Thursday, 12 January 2012


Paleo Future looks at slidewalks; Future Past's pedestrian version of the monorail and about as successful.

And here's one we made earlier


Daniel said...

Whilst the moving walkway as mass transit system (a la Trantor in Asimov's Foundation) has its advantages, specifically very high capacity and ease of getting on and off, it will probably be implemented.

Unlike vehicle-based mass transit systems, moving walkways do not have graceful degradation. When a train breaks down, all that is required is to haul it off the main line (or just route the other trains around it); when a moving walkway breaks down, the entire system grinds to a halt until the problem is rectified.

Given a high enough level of reliability, the system could be successfully implemented, but it would still be more vulnerable to breakdowns. It's also difficult to perform maintenance without shutting the system down.

eon said...


Utopians will always dream of slidewalks, because they are (a) so egalitarian, and (b) absolutely under central control.

I doubt they will ever be built, though. Simply because of energy. There's a huge difference between a mass-transit system with discrete vehicles that only use power when actually moving people (trains and buses fall into this category, as do individually-owned automobiles), and a "people mover" system that is essentially a single unit which has to be kept "available", i.e. in motion 24/7/365, whether anyone is actually using it or not.

The electrical demand alone would mandate a dedicated power plant in each city just for the local slidewalk system. And if it's going to keep it running no matter what, that power plant will have to be a serious one. Meaning, nuclear; Holy Wind and Holy Sun won't cut it. Which will upset the tofu-eaters (as John Ringo refers to the "post-modernists") no end.

In a way, it's poetic justice. To attain a cherished goal of controlling the movement of the peasantry, they will have to adopt one of the things they despise most to power it. Schadenfreude, anyone?