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Low friction high speed transit

Don't slow down the sidewalk, just make it slippery
  (+8, -2)
(+8, -2)
  [vote for,

Imagine a high-speed moving sidewalk. Say 70 mph. The problem with having such a sidewalk is getting off and on. Most solutions to this involve slowing down the sidewalk in some way. I propose not slowing down the sidewalk, just speeding up the people.

My solution: Teflon. Make the thing out of Teflon, and give people Teflon slippers to put on their shoes. Hop on the sidewalk, and you're slowly accelerated to the sidewalk speed. Hop off onto the Teflon stationary sidewalk next to it, and you're slowly decelerated to a stop.

Ok, so there are a few problems like collisions, falling down, and being pushed back or off by the wind, but I'm confident that this group can help me get past those minor issues.

Worldgineer, Jan 05 2005

Multi-stage Continuous-loop Variable-speed Transit System Multi-stage Continu...peed Transit System
Inspired by [Steve] [Worldgineer, Jan 05 2005]

The Facts of Life http://www.sitcomso...thefactsoflife.html
When the show began filming, Kim Fields was so short that the producers put Tootie in roller skates to avoid difficult camera angles (she grew 3 inches by the 2nd season). Ironically, she had lost a role on Diff'rent Strokes because she was too tall to play Gary Coleman's girlfriend. [ato_de, Jan 05 2005]

Along a similar vane. Best travelator ever? http://news.bbc.co..../europe/3001182.stm
7mph feels bloody fast when you're stood still. [paraffin power, Jan 06 2005]


       What do you think, will a Teflon handrail and Teflon gloves suffice?
Worldgineer, Jan 05 2005

       Good Effort!
Have you seen people trying to get on/off ski lifts?!. I suspect that Teflon will mitigate the effect somewhat but what I think that you need is for people to start off at the top of a teflon quarter-pipe in order to build up speed. At the end could be a long down slope with bean bags....or possibly a lake jump!.
gnomethang, Jan 05 2005

       I'm thinking of something similar to a detachable quad chair on a ski lift.   

       Maybe a handle you can grab that is moving much slower on a separate gear and then speeds up?
theircompetitor, Jan 05 2005

       Both good ideas. I like the quarter-pipe idea a lot, and I wonder if we could use a quarter-pipe exit as well (but going up). The handle idea is nice - could be similar to the Teflon glove.
Worldgineer, Jan 05 2005

       Maybe not a quarter-pipe on the way up - could prove irresistable for (ahem - I believe they are called) sk8er bois dressed as commuters. Perhaps a gentle uphill incline with sticky bits and stairs on the outsides.
gnomethang, Jan 05 2005

       Yes, that's better. Also reduces the chance of sliding right back down and into oncoming foot traffic with a speed differential of near 140mph.
Worldgineer, Jan 05 2005

po, Jan 05 2005

       [EDJ] That's not a very productive attitude to have 'round these parts. This is an idea that has flaws that I'm asking for help in fixing. Because this is the place for ideas that need fixing.   

       [Wasted] Ha!
Worldgineer, Jan 05 2005

       Heinlein covered this in the '40s.
ato_de, Jan 05 2005

       Wow, two chances to mention "The Roads Must Roll" in two days....maybe it's a good life after all [normzone goes back to autopsy of problematic engineering project]   

       [tempus fugit]   

       [normzone returns from autopsy of problematic engineering project] Nothing wrong with the parts, just 'tolerancing as usual' won't hold tight enough dimensions to prevent disaster.   

       I refer to this as B-A-D.......Built As Designed.
normzone, Jan 05 2005

       So, how did Heinlein fix the collision issue?
Worldgineer, Jan 05 2005

       Flank the teflon with a strip of steel that you could step on to brake and then a strip of rubber for stopping. EDIT: Won't fix collision issues - most likely cause them.
wagster, Jan 05 2005

       Heinlein's solution: multiple parrallel walkways at incremental speeds.
ato_de, Jan 05 2005

       Ooooh, I like that. Were there handrails, or a lot of falling?
Worldgineer, Jan 05 2005

       I think Asimov used that too. No handrails, but a lot of good balancing. I was just thinking about the collision problem and thought the solution might be a sliding system with directional control like ice skates, but with the ability to run over curves and gradients like teflon. Then it came to me: rollerblades on tarmac!   

