Mass Transit

Are driverless cars a viable alternative to light rail?

Some distinguished scholars believe they are:

The failure to come to an agreement with Duke University has profoundly discouraged many advocates for mass transit in Durham and Chapel Hill. Even if Duke issues can be worked out, escalating costs are almost inevitable.

We propose that large, building-shaking trains be replaced with 6-9 passenger self-driving vehicles, propelled with plug-in technology (just like a Volt or Tesla automobile). Such vehicles would shake Duke medical buildings much less than an existing delivery truck, and the internal battery would not generate electro-magnetic interference. They would also have many other advantages.

My initial reaction to this was it is just a step above "people-pods," which have unfortunately captured the imagination of otherwise logical thinkers. In my opinion, taking the "Mass" out of Transit is a huge step in the wrong direction, and using an inappropriate example to back up your theory doesn't give me a warm fuzzy either:

Voting "Yes" on transit in Wake County a no-brainer

The demographics demand it:

The need for a comprehensive transit plan is urgent. Wake County is growing by 62 people daily – 22,600 annually. With a total population that exceeds 1 million, people need to be able to more easily get from place to place.

This transit referendum is Wake County’s chance to catch up with its neighbors with an adequately funded plan that will be coordinated with systems throughout the Triangle. Over the 10-years of the program, the modernization of the transportation system in the region will further enhance its attractiveness for economic development and job growth.

Every time I visit Raleigh for a meeting or event, I dread getting in and out of there. And no matter how much buffer time I add for traffic, I'm almost always late. It would be interesting (and depressing, I'm sure) to calculate all the lost production and earnings this traffic causes. Although Raleigh-Durham (sorry, I know some are sensitive to the marriage of the two) is not on this list of the top ten, it probably will be fairly soon:

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