What to do to move ahead to low CO2 emission low energy auto and bus transportation ?

Automatic traffic cameras on a pole make money for the city. Why not switch to autonomous vehicles that don't break traffic laws?
My vehicle, a 1993 Dodge V6 van has around 249,000 miles and I have a really bad leak from the water pump. It is Tuesday night and I can't realistically work on the car until Saturday because replacing the $40 water pump is an 8+ hour job. (Home mechanic repair projects take longer than professional mechanic repairs.)

This state of affairs has caused me to ask three questions:
  1. Is there for sale a reasonably priced low CO2 and low energy solution to replace my tired piece of 20th century automobile machinery?
  2. Can I build an electric motorcycle or electric car with present day parts to do my present commute?
  3. Can I reasonably ride the bus to work? Even for just  4 days?
  4. Can I find a ride sharing arrangement for tomorrow morning?
The answers are: Question 1 is, apparently not. Question 2 is not right away.  Question 3 is last time I looked the bus ride was >2 hours. Question 4 is "I doubt."

What are the reasonable changes that can be made today to improve the lame choices available?

Changes to the California American automobile economic and technical framework:

The goals are:
  • Make not-driving as economically rewarding as driving.
  • Raise the load factor of many vehicles on the road by means of ride sharing.
  • Create a technical solution to drunk and distracted driving by bringing autonomous vehicle control technology to the existing fleet of vehicles. 

  • Modify the automobile liability insurance and vehicle tax structure to make the cost of driving a car mostly linear where there is very little charge applied to a vehicle which is parked and not driven for a whole day. 
  • Provide a vehicle information and control interface, like a USB jack.  Provide a "pay and drive" device that logs the use of the car and communicates the use to the insurance provider and state. This "pay and drive" device would be a small computer, a GPS receiver and a data transmission cell phone. The pay and drive device would be attached (as by a usb connection) to the vehicle computer and dashboard instruments of the car. When the car is driven, then the pay and drive device deducts a daily insurance and daily license charge from the owner's prepaid account.
The result is the car owner is literally free of car insurance and license charges every day the vehicle is not driven.
  •  Connect the automobile to a cell phone device that runs applications. Create a ride sharing application that would enable a specific vehicle to accept a rider when the vehicle is being operated in a repeating commute pattern.
  • Create the legal and financial structure for ride sharing to reimburse the ride provider and provide insurance and a measure of personal safety.

........................  Continue .......

Questions for a Transit Agency Board of Directors Member

A bicycle rider on Devil's Slide, Highway 1, San Mateo County. Photo taken through a side view mirror. At least 100 cars passed the cyclist as he pedaled uphill from Pacifica
Questions about what are the limiting factors the Board of Directors has struggled with over the past year.

What are the boundary lines or limiting factors that the Board of Directors winds up engaging with?

Of these following items, how would you rename the items and then which are the biggest factors:
  • Other transit agencies with other transit activities removing SamTrans funding.
  • Difficulties arranging drivers and staff to do new projects.
  • Restrictive terms of Federal and State funding
  • Problems getting bus stops and cooperation of cities and city traffic engineers.
  • Business closures and changes in the need for specialized transit service.  
I would like to ask you to tell me about one or two transit service developments that the Board of Directors have considered that might change the basic productivity or patronage ratio of the public transit institution.

What are some projects the transit agency has tried that involve cooperation with private transportation organizations like taxi and charter bus services?


Has the Board of Directors developed a request for more freedom of operation from the State?
 
Has the Board of Directors discussed seeking changes in the SamTrans State enabling legislation and changes in the State anti-dumping and anti-trust laws to enable cooperation with private transit providers?

What are some of the technical innovations the Board of Directors is working on?

Has the Board of Directors explored modifying buses for autonomous operation? If equipped for autonomous operation, one bus driver could lead a caravan of 3 or 4 buses for a heavily traveled section of road.

Has the Board of Directors explored creating an electric bus using ultracapacitors and frequent recharging at bus stops?

Has the Board of Directors explored forming a business and technology partnership with a non-profit foundation and several local Colleges to initiate a local technology leap with business formation possibilities?

Has the Board of Directors explored schedule and route innovations using methods of operational research, network theory,  game theory and topology?

