Meshforum – David Levinson

Transportation networks – networks (like railroads) can’t easily be reconfigured  – you can’t turn a rail station to an airport.

We have fast, empty trains – we don’t think about empty trains when no one is there to use them. Bureaucracy runs trains regardless of who rides.

Ocean travel – Containers=packet switched networks. Longshoreman shut down west coast ports – this is an issue. And, there are not uniform packet sizes, example, lumber from BC – trees are different sizes.

Transportation enables communication (large passenger ship repurposed to lay trans-atlantic cables.

Canal system in England – first links built are generally the longest-lasting.

Street cars– peaked in 1920s, spike in the WWII timeframe, then people bought cars, and transit ridership declined for 50 years. Late 70’s with oil price spikes ridership increases, and now with oil prices high again, ridership is up, but transit only serves 5% of commuters.

Judge Doom and Roger Rabbit – GM buying street cars and converting to buses. Buses were the new technology.

Turnpikes– at the toll plaza someone laid a weapon across the barrier, and until you paid money, he wouldn’t turn his pike. Shun pikes and route-arounds became common.

New tech of Turnpikes bring about new businesses like Motels and ‘fast food’ as well as cemetaries.

Autos – 1780s– steam engines, 1840s in London steam carriages. Takes years to perfect, early autos did not have all working controls.

Boom in Plank Roads in the 1850s – cut lumber across roads, much smoother than gravel. Popular in large forest states. They lasted for 7–8 years when predicted to last for 16 years, doubling costs. Revenue didn’t justify it.

Toll roads – discussion of net neutrality vs quality of service. Gas tax financing vs toll road financing – By the 80’s faded out.

Gas tax money goes to maintainince.

Flat fee for net service and you get any bits you want = net neutrality – once you subscribe you should get whatever bits you want – this is lke paying for road with Gas Tax, so it should pay for all serivce.

Toll roads have a ‘higher quality of service’ – they differentiate – they should provide better pavement (especially true in developing world). In some places they’re doing HOT links or High Occupancy lanes – old HOV lanes, and allowing single passengers to use it when paying a premium and lets them go faster. San Diego is trying this. Called “managed lanes” in the Transport world.

Idea of ‘Magic bullet’ – quality+demand + economies of scale minus cost (Chart – this doesn’t show it well). The more people using transit, the more frequent it will show. Diagram of how networks work.

Tech changes but gauge stays the same – the Roman Cart width doesn’t work as well now with modern trains – wider carriage trains would be more stable around curves and carry more people faster (if it were required).

Tankers were smaller in WWII, now new tankers are bigger, many ports can’t handle these super tankers (Baltimore can’t handle, Panama Canal is too small for some of them).

On highways, lanes are 12’ wide now. Cars are 6’–7’ wide. With no passenger, Half capacity is unused if we reconceived cars for one or two, and we could have narrow lanes or mixed lanes.

Segway – larger range than walking but more efficient than Cars.

Personal Rapid transit idea – need to build both network and vehicle. The only other time we’ve built transport and network was the 1830s for the train system.

Automated highways – can’t build without automated cars – and vice versa, no one buys automated cars w/o highway.

Boom bust cycle – people look backwards to forecast – we miss early upside and late downside.  The Transportation Experience 

The Diffusion of Innovation – Evert Rogers