As distances within a space habitat will be rather small, only a couple of kilometers in most designs , bicycles will be an excellent mode of transportation for space settlers. Promoting cycling will also have environmental and public health benefits. Continue reading Public bicycle system
Our opinion is that the primary justification for fuel taxes is to fund the government’s responsibility to maintain infrastructure. Since there is a clear correlation between fuel consumption and road use (i.e. a certain amount of fuel is used to travel a certain distance), fuel consumption is an adequate target for taxation. Continue reading On electricity bills
Earlier we discussed the use of personal rapid transportation or PRT in space settlements, and O’Neill cylinders in particular. In a previous post we proposed that the public transport system of a O’Neill cylinder would consist of:
1. A maglev metro along the heart line of the valleys, serving as the backbone of the transportation system;
2. A PRT network serving as a secondary network, aimed at short distance transport.
A question one could reasonable ask is whether having both systems is actually necessary? One could argue that an extensive PRT system would make the maglev metro obsolete.
In a smaller space habitat such as Stanford torus or Bernal sphere, having these two system would indeed be superfluous. The the distances within the settlement are too short. However, in greater settlements, such as O’Neill cylinders, there will be a differentiation between short and long distance travel. The longer the length of an O’Neill cylinder, the greater the justification for a dual transport system.
PRT systems are usually designed to travel at speed 40 to 50 km/h, while maglev trains in vacuum could easily reach 8,000 km/h.
It might take several decades to complete an extensive PRT network (a maglev metro needs to build during the construction of the space habitat). Hence we need to consider an alternative transport system.
Again we suggest to use the maglev metro as the backbone of the public transport system. Additionally there will be a bicycle sharing system, which would allow people to travel to and from the maglev station.
In a bicycle sharing system people can use publicly owned bicycles against a low or even zero price. One takes a bike from station A and go to station B and leaves the bike there.
There are many methods to prevent people from stealing these public bikes. The system as we propose, is the following. First public bikes will be of an unusual model, to make a clear distinction between privately owned bikes and public bikes. Further bikes will be locked at their station and only be taken after paying a refundable deposit, for which people need to buy a special coin. The coin is returned once the user brings the bike to a public bike station.
The requirement to buy a special coin, rather than to use normal coins, will allow the operator to charge a higher price for the use of public bikes. This would create a greater deterrence for potential thieves as well providing some revenue to fund the program.
A bicycle sharing system could be extended to include tandems and freight bikes as well. The bikes could also be provided with an electric support motor.
We have discussed some ideas on public transportation in space habitats in an earlier post. In this post we will argue in defense of introducing free public transportation in Mordan.
Public transportation is in many developed countries already heavily subsidized, in some cases to such extent that travellers pay no more than 20% of the costs of public transportation. So we might wonder why bothering with charging fares at all? If you believe that people should pay for their own transportation, than you should oppose any subsidies on public transportation. But if you believe that some public subsidies on public transportation are fine, you should explain why we should not subsidize it for 100%.
We believe that freedom of movement is a fundamental right. But freedom of movement is also of great social and economic importance. People have to be able to travel from their homes to their jobs, students to their schools, consumers to the shops and so on. A good and accessible public transportation system will increase economic activity and hence wealth.
Since anyone, workers, employees, businesses, and consumers will gain from public transportation, we believe it will be fair if the government would use public funds to provide free public transportation. In principle the funds needed to finance such free public transportation will be supplied by the revenues generated by the lease of land by the government.