Has the Board of Directors explored operating it's own cell phone and data network? This would facilitate electronic payment, trip coordination, and work-while-you-ride value exchange.

Has the Board of Directors explored lobbying the State to create an automobile insurance and licensing fee structure to facilitate the decline of the California automobile population into a "drive occasionally" status.

Has the Board of Directors explored doing a marketing study and service prototype to characterize the service parameters required to effectively allow freight carts on the public bus?

A kind of energy and economic advancement plan

A tempered glass sliding door, shattering and about to drop out of the frame

You can read a document like an economic recovery plan as a statement from a person about what that person knows, sees and values in his society and life.



Here is my list of the "really big problems". 
No reasonable economic recovery plan can directly address these items. These problems need to be divided into smaller units and the equilibrium shifted so the nation will drift in the right direction.

  • The United States has undergone a 40 year period of increase in the price of single family residential homes. The price increase appears to have peaked and receded to dollar amounts common in the years 2000 to 2006.
  • The United States (in October 2010) is in a state of high unemployment. 
  • It appears that large numbers of unemployed persons in 2010, when they do become re-employed move to lower wage work and sometimes part-time work.
  • There appears to be a 30 year trend of de-industrialization in the United States. Except for food, many items one might buy in a department store or hardware store or auto parts store are made off shore, and most commonly, in China.
  • The reciprocal benefits of lowering trade barriers, eliminating protected industries, and seeking "free trade" are not resulting in a surge of high value American made products being sold over seas. 
We have had a good solid 50 years of conservative politicians saying the United States government will be made insolvent due to rising expenses caused by entitlements.
  • Namely the Social Security system, the Medicare health insurance system for older people, and  welfare support for children, orphans and the disabled. 
  • There also is a chorus of complaints that American public elementary and secondary education is yet another "entitlement" that costs too much and produces too few educated people.
In the transportation area, we have another series of problems:

  • The car - bus dialogue is caught between the same service and cost problems that have existed since privately owned public transportation systems began economically failing before World War II.
  • Gasoline presently sells for (On October 9, 2010, Pacifica, California Shell station) $3.19 per gallon and there is no visible change in the vehicle mix or commute habits of Californians I see. At best, there is a modest increase in usage of the public  bus.
  • While I see internet advocacy, there does not seem to be any major movement to reduce the Carbon emissions resulting from automobiles driven by individuals.
  • As an individual, I am caught in a relatively high commute CO2 emission situation, and I don't see any pathway opening to do my existing job with a shorter commute or a much cleaner commute vehicle.

    In the military area, the nation is still caught in a high expenditure situation.

    • The September 11, 2001 Twin Tower and Pentagon attacks have created a strong philosophical agreement between the American military and a group of religious fanatics. Both sides agree that military force is the only way to dispute the ideology voiced by the fanatics.  
    • The vulnerability of these 6th Century AD religious fanatics to non-force based marginalization is simply forfeited. We have no significant social presence, literacy or intellectual presence in their culture.
    • On our side, the American military operates a very high energy consumption activity.
    • Some critics suggest that the military actions we are engaged in will continue for ten more years at least (that is 2020).



    So these are the broad problems to be addressed in an economic recovery package?

    How to write an economic recovery plan

    The light is green as traffic in Burlingame, California speeds past the waiting red light camera.

    Here is an example of an economic recovery plan:

    http://philip.greenspun.com/politics/economic-recovery

    Here is a case study of the kind of employment and life problem that should be addressed by an economic recovery plan:

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175304/tomgram:_andy_kroll,_the_face_of_an_american_lost_generation/

    An economic recovery plan is a description of a course of action that will affect the life of a group of people in America.

    1. Your plan needs one or more structural axes. Examples are changes in a tax, a subsidy or some other kind of financial encouragement.
    2. Your plan needs to describe an area of cost and an area of benefit.
    3. What beliefs or folklore does your plan benefit?
    4. What popular delusion does your plan engage with?
    5. How is your plan going to alter the status quo?
    6. Who are the groups that are at the center of your concerns. 
    7. What is an example of a single person who will typically benefit from your planned action?
    8. Are you going to recreate a state of affairs from a time in the past?
    9. Are you going to create a new future?