Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Motorway/Freeway Conveyor

The Conveyer Belt Highway
(+3, -3)
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This idea speeds up traffic flow without anybody having to break the speed limit.

Simply make a giant conveyor belt over the top of the existing roads that travels at, say 50mph, then drive along it at 70mph and you are actually travelling at 130mph quite legally and safely.

This has the added advantage that if there is a traffic jam you will still be moving at 50mph. Once the people get used to the idea you could ramp up the belt speed to 80, 90 or even 100mph.

To get on or off the conveyer you just drive onto a seperate concrete section and down the usual ramp at the side.

The whole enterprise could be funded by tolls as businessmen in a hurry and rich people would definately want to use this instead of the old road.

mecotterill, Feb 07 2008


       //Simply make a giant conveyor belt//   

       This is the part of the process that you might need to describe just a leeeetle more.
imaginality, Feb 07 2008

       So hole mess could be funded by pay per view as the crashes would be spectacular. Tires smoking as they go on or off the ramp. The fun moments of terror when your left tires are on and your right tires are off and your differentials and anti-skid computers are screaming like a pig in a slaughterhouse. The excessively exciting bumps when the road has to turn slightly and you go from a straight belt to one with a slight curve and since the road belt rides on huge rollers there would be a crazy gap between those big rollers. Hmmm, quality entertainment.
MisterQED, Feb 07 2008

       Ah, but what about magnets? Instead of an actual conveyer belt made of rubber or whatever, the 'road' is made of some kind of electro-magnet which produces a pulsing current.   

       (Though this may be a completely different idea)
mecotterill, Feb 07 2008

       There's no need for the tarmac (US: "blacktop") itself to move: people very rarely actually crash into the road surface, so its relative speed is irrelevant (US: "not important").   

       No no no. I have much better idea.   

       First, you take all the traffic signs, roadside telephones (US: [untranslateable]), trees, wild animals (US: "vermin") and other crash-into-able objects, and you mount each of them on the back of a lorry (US: "truck").   

       Second, you get all these paraphernalia-carrying trucks to drive at, say, 50mph in the same direction as the motorists (US: "traffic").   

       Now, you can drive at 130mph (US: "105mph") whilst only doing 80mph (US: "55mph") relative to anything that might actually harm you, and the problem is solved.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 07 2008

       50mph + 70mph = 120mph, not 130mph.
BJS, Feb 08 2008

       <pedant> Your arithmetic is very good, but M-B says that 80+50 is 130.   

       The more relevant point is that our limit is 70 not 80, sure. </p>
david_scothern, Feb 08 2008

       Yes, but even more relevantlier, everyone actually drives at 80mph
hippo, Feb 08 2008

       More relevantlierlier... no, just wanted to get a longer word in.
david_scothern, Feb 08 2008

       Good idea Maxwell, but how about instead putting two big walls along the side of the road with stuff painted on like buildings, trees and signs etc. and then have that moving towards the traffic (US: "traffic") at 50mph so people naturally think they are going faster. This will work along the same principle as sitting in a railway carriage and not knowing if you're moving or the train next to you is.   

       Going back to my original proposition, however, I would overcome MisterQED's objections with the following;   

       Instead of the conveyer belt being rubber and wobbly, it is made of metal plates like the ones at airports (only bigger - 4 or 5 lanes wide.) You could then have the conveyer belt driven by a maglev system and some way could be devised to have the plates travelling in one direction return on the conveyer coming back in the other direction, so you don't need the 'wrap-around' system of a normal style conveyor 'belt'.   

       Corners would be a bit more tricky but there should be a way of tilting the whole thing up so that it's banked into the turn enough that a slight curve in the conveyor isn't significant.
mecotterill, Feb 08 2008

       "The Roads Must Roll"   

       Robert Heinlein wrote about conveyor-belt roads back in 1940. H. G. Wells did it first, back in 1899. I don't recall that either suggested driving along them, though. Driving on and off would be tricky as hell.
baconbrain, Feb 08 2008

       The differential speed between vehicles and the roadway surface is not a limiting factor in most automotive situations. It is certainly not the factor that leads to traffic jams.   

       If 40 cars per minute have gotten onto a highway with the intention of getting off at a particular road, and if that road can only handle 30, there is going to be a traffic jam in advance of that exit. The only way traffic could keep moving at 50mph would be if many of the motorists that wanted to get off at that exit instead stayed on the highway.
supercat, Feb 08 2008

       I'm about to leave work and go get on the 15 freeway going north. Thank you for this reminder of what it will be like.
normzone, Feb 08 2008

       //travelling at 130mph quite legally and safely.//   

       Sp. //safely// -> "Extremely dangerously"   

       It's not the road that hurts, [mecot], it the trees, obstacles and vehicles going the other way.
Custardguts, Feb 13 2008

       I want to hear what kind of a horrific noise my differential makes when suddenly one wheel is going 50mph faster than the other.   

       I'm betting it'll sound like money burning.
elhigh, Feb 13 2008

       //wild animals (US: "vermin")// sp. varmints
lurch, Feb 13 2008

       I once saw a demonstrator for a solid-tread (as opposed to a belt) travelator that had slow-moving on and off sections, with a faster-moving central section.
The only problem, as I recall, was that the central section was narrower.
Scale this up to highway sizes, and the on and off ramp problems are solved by running on and off ramp travelators parallel to the main travelator highway.
coprocephalous, Feb 13 2008

       What about simply demanding a strict multilane system ala the historic autobahn with impact absorbing barriers and impeding median? The fact is that american drivers are not psycologicaly or automotively prepaired for these speeds. Remember that no matter what the mechanism for the speed the limit in cornering is still the adhesion of the tires. This design is just as dangerous if there is any curve or lane change situation because the centripical forces are still those of a car traveling at 130 mph. I for one would park at the edge of the "road" (train) and ride my lazy ass there asleep giving my car, my wallet, and my sanity a rest. 80 mph for free is to good to pass up.
WcW, Feb 13 2008


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