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Endless Subway Train
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Moving walkways are widely used today as a pedestrian-friendly way of moving people around. The drawback to the walkways is that they are slow and therefore an inefficient way to move poeple quickly. This problem has already beeen solved by Loder Transtport Systems Pty. Ltd. wherein a series of accelerating conveyor belts bring the pedestrian up to twice walking speed. But this system still is not equipped to be an endless subway train type travelator as each junction forces thru-passengers to deccelerate off a series of conveyors and then walk to the next walkway. I propose that the walkway be set up similar to a limited-access freeway system. Two wide conveyors (wide enough for three people abreast) running in opposing directions at around 10 or 12 mph. At an area where people wish to embark/disembark, there would be an acceleration/merging/deceleration series of belts, In respective order, rolling in the direction of the parallel thruway. Moving handrails at average speeds of the accel/deccel belts would be used to accommodate passengers as well as a overhead strap system moving at like speed with the mainline. A passenger wishing to get on the mainline conveyor would walk normally onto the acceleration belts and be brought to the merging belt at near like speed to the thru-conveyor. Letting go of the handrail, the passenger would find a gap in the stream of commuters step across to the main conveyor. The main conveyor may then pick up more speed via a series of more belts or reamain the same. In this way, a continuous hi-capacity sub or surface mass transportation system could be implemented eliminating lost time waiting for trains and eliminating the much loathed overcrowded train.
rsn10588, Jun 24 2005


       I saw something like this in Paris. There was a moving walkway about 1/4 mile long and it had two conveyor belts. The first was a fast one, and the second was a slower one to slow you down before the end. They had video monitors up where the two belts met with repeating messages "Attention, Attention, Regardez notre pieds" with an animated stick figure tripping and taking a face plant. It was hilarious.   

       The first thing original here, //Moving handrails at average speeds of the accel/deccel belts// is original only because everyone else realizes it won't work. You'd have to step over the things if they were between the belts, and if they were not between the belts, they should run at the speed of the belt they are over.   

       The second semi-new bit, // a overhead strap system moving at like speed// shouldn't be needed and might be dangerous. I just spent two days in airports with standard conveyors, cluttered with luggage, and never needed a hand-hold. I did need to be looking down, though, not getting clonked in the head.
baconbrain, Jun 28 2005

       A clarification about handrails and overhead straps : Handrails would run alongside the conveyor such as the handrails of escalators. The reason why there are less accelerating handrails at accel/decel points is because they are costly and it accosts the rider no discomfort to adjust hand position slightly as he/she speeds up or slows down. For a description "right from the horse`s mouth", visit : elevatorworld.com and search for : Loder in line accelerating moving walkway   

       On overhead straps, that may not be necessary for walkways that are at, or even twice walking speed, but would be necessary should the mainline move at speeds (if such speeds can be attained by such a system) near 20 and above or in the case of an emergency stop.   

       As a side note, I wonder If anyone would like to hazard a guess at whether moving conveyors would be feasable for cyclists to use. I`d like to think that decelerating would be much less of a problem and that acceleration shouldn`t present too much more difficulty than on foot. What do you think ?
rsn10588, Jul 12 2005

       see Heinlein's "the roads must roll"
maniacal_engineer, Jul 13 2005

       "the roads mus troll"
neilp, Jul 13 2005

       Although the idea has been knocked around by at least one author, I am not aware that it has been baked at all.
I'd always imagined a series of parallel belts, stepping up by 4mph, or so, per time.
I thought a trial down Oxford street would be great.
Handrails wouldn't be necessary (and I don't know how they could be implemented, anyway).

       One *big* problem that needs resolving: Imagine that you are on the fastest belt, but in a short distance, the complete system comes to an end. The rider must get over to the slowest belt in time, before being thrown off the end of the fastest belt. A side guide might angle across the belts to force the rider to change lanes. How to do this without danger? Alternatively, the system in Paris (mentioned earlier) could be used.
If the conveyor belts followed a circular path (over many kms), then there would be no end. OK for the Circle Line, I suppose.
Ling, Jul 13 2005

       hmm, I wonder what the drag would be on a city-encircling moat-in-motion.
FlyingToaster, Mar 20 2009


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