Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Moving Platforms

The idea of feeder trains handing off passengers to expresses that never stop is interesting, but I can't help feeling that it requires too much technology that has to to work exactly as planned in exactly on schedule every single time.  Frankly, I see a lot of stalled feeder/express pairs clogging up the lines because they couldn't uncouple safely before the turn off.  Also, this would only work if the entire infrastructure of the railway system was not just replaced, but redesigned on a basic level and then rebuilt from scratch.  Given the already staggering coast of rail travel and its unpopularity, only the Chicoms would be crazy enough to buy this.

The ironic thing is that Priestman invokes the Internet as his inspiration.  What he seems to forget is that the digital networks, like motor cars and aeroplanes, aren't as dependant on massive infrastructure as railways and telephone systems.  We live in an age where a Third World country can have an entire telecommunications system installed without stringing a single wire.  Odds are, the transportation system of the future will be based on cars and planes: Intelligent, flexible systems where the components and software  they run on are more important than the roadways and airways.

1 comment:

eon said...

I've head other "outside the box 'thinkers'" draw parallels between the Internet and mass transit, cargo hauling, etc. And I wonder where they went to school. It was obviously some place that doesn't teach physics.

The Internet "moves" data as electrical impulses signifying zeros and ones- binary notation.

Solid objects, like cargo or people, are just that- solid. And possess an attribute that Net data does not- called mass.

Moving electrical impedance values through wires or radio waves, and moving solid objects, Ain't The Same Freaking Thing!! In fact, it isn't even close.

When somebody develops an actual, working, Honest-To-Montgomery Scott Star Trek type transporter, then we can talk about parallels between moving data and moving actual things. Until then, the "Internet" is a poor choice of architecture for any plan regarding movement of things in the real world.