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Of course, that's a big if.
"A commuter service in Santa Barbara, California, USA, found average diesel bus efficiency of 6.0 mpg-US (39 L/100 km; 7.2 mpg-imp) (using MCI 102DL3 buses). With all 55 seats filled this equates to 330 passenger mpg; with 70% filled, 231 passenger mpg. "
Additionally, it need not be combustion-powered mass transit, but rather shuttle-or-train type transport, similar to the Chinese concept mentioned above. Again from Wikipedia:
"Considering only the energy spent to move the train, and taking as example the urban area of Lisbon, train seems to be on average 20 times more efficient than automobile for transportation of passengers, if we consider energy spent per passenger-km. Considering an automobile which has a consumptions of around 6 l/100 km (47 mpg-imp; 39 mpg-US) of gasoline, the fact the on average cars in Europe have an occupation ratio of around 1.2 passengers per automobile and that one litre of gasoline amounts for about 8826 Wh, one gets on average 441 Wh (1,590 kJ) per passenger-km. On the other hand, a modern urban train with an average occupation of 20% of total capacity, which has a consumption of about 8.5 kWh/km (31 MJ/km; 13.7 kWh/mi), one gets 21.5 Wh per passenger-km, 20 times less than the automobile."
Think about all the traffic jams that exist in busy cities, and how much less congestion there would be with an organised public transport system where each passenger takes a fraction of the space.
But keep the bubblecars for trips to rural/remote locations, and the elderly and disabled who need door to door service.
Perhaps a shuttle-type tram/train with 'pod docks' would be the ideal combination, maximising takeup, reducing stop frequency and offering end-to-end service for those who needed it.
I guess if they have no speakers and the internal beeper is disabled, the black hats will have to find another covert channel, though. Watch out for steganographic TCP/IP-over-Osciloscope.
Well, I lived there six years, and for the first four I couldn't wait to leave, but grew very fond of it in the last two. Not the architecture or the public transport hostile, spread out grid system, but the cultural side of Milton Keynes appeared to be flourishing in that time, and appears to continue to do so.
Numerous art centres, live music venues and leisure facilities, an active centre of business of commerce, and engulfing and adjoining various very pretty, but relatively affordable towns such as Stony Stratford, Woburn Sands and Newport Pagnell. But perhaps that's a grass-is-greener view now that I'm stuck in a sleepy town in South Bucks. If nothing else, you could get the hell out of the place really quickly using the express train on the Euston line.
I think part of the cultural expansion is the financial vortex effect of London, pushing prices up throughout the home counties. It's about the first place outside the London ring of property inflation that the unsavoury artistic classes can afford. But I guess I shouldn't say any more, lest it becomes the next Hoxton...