are well understood:

  • The Morgantown PRT network has delivered 110 million injury-free, oil-free passenger-miles since opening in 1975. In that same period 1.7 million American have been killed on the highway network. 

 

  • The 140,000 miles of freight railroads in the US average 476 ton-miles per gallon. Yet since The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 removed efficiency as a market force, the government highway monopoly caused the abandonment of about 120,000 miles of freight rail. 

 

Similar to the near century of rotary telephones under the Federal communications monopoly, the barrier to innovating cleaner, faster, safer, and more affordable mobility networks is Federal central planning favoring highways. In 1974 the COTA study PB-244854 warned of "institutional failures" as the greatest barrier to PRT.

Massachusetts Senate Bill #1837 corrects the current defect.


Timeline

JPods can build the Kendall Sqare to Prospect Hill network within 8 months of passage of Massachusetts Senate Bill #1837. 

Within 3 years 600 miles of solar-powered mobility networks can be built in the Boston metroplex.

Within 10 years 6,000 miles of solar-powered mobility networks can be built in Massachusetts.


Related plans

No Foreign Oil by 2020


References

Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (COTA) Study PB-244854
 

Vast number of other studies (link).