My favorite transportation system has always been Doug Malewicki's "Skytran" system. It uses lightweight, individual two or four passenger maglev pods that run on lightweight tracks. It's "on demand" which means very little waiting, and can take you where you want to go, non stop. The cost is also a fraction of light rail and far less visually intrusive.
This thing has been around for a number of years now. I don't know why it hasn't been tried out, even on a limited scale such as at an airport.
Why is it that zipline transit corridors are not part of the discussion. Talk about cheap to build and gravity being the power source. Of course there are weather related problems with such a system, but thats when other systems could kick in.
Nicolas Zart
We're only one step away from Star Trek transportation!
Terraspan is actually a power storage system and transmission system that doubles as a transportation system.
The actual implementation designs call for a High Voltage D.C. power backbone which builds out from multiple points along its diagonal subsurface distribution from Eastern Canada across NorthEastern US to L.A. and NorthWest Mexico. Superconductivity is added as it becomes economic to each section and is updated by being switched out to the HVDC backbone.
Each one of the build outs distributes alternate power from wind, solar or other sources earning its keep in POWER LOSS savings with-in three to five years.
The Huge, Ultra-Safe Transport Cars initially will transport freight alone as they prove their ability to operate reliably at thousands of miles per hour. At these speeds free of the weather and terrorist threats these cars store immense amounts of potential energy that they can return to the Grid or absorb from the Grid in milliseconds, more can be added at will to create terawatt storage UNLIKE ANY FULL GRID SYSTEM PROPOSED TODAY.
Like the great national highway system which was originally built to support national emergency needs, Terraspan can respond to emergency needs in North America in a way no other systems have the capacity or speed to respond.
Leon Gray
I think Skytran is by far the best way to way, can handle just a few passengers to quite many. LAX or John Wayne to Los Angeles and Disney Land would fill a huge gap at a minimum cost.
The straddling bus, unfortunately, is unworkable. It brings more problems than other solutions.
There's an elephant in the room that should be recognized and that's the need to move our physical bodies to different locations at all. Virtual reality technology will get to the point where it's difficult to tell the difference between being there in the flesh vs being virtually there. Think about how much we can save if we don't have to do the daily trek to and from work or to other cities. Of course there will always be a place in our hearts for getting to a beach or such for recreation but "rush hour" is a purely work-driven problem and one that probably isn't usually necessary.
Don't we need to clarify the transport problem each system is trying to resolve? A quick guide & dirty view of our transport requirements would be: 1 - Intra-City journeys (i.e. shopping, commuting) 2 - Inter-City journeys (weekend breaks, business meetings) 3 - Extra-City journeys (not the best name, but journeys to low population density places, such as the beach, foest where infrastructre costs need to be kept low) 4 - Inter-Country journeys (holidays, business, jet set lifestyle...!) 5- Inter-Planetary/Space (not yet, but category for Sky elevator & orbital maglev)
Now we can set about tackling each of them, and any potential cross over. However doubt any single system will cover all these requirements.
Rich Mansfield
My favorite solution: jitneys, which simply go back and forth on a busy thoroughfare (such as Wilshire Blvd in LA), picking up and discharging passengers at any point along the way. You may be riding with two or three strangers for a short distance, but it's not a problem in cities where I've used them. And there's no need for laying track.
Now add to that two wrinkles: recycling vegetable oil (restaurants currently pay someone to pick up their used oil; where is that being used now? Why not distribute it to gas stations for pumping into our cars?) as fuel for diesel engines, and autonomous vehicles like the ones Google is developing.
No mention was made of Louis Brennan's gyroscopic single-rail railway!?! To my mind THIS concept has advantages over that Straddling Bus. Who wants to traver through a "mobile cavern"? The single-rail concept of Louis Brennan could occupy a single rail, and yet be elevated above the roofs of automobiles, and even travel down the median strip of a two-way highway.