The invention is a pandemic-proof mass transportation system that more than doubles the capacity of the existing right of ways of present day subways and light rail systems and dramatically reduces trip times. It is based on the efficient control of individual vehicles that transport from 1 to 4 passengers at 40 mph non-stop from their origin station to their destination station. It can be expanded in the future to transport passengers from door to door. Each vehicle can be disinfected by ultraviolet light after each use. The cost per journey would be much lower than current mass transit systems.
The first electric streetcar started operation near St. Petersburg, Russia in 1880, 140 years ago. Since that time, the basic design of mass transit systems such a light rail and subways has remained fundamentally the same. The basic design elements are:
- Large vehicles that can carry anywhere from 50 to 200 passengers per wagon.
- “Crush loads” at peak hours where most passengers are standing and crowded closely together.
- Frequent stops every 500 meters or so to allow for embarking and disembarking passengers.
- Transportation capacity of 7,200 (light rail) to 20,000 (subway) passengers per hour on any given line.
- Occasional non-availability of the system if a vehicle breaks down and blocks the line, or due to labour relations issues.
With the technology available today, it is possible to re-design the system so that:
- Every passenger is transported in an individual vehicle, that can also accommodate up to three or four other passengers if a family or small group of friends is traveling together.
- The vehicle travels non-stop from origin to destination at 40 mph greatly reducing trip times depending on the number of stops that would otherwise be made.
- Four tracks instead of one, so that the system is not blocked if one of the tracks becomes unavailable.
- The ultimate vehicle capacity per track can be raised up to 12,000 vehicles per hour, so that two out of the four tracks have a capacity of 24,000 vehicles, more than the capacity of a subway system.
The system would consist of:
- Vehicles similar to the ULTRA vehicles in use at Heathrow airport from the parking lot to terminal 5.
- Automatic lane changing technology such as in use in Tesla vehicles.
- A control system that would have to be designed from the ground up.
- Steel inserts into existing subway tunnels to divide the space into four lanes by dividing height and width into two.
- Complete re-design of stations to enable disembarkation of arriving vehicles and embarkation of departing vehicles, and including a lane for deceleration of arriving vehicles and acceleration of departing vehicles. This will be the main design challenge to meet the space requirements in any given station for the needed number of arriving and departing vehicles.