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Comment: Re:No self driving trains? (Score 2, Interesting) 393

Self-driving trains exist. Vancouver's subway is self-driving. But installing the self-driving signalling system on existing rail lines is expensive. And unions oppose anything that will decrease the number of railway workers. Since a single union has a monopoly on transit work in each city, they have immense power and get essentially anything that they want.

Comment: Re:carsickness (Score 1) 435

by bluegutang (#49675147) Attached to: Will Robot Cars Need Windows?

People who get car sick need windows. Nuff said.

Not just "people who get carsick". Everyone.

When I first started commuting to work by bus, I would take out my laptop and stare into it for the duration of the ride (for email, browsing, sometimes actual work). Very quickly I found myself getting carsick. And I NEVER get carsick - not in a car, not in a bus, not in a trip of any length. What was happening was by looking out the window, I was able to see the vehicle accelerating and mentally process this and retain a sense of balance. But if I stared nonstop into my laptop, the acceleration without any context would disorient and nauseate me. What I do now is look out the window out of the corner of my eye while I'm typing, which allows me to use the laptop while maintaining a sense of balance and not getting carsick.

Of course, in a self-driving car you'd be able to cover the windows if you so chose, like in an airplane. I can imagine that on long freeway rides this might be worthwhile. Come to think of it, vans and buses already have this option.

Comment: Re:What is the cost of NOT doing it? (Score 1) 515

CAHSR projects running about 8 trains per hour during peak hours, carrying about 6000 people per hour in each direction. That is about the capacity of a 3 lane freeway. So basically the alternative to HSR in California is building another freeway along the whole length of the state.

Comment: Re:More than $100 (Score 1) 515

Nobody takes a plane instead of Eurostar. While Southwest will survive on its many other routes, their SFO to LAX route is doomed.

Correct, but I don't think "doomed" is the right word. Airlines nowadays are happy to offload their short-range traffic to high speed rail, because they make their money on the long-distance flights, not on the 45 minute flights that spend more time getting up and then down again than actually flying somewhere.

Comment: Re:Money (Score 3, Interesting) 140

by bluegutang (#49567751) Attached to: New Privacy Threat: Automated Vehicle Occupancy Detection

In reality they just eat up a lane of traffic that could otherwise be used to alleviate rush hour congestion. It might be different if they actually ADDED HOV lanes instead of taking one of the normal lanes and rebranding it. After all, who's going to get into a car with a bunch of strangers, and not have a vehicle when they reach their destination?

That's why the more recent trend is to build HOT lanes, which can also be used by anyone willing to pay a toll (HOVs can use it for free). The toll is dynamically adjusted based on how congested the road is, so that the HOT lane always has a significant amount of traffic but is never congested.

This solves your problem, and also gives people a reason to carpool (no tolls) which maximizes the number of people able to use the road.

Comment: Re:Take me now, Lord (Score 4, Informative) 285

Mexico is not so poor anymore. Its per capita income is similar to some European countries (like Bulgaria), and higher than that in the border regions with the US. Combined with the stagnant US economy, this means fewer Mexicans want to work in the US than in the past.

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy