Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Land Ferry

Convert huge semi-trailer trucks in to Land Ferries.
  [vote for,

Similar to a commuter train, but you get to take your car along with you.
eagle, Aug 24 2000

Bakes by train http://www.amtrak.c...ains/autotrain.html
An Amtrak line that probably takes people (and their cars or 'oversized vehicles') to their winter homes & back. [hello_c, Aug 24 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       hmmm, I think the only way this would work is if you used trains and did it like the channel tunnel, where you drive your car onto the train and then move to the passenger cabin. Due to the hassle of loading and unloading the train this would probably only be any use on interstate routes. The trouble is that it costs about 4 times as much to transport a car as it does to transport yourself, and I dont see how marketing it as a "land ferry" would reduce the cost. Any ideas?
mirage, Aug 25 2000

       There's also the simple issue that it would take the same amount of time to get there on a land ferry as it would driving your own vehicle. I doubt many people would be willing to give up the control. If it doesn't save time, and it isn't any cheaper, why bother?
graveace, Nov 30 2000

       That's pretty much true, but:

1) people might prefer to sleep on long, familiar drives (or get out of the car, if the land-ferries are big enough);
2) people might feel safer;
3) they might indeed be quicker, because traffic would be (slightly) lighter (alternatively, there might be special 'land-ferry' lanes to encourage their use).

       This sort of thing might provide the same benefits as convoy systems -- more efficient use of fuel and road-space -- while side-stepping some of their problems. Its advantage over car-carrying trains is that the road system (at least in North America) is much more extensive. Unfortunately, lacking subsidies, it would be (as graveace points out) little quicker (especially from the individual motorist's point of view -- if they choose not to take it, they can still benefit from everyone else taking it), and wildly uneconomical until everyone starts driving scooters and those Smart Car things.   

       Maybe it could be stripped down to a multi-car 'yoke' which would use the vehicles themselves for power like a convoy while avoiding dependence on individual mechanisms within every car and providing some physical protection against huge pile-ups (and more peace-of-mind generally). With a mechanism above to pluck out cars which wish to peel off and deposit them behind the chain... ah, perhaps not.
Monkfish, Nov 30 2000

       I like the control afforded by monkfish's yoke system. We could program the device that picks up the cars to select out the really offensive-looking ones like the Pontiac Aztec and set them out first. Upside down. At about 80. You could cost-justify the whole thing just on interstate beautification.
dumbassengineer, Jun 30 2001

       I think this is 'way cool. Think of micro-small city cars that you wouldn't want to take on a freeway. Passenger them from town to town, get around. Long distance parking. Notebook cars. Pick 'em up at the carousel in the Truckport.
Poimandres, Sep 10 2001

       I had this idea, and was even going to call it a Land Ferry. When I Googled it, this was in the top ten.   

       This idea could be a time saver for the individual motorist in journeys requiring more than 24 hours.   

       ego- filled croissant for you.
dbsousa, Feb 03 2004

       I often thought this would be a great idea. You could run the ferry down that unused part of the interstate or under it. With a maglev train (even a conventional train) there could be a huge energy savings over the energy used to make new tires, repave roadways, etc. Greenhouse gasses could be reduced by using nuclear electric for the trains. There could be hundreds of these stopping at on-ramps a hundred miles apart. They would stop like subway trains. You drive on the right side and off the left, so only a certain length vehicle could ride the train. The energy savings and life savings could be tremendous.
Willie333, Sep 29 2005


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