A note before we begin: Francis D. Reynolds, P. E. and a promoter of the dualmode concept for possibly ten years is credited for many of the thoughts and some of the material within this Web site. I have drawn much insight from a copy of his book, "THE REVOLUTIONARY DUALMODE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM." This book is free online here.
To establish a metropolitan transportation system that will appeal to a very large percentage of resident commuters because it offers on-demand, door-to-door service; (by all other transportation standards) it is very fast, safe, quiet, nearly pollution free, and more cost effective in terms of people per mile transported in both infrastructure costs and operating costs; it is visually appealing; it will use energy from sources other than petroleum, and it will solve today’s freeway congestion problems without buying more right-of-way.
It Is Achievable
The goal at first glance might seem as quite a challenge and perhaps not achievable. Actually, the concept that will achieve this goal has been around for thirty or so years in various forms, and all facets of the goal are very achievable, as we shall see.
An important precept is that people are in love with the convenience of on-demand, door-to-door transportation (our cars), and we are not willingly going to give this up. If our mission is to reduce or eliminate freeway congestion and reduce smog, we will want to design a system that will be user friendly and appeal to a large majority of commuters who are now causing the freeway congestion and the smog.
Combining Transportation Systems
If we think about how we could combine the personal automobile with a mass transportation system, we will have a good beginning. The personal automobile provides us with on-demand, door-to-door transportation. We want to retain that. Furthermore, if we look at statistics, we find that the average number of persons per vehicle during high traffic times is about 1.2 persons per vehicle. This should tell us that a small two-passenger vehicle could put a huge dent in our traffic problem if we figure out how to apply it in a high capacity, mass transit environment.
If we could figure out how to incorporate this small vehicle into some sort of rail or guideway, very high capacity, fully automated system that takes our vehicles from our chosen entrance points to our destinations without stopping, we would have a possible solution. We must be mindful of our other goals as we continue to work toward our solution, however.
Offer Something Better
If we could offer something better than driving the freeway to all of the commuters traveling on the freeway by themselves or with one other, the freeways would primarily be occupied by trucks and a shrinking percentage of cars not able to travel the guideways. Walla! No more freeway traffic congestion. And by making the guideway system fully automatic, we would eliminate a huge percentage of accidents since most accidents are caused by driver error.
Clean Up the Environment
Now let’s make the vehicles and the guideway system electric. Poof! The smog and air pollution are reduced in a major way. Let’s design the system so that magnets levitate the vehicles. That should make the system pretty much noise free, and it will certainly help with regard to system maintenance, wear and tare.
Appeal to a Large Percentage of Commuters
One of our goals is to make the system visually appealing. Another is to provide a system that will appeal to a very large percentage of commuters. As stated above, if we can appeal to the lone commuter and those commuting with one other, we will easily achieve our goal. Thus, to keep to our intended purposes, we will choose to build an elegant, graceful, unobtrusive overhead guideway system designed to handle the load of these small vehicles or similar vehicles that might be emergency type vehicles, special handicap vehicles, or small freight vehicles, etc.
Make the System Affordable
We will get into the cost effective part in more much more detail later. We will further establish here that we will not need to purchase any more right-of-way as we intend to utilize the medians and rights-of-ways already provided by our present freeway system. (There might be some minor exceptions at high traffic entrance and exit ramps because we will need parallel ramps at these locations.)
Getting There Quickly Without Hassle
Finally, we want speed. To achieve speed, we will also need system capacity because we don’t like to wait in lines. We want to arrive at our destination quickly, without hassle. A good design goal for a metropolitan system is to have the entire system operate at 60 mph. That is, once on the guideway, you will travel at 60 mph to your destination without stopping. You will enter a ramp that will take control of your vehicle, increase its speed to 60 mph and place you on the guideway in a vacant spot. Likewise, upon exiting, the system will remove you from the guideway and decelerate you while putting you on your chosen exit ramp. During your ride on the guideway, you will be able to work on your laptop, or read a book, or whatever.
System capacity is just as important as speed when we talk about getting there quickly. We will show in detail later how one one-way guideway with vehicles moving at 60 mph will equal 12 one-way freeway lanes of traffic. Unbelievable!
Dualmode or More Congestion
Now if this all sounds very interesting, you are encouraged to read on because you will learn that such a system (known as DUALMODE) is doable with current technology, and, in fact, must be started immediately. According to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, our freeway system congestion will be getting much worse EVEN WITH the changes they plan to make in our transportation system through the year 2025.