This map of Scenic Rail Melbourne shows the limits of highly profitable transport, with stops typically within 2km. The network to comprise:
* 733km of two-way 10m high guide-rail on poles,
* 3 accessible stops/km, 100 fully automatic podcars/km,
* 5 vehicles waiting at all stops 24/7, with video surveillance,
* podcars to carry 5 people, a wheelchair, bikes or 400kg freight,
* podcars to be private, with personal routes between any two stops,
* speeds to be 70kph, express, with off-line stops & grade separations,
* operating cost to be 5c/vehicle-km, energy costs to be 10 times lower than existing modes,
* pricing to under-cut all competitors and profits to be large,including self-funding of track, vehicles and stops at $13M/km,
* reliability to be extreme, with redundant routes,
* directional capacity to be one vehicle/second,
* test: by year 2, pilot route: by year 3, complete network: by year 8.
QGIS with Open Street Map, JC June 2020
Footnote: The transport sector is handcuffed by entrenched modes, principally cars, trains, buses and trams. Bikes and walking are not accessible. Potentially stranded investments must be maintained, but with “least regret” in mind. Private cars offer the best personal service, that can be improved by better network operation, and by road pricing that reduces equity, but cars can never be safe enough, never fast enough, and traffic incidents are impossible to prevent. Existing public transport is a lower standard of living, with even slower trip times and poor security.
New technology, as exampled, is actually simpler than driver-less cars, safe, secure, unobtrusive, much faster, cheaper and more reliable than cars, profitable so creating more jobs, and 10 times more sustainable than existing modes. Profits should cross-subsidise rural transport for equity. Hopefully, the option for better service and profits will prompt cautiously breaking the market failure.
Socialism in Melbourne public transport has created twice the taxpayer burden than in Beijing, according to Infrastructure Australia! The outcome is an antiquated system, with heavy regimentation, little flexibility, poor security, low speeds, low reliability and high cost. Despite proposed massive funding, that we can’t afford, performance will continue to deteriorate.
One rational alternative is to bring high-tech scenic rail into production for a pilot route, demonstrating that private vehicles with personal routes can go anywhere and can integrate with bikes, wheelchairs and freight. Rational means profitable, so self-funding, even with fare-matching to be politically feasible. No cancellation of existing contracts or concessions is proposed. The key to the concept is light weight, 300kg vehicles on exclusive track, with smooth running.
A grid network, not just radial, with spacing similar to existing rail, but more intense at the CBD and at major stadiums, should produce sufficient profit to cross-subsidise a key rural network. Speeds would be three times higher (no stopping), vehicles would be reliable, immediately available, 24/7, and security strong. The ability to carry bikes, electric scooters and wheelchairs provides an efficient “last mile” option with no exposure at stops.
The network grid shown is 733km long with stops within 2km. Finer networks with stops within 800m and 500m were drawn with lengths of 1,280km and 1,745km respectively, but they would be less profitable according to their length, yet still require considerable use of supplementary modes. The 2km option is a reasonable bike or electric scooter trip, and is achievable with a motorized wheelchair. The 1,745km network alternative follows.