Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Future Of The Best Ground Transportation System.

When the hurricanes hit Louisiana the people who were left behind were those who didn't have their own transportation out of the city. When the hurricanes hit Texas, people got out early, but the highways were jammed for miles slowing down the evacuation.

There are a few lessons of the disastrous hurricane season last year that don't get talked about much.

First, people who rely on public transportation are at the mercy of others. Under ordinary circumstances that might mean nothing more than inconvenient schedules. But when disaster strikes, having to rely on public transportation could be fatal.

Second, people who have their own cars are empowered in a disaster because they can rely on themselves to get out of town and out of danger. People should own cars.

Third, the priority for public spending on transportation remains roads. In normal times more roads are needed to increase capacity. In disasters more roads are needed so that people who need to leave town to get out of danger can do so.

Another way to go is to increase the capacity of current roads. This story about research on intelligent automobiles looks like a promising technology for improving highway capacity and safety at the same time. (Here.)


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Yes, those who owns their own cars are more mobile and have more options. But those who didn't own cars in New Orleans had options. They could have take trains and buses out.

The failure here falls mainly on the shoulders of Mayor Nagin to act and to follow his own evacuation plan (by using the school buses).

The people of New Orleans and Louisana must decide on whether they want more and bigger roads or not. The also need to vote in some competent leadership.
> First, people who rely on public transportation are
> at the mercy of others.

Yes, and when it comes to space transportation, Americans have been standing at the side of the road for 40 years.

Even the US military does not have human access to space. The first country that develops a reusable military spaceplane will control outer space, and right now, it does not look like that country will be the US.

If you can understand why private transportation is superior to public "shuttles" on land, why do you think space exploration should continue to rely on central planning and government space shuttles?
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