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Cabletown

Go anywhere in the city comfortably and efficiently
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Imagine a big city laid out in a perfect grid (many cities are). Oh, you could drive to where you need to go, if you like fighting traffic. But in Cabletown, we have a very efficient, very reliable cable car system (thus the name of our proud city).

The cable car system is elevated above every street. The North-South streets have their cable cars at elevation 1, while the east-west streets have theirs at elevation 2. At each street, between intersections, there are always three cars going side-by-side in one direction, such that passengers may easily hop from one car to the other through the open doorways. The car on the left will turn left at the next intersection, of course going up or down an incline to reach the new elevation. The car on the right will always turn right at the intersection following. The car in the middle runs straight down the length of the boulevard, never turning right nor left. These cars go in alternating directions per street (like one-way streets). When the turning cars reach their new street, they will meet and connect with the car in the middle of the new street.

It is up to you to remember to change cars when your street is coming up, but don't worry - it is easy to turn around at the next intersection if you miss.

The cars never stop - they are going fast enough to make your commute better than riding a bike, but slow enough to allow safe disembarkment - there is a moving sidewalk next to the car going at half speed, from which you step off to the cement walk and then off to the stairway down to the street.

Each city block has four cable cars constantly going around it in a square. Each boulevard has as many cars going down the middle cable as there are city blocks. Two side-by-side boulevards going in opposite directions work together to cycle their sets of cars through their systems, as the cars will circle over to the start of the adjacent boulevard when they reach the end of one. Clever passengers will take advantage of this feature as well if it suits their commute.

Get anywhere you need to go on our constantly moving cable cars.

globaltourniquet, Nov 02 2007

My version with magnets attempting to be baked by another http://www.skytran....ress/IDmag11-99.htm
[MisterQED, Nov 20 2007]

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       If you read it carefully, then draw it on paper, which I know most of you will because I've been on this site long enough, you will discover that there are never three cars side-by-side at any time. I thought about fixing the description to say this, but it is more fun to correct myself.   

       It is always two cars - always the middle car, and alternating blocks you will have the left car, then the right car.   

       Also, each block does not have four cars circling it - alternating blocks do, while the other blocks have no cars circling them.
globaltourniquet, Nov 02 2007
  

       It's elevated, so kids and grandmas on the street are safe...
globaltourniquet, Nov 07 2007
  

       As one side of the central car has no attending "side car" half the time, and since there will be no attending "side car" at all while transitioning an intersection, you'll need some way to keep people from falling out of the central car on the unattended side(s).
phoenix, Nov 07 2007
  

       //you'll need some way to keep people from falling out of the central car //   

       Armed guards? Automatic sliding doors? Speeds safe to fall out at?
globaltourniquet, Nov 07 2007
  

       //you'll need some way to keep people from falling out of the central car //   

       natural selection?
Custardguts, Nov 09 2007
  

       The amount of space a cable car takes up and the speed they move at make them useless for high-volumes of trafic.
Antegrity, Nov 09 2007
  

       I think the idea of people moving between cars is problematic or possibly deadly.   

       So how about a modified idea based on ski lifts: for those of you who haven’t seen one, many skiing resorts have four person gondolas that take people to the top of mountains. It is very hard to get into a moving gondola, so although the over head cable never stops moving, the gondolas do by unclamping themselves from the cable and riding on a rail. Once the people are loaded, the car is pushed to the end of the rail where it re-clamps to the cable and goes to the top of the mountain. At the top the same thing happens and you disembark.   

       In a similar fashion I think you could have a system similar to the one you mentioned that allows people to enter a gondola, once the door is closed, they would pull a handle to have the car grab a lift cable that would lift them to the moving cable level, once a space is found, the gondola would then merge and auto attach to the moving horizontal cable. At areas along your travel you could switch cables by pulling the lever again which depending on the area would either turn you left, right or bring you down to street level to disembark. You should also have a remote system that would allow controllers to keep the free gondolas spread out across the city and to bring them in for periodic cleaning.
MisterQED, Nov 09 2007
  
      
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