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  • Eric Johansson

    after I finish my last post, it occurred to me. Good needs an electric vehicle test pilot. I'm volunteering because New England weather challenges most vehicles

  • Eric Johansson

    try this calculation. The cost of daily public transportation into the cost of the electric bicycle. Frequently you will find that powered two wheeled transportation is cheaper and more time and space considerate than public transit. I remember some article a few years ago about electric bikes in China. The bike cost of purchasing and operating was less than that of transit tickets.

    so before trying to build a better public transit system, think about how people use the space within the city. Be considerate of their time. Most of all, don't be afraid to say that for short distances (under 5 miles) public transit is not suitable as a solution.

    Personally, I would focus on using electric scooters to displace the two-stroke engines so very common in that part of the world. I would also focus on building a high-quality interurban transit system.

    Let me give you an example of why: I have a much loved friend 350 miles away. When I take the bus, I need to drive for 15 minutes to get to the bus station. Ride for five hours, wait 60 to 90 minutes, take a second leg for another two hours, drive a half-hour and I am at my destination. If I drive, it costs me about maybe $10 more than the bus and takes around six hours total time versus 9-10 hours. When ever I can afford it, I will take a car instead of the bus and spend more time with my important person instead of sitting in the presence of people that want no interactions with me.

    Now the question becomes how do you keep me on public transportation. The answer is cut the travel time in half at the same cost as I'm paying now. I think you'll find other people are of the same mind and if you can make public transportation faster (door-to-door) then you will have loyal customers.

    • Adele Peters

      Thanks, Eric, these are excellent points. Electric scooters definitely seem (from my outsider's perspective) like they would be a valuable part of the solution. I wonder how they could be marketed to be preferable to a car, for those who can now afford cars....

      Absolutely agree that public transportation needs to do the job better (faster and cheaper) if people are going to use it when they have the option to drive. When you visit your friend, if you had an affordable way to take high-speed rail, would you take it? I love taking the train (vs. driving or even flying) for medium distance trips, but it's so rarely a feasible option.

      • Eric Johansson

        marketing? http://litmotors.com/ is an interesting option for moving people from cars were those wishing to move up from scooters. I see its main advantage is having better protections against the environment and accidents.

        electric scooters are valuable because they fit culturally into the environment. They are a change in in a familiar framework with a huge benefit. Seriously, the two-stroke motors are really ugly from a pollution perspective. but back to electric scooters, I would love to get one and document my life on electric two wheels. I would especially love the document how it affects something went food shopping. For example, today I can walk to a supermarket which takes about 20 minutes one-way. Purchase a backpack full of groceries and then walk home. Or I can drive the same distance, purchase a shopping carts worth of groceries, pay 30% less, and then drive home in the same time it takes me to walk. How would an electric Scooter change that dynamic? I would gladly accept an electric scooter, helmet, and full top to bottom motorcycle suit (all gear all the time) should you have any spare sugar mil$. :-)

        I would take high-speed rail but it's got to cost no more than $40 one-way and the cost of high-speed rail are so high, they couldn't make money at that price. Remember, the transportations from minor city to minor city. From what I can tell, they are having a hard enough time making high-speed rail profitable between Boston, New York, and DC. run between Lowell ma and Allentown, Scranton, or state college PA and cost becomes significantly higher.

        some fundamental economic math behind this problem is that the bigger the train, the cheaper the cost because you distribute the cost of the rail bed over a greater number of passengers. It's the railroad equivalent of the rocket equation. One way to reduce the impact of this railroad equation is to make sure your cars are always full. You can do this two ways. Either run a smaller number of times in the day which has the side effect of driving people to their cars because the train doesn't run when they want to go or make the cars smaller and let people self aggregate and determine their own departure times.

        I am wondering if optimizing buses by giving them clear access to roads, priority on Lane's, higher speed limit, etc. would be a good interim solution.

        Boston to New York is 214 miles. Buses take 4.5 hours which means an average speed of 48 mph. Approximately 1 hour of that time is spent getting into and out of cities. I'm guessing the average speed is somewhere around 20-25 miles an hour. Double the end speeds and you knock off a half an hour plus from the total transit time. If we could up the average speed to 70 miles an hour, we would cut the transit time to three hours. Now we are starting be competitive with high-speed rail without laying a single line of track. engineering for safety, energy efficiency etc. is manageable. It's been done before and has a huge win.

        Work the math sometime, you might be delightfully surprised