Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Mass Transit Router

People are the packets with a source and destination
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(+4, -1)
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The city is cut up into rough 100m x100m grid. At each of these grids is a computer terminal / bus stop
If you want to get from point A to point B you just walk up to the terminal at point A and touch point B on the touch screen. The terminal will mark your electronic ticket (a card with a chip) and print out an itinerary.

Wait here for 2 minutes; get on bus with ID 3415
Wait for bus announcement “Stop for group 12” (you might be the only one on the group or there might be many people sharing this stop by coincidence) to get off
Wait there for 1 minute and get on bus with ID 5112
Wait for announcement “Stop for group 51” to get off


The reason why the ticket you have has the chip is because it tracks you through the system and makes sure that if you miss a stop or miss a bus you will be able to “register” at the next station and get a fixed up itinerary to continue your trip.
Notice that the busses don’t have predefined routes (they are just uniquely identified – with numbers in this example). Also notice that the stops are not predefined – every single point on the grid has a stop. A bus will not stop en-route if none of the passengers are getting off. Of course there will be an emergency stop button to get off at the next station (if you miss a stop or if you forgot something at home). Your ticket is good for a certain number of blocks on the grid so you can get on and off as much as you want. This is because once you get off the bus will be able to track you (using your ticket) and readjust the route to be the most efficient. For example if a bus is scheduled to take a group of passengers on a 20 km drive, but all of them get off before they get there, the bus will be marked “free” inside the system and the central will reschedule it for a new router or pickup.

Quality of Service

Computer routing has something called QoS or quality of service – all this means is that there are guarantees on the speed of delivery. The same thing would apply in this scenario. The bus service has to be predicable. It would suck to get on a bus only to find out the stupid thing is stopping on every single block or going in some strange circle route to your destination. To address this problem you could select the quality of service. You could pay a premium rate which would ensure that you are guaranteed to cross 100 blocks per hour. Normal rate that guarantees 50 blocks or hour, reduced rate that guaranteed only 25 blocks per hour. Someone paying the premium rate going from one obscure point to another would probably be on the bus alone. Someone paying the reduced rate for the same source and destination would end up waiting longer until a bus traveling somewhere close by happened to be close. Of course once even the reduced rate guarantee of 25 blocks per hour was in risk of being broken an empty bus would have to be scheduled to meet the guarantee anyways.

I think FedEx does something similar with package delivery. As long as people carried some sort of barcoded or chiped card with them and register them selves along their journey they could be delivered in the same manner. ... ooh and it wouldn't just have to be busses. Metro, ferries, and even taxis could fit into this scenario. They woudl just be different pipes on the system just like there are different pipes carrying data on the internet.
ixnaum, Dec 25 2005


       I'd rather drive. My car uses OSPF.
Shz, Dec 25 2005

       for those not familiar OSPF stands for Open Shortest Path First algorithm.
[Shz] ... I think your car uses more of a FFTGABWYGSITWTMOCYASA algorithm.

Ooh ... that stands for: Feel-Free-To-Go -Anywhere-But-When-You- Get-Stuck -In-Traffic- With-The-Million- Other-Commuters- You-Are- Screwed-Anyways algorithm.
ixnaum, Dec 25 2005

       lets add private cars into the system. give destination details to your car, central computer links up drivers with spare seats to carless folks wanting to go the same way at the same time.   

       eventually the cars tell each other where they are going and swap lanes, regulate speed etc.. to improve traffic flow. when the techutopia arrives.
rainbow, Dec 25 2005

       Why does the system need the source data?
bristolz, Dec 25 2005

       //Why does the system need the source data?   

       How could this work if it didn't? I'm assuming you are referring to the fact that packets on the internet don't need source in order to be routed to the correct destination. I don't think Mass Transit Router couldn't work that way.
ixnaum, Oct 09 2009


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