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Nov 30 / Jonathan

CyberTran: Ultra-light rail for cities and suburbs

Gar Lipow at Gristmill.

CyberTran: Ultra-light rail for cities and suburbs

CyberTran[1] is a form of mass transit suitable for most parts of the nation, from suburbs to the densest parts of Manhattan. It is not so much a new system as an overlooked one. The advantages:

It offers 24-hour availability.
Your journey time is about the same as in a car.
Your rail-car is ready when you are.
You never need to stand.
Stops are near your home and your final destination.
You can read the paper during your trip.

No magic is involved.

CyberTran ultralight rail uses small cars carrying 20 passengers. (The same-sized cars could be configured to hold anywhere from six to 30 riders.) Small, light cars run on cheaper tracks. The total capital cost of a CyberTran urban system (including rail and guideways) is about a tenth or less the cost per passenger mile of conventional light rail[2]. That is important — capital costs dominate rail expenses.
CyberTran is an automated, driverless system. (With so many tiny cars, it has to be.) Outside of rush hour, it would be an on-demand system, calculating routes on the fly. During rush hour in dense urban areas, a series of CT cars following one another closely would mimic a conventional multi-car train with fixed schedules. Regardless, you would never have to wait more than five minutes or so for a car — usually less.

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