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Magnet Express Tunnel

A theoretically un-jammable traffic tunnel.
  (+1, -9)(+1, -9)
(+1, -9)
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Yes, it's another strap-magnets-to-a-car idea, but hear me out. Where I live, long highways are often divided into two parts: Express lanes and Local lanes. Between them is an oft-crossed grassy median strip. The theory is that those on the highway for the long haul can choose the Express lanes and not be bothered by local traffic merging on the highway every 5 miles.

Naturally, the Express lane is equally as congested as the Local. The solution? A Magnet Express Tunnel. Here's how it works:

1. The tunnel runs alongside the main roadway. It need not be buried.

2. Cars travelling through the tunnel have magnets strapped to them to repulse other cars and the tunnel walls.

3. The force generated by cars entering the tunnel will push the cars in the tunnel along at high speed, allowing drivers in the tunnel to switch off the engine, shift into neutral, and freeload.

The tunnel will, of course, require a toll. The toll area will be responsible for appropriately funneling traffic into the tunnel and providing cars in the tunnel with sufficient "back pressure" to maintain forward propulsion.

justaguy, Jun 06 2005

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       Is this idea truly so boring that it's not even worth the attempt at debunking? Now I know why traffic engineers are so miserable.
justaguy, Jun 07 2005
  

       When the tunnel is full, a single car trying to enter would have to exert a force powerful enough to propel the hundreds of cars in front of it. Energy is never free.
Aq_Bi, Jun 07 2005
  

       Do all cars have to have them on the off chance they might decide to take the tunnel? And why magnets--why not just use bumpers?
ldischler, Jun 07 2005
  

       [ldischler] Much like the EZ-PASS transponders, yes. And bumpers are crunchy nowadays... not much good for bumping. Then there's the problem of keeping the vehicle away from the guardrails.   

       [Aq_Bi] When you are in the tunnel and not moving, it might be wise to put it back in gear and use your own power, much like a normal tunnel. Lighted signs could be used to advise you of these conditions.
justaguy, Jun 07 2005
  

       Isn’t there going to be a problem when you park on the street? Won’t you attract cars without magnets on either side of you, locking yourself into place?
ldischler, Jun 07 2005
  

       Electromagnets, maybe? I wonder how much energy they consume. Probably a lot.
justaguy, Jun 07 2005
  

       I hate to be pessimistic and annoying, but what if you turn your engine off and it turns out that there is no car behind you to push you along? Do you wait?   

       I, for one, am still in favour of catapulting people around, instead of taking those dirty cars everywhere...
dbmag9, Jun 08 2005
  

       I hate to sound like a broken record, but if I found myself in the situation where my car was no longer moving through the tunnel, I would start it again and drive on.   

       Catapults are a much better idea, though.
justaguy, Jun 08 2005
  

       Extremely silly.
Basepair, Jun 08 2005
  

       On second thought, let's not take the Magnet Express Tunnel. It is a silly place.
justaguy, Jun 09 2005
  
      
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