       Sorry to have been of no help.
wagster, Jan 05 2005

       No help?!? I love rollerblades on tarmac. Much of the point of all this was to find a mass-transit system that doesn't require attendants and doesn't require people to bring anything bulky - like a car. But if this required rollerblades then people would start wearing rollerblades everywhere. And I think my life would improve if I was able to wear rollerblades everywhere. Faster trips to the printer, more exciting trips to get coffee, the ramps that would be installed next to stairs...
Worldgineer, Jan 05 2005

       Didn't Tootie do that on "The Facts of Life?"
ato_de, Jan 05 2005

       Well it isn't very halfbaked is it? Even so, I have always reckoned that blades and skates have a great role to play in our transport systems. I hardly ever skate but the logic is undeniable.
wagster, Jan 05 2005

       If someone happens to be standing still somewhat near the end of a 70mph walkway, things could be very bad if anyone on that walkway approaches. The slippery shoes will make it difficult for the people to avoid each other, and a collision between a 70mph person and a 0mph person is going to be very injurious to both even if both are sliding freely.
supercat, Jan 06 2005

       I was just thinking of the rollerblade solution myself. No reason this could not be done together with the greased asses. Although if you had teflon pants, you would not need to reapply the grease from day to day.
bungston, Jan 06 2005

       Could be my overloaded memory, but I think Heinlein also has plexiglass barriers between different speed lanes to deal with wind shear. Although it seems you'd lose all the benefits when you came to a transition zone.
normzone, Jan 06 2005

       If you can have a handrail, you can have a seating platform, though you'd have to either face sideways or sit astride.   

       Is this system sheltered from the rain?   

       As an alternative to the gloves, slippers and pants, think of the walkway as a river and have a Teflon-bottomed raft (mat) and a pole (maybe with inline skate wheels at the end) to reach the banks (non-Teflon) to push yourself around the Teflon river. Stand or sit as you please. Slopes prevent you from accidentally slipping into the bank, and gentler slopes prevents you from accidentally slipping between the stationary and moving parts.   

       The wind problem could be fixed by making the moving part a high-speed tunnel with wind blown through, but that's moving away from the sidewalk model.   

       Another idea I like is making most of the walkway stationary Teflon, with higher friction booster sections spaced at intervals.   

       [wagster] I think [Worldgineer] was talking about using the skates on tarmac as part of the moving walkway system. Or at least having the system supply the power for movement, a moving handrail maybe.
caspian, Jan 06 2005

       I think dirty Teflon could be your sticking point.
Ling, Jan 06 2005

       Vandals would come and scrub it with steel wool!
caspian, Jan 06 2005

       I would think it'd be easier to have a series of local or on-ramp sidewals, moving in parallel with staggered speeds.
Predictor, Jan 06 2005

       Maybe have boarding points, which would be eight-foot-wide disks. On stepping onto it, it would accelerate from stationary until its edge speed matched the walkway speed.   

       Alternatively, use this instead of the walkway to fling people in the general direction of their destinations.
david_scothern, Jan 06 2005

       [Predictor] That was Asimov's solution.
ConsulFlaminicus, Jan 06 2005

       [+] Whoa shit . . . <Said while sliding into crowd of lawyers at the exit.>
ldischler, Jan 06 2005

       Plate some sleds with teflon and simply 'launch' them from the station with person strapped in tight onto this...teflon conveyor belt. To allow time to speed up before the person behind arrives, there would be a traffic light system where green means go.
proto13, Jan 06 2005

       Bad idea. People would simply fall over and hurt themselves no mather what. This is unsafe.
andrewm, Feb 03 2007

       use a thick elastomer conveyor belt. when you step on, the belt is bunched-up so that it is moving forward rather slowly. As you move forward, the belt is forced to thin-out (by its guides), and to maintain its same volume of elastomer per unit time, must travel much faster. the user may notice a slight creeping feeling underfoot, but nothing that a quick weight shift wouldn't cure.   

       of course, the elastomer could ride on a teflon substrate where needed.
TIB, Feb 04 2007


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