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How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 5:08 AM

I am currently working on an innovation research project on how to solve the so called "last mile" issue in traffic at the Vienna University of Business and Economics. The "last mile" issue is the fact that it's often difficult and inconvenient to get from the public transport station to your home or office without using a private car.

I'd really like to hear your opinion about the topic. What could be a good solution? Do you know a person who is very active in that field and maybe has already developed some technical solutions or interesting concepts?

I'm looking forward to your replies.

Thanks and best wishes from Vienna!
Lukas

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#1

Re: How to solve the "last mile" problem in traffic

11/10/2011 5:16 AM

yep! I had a thought about that... and have some ideas about that problem but the solution can take some time to implement!

do you post often here?

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#2

Re: How to solve the "last mile" problem in traffic

11/10/2011 7:04 AM

I guess walking is out of the question.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: How to solve the "last mile" problem in traffic

11/10/2011 7:45 AM

Well, down your steps and to the kerb, maybe, but the whole mile?

Actually, the sidewalk seems to have disappeared from the landscape over the past 30 years. Most places I've lived, once I'd get out of my immediate neighborhood it would be pretty risky to walk along the roadways.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: How to solve the "last mile" problem in traffic

11/10/2011 8:51 AM

Sidewalks disappearing? Not in progressive, pedestrian friendly places like North Dakota.

I work in an industrial part of the largest city in the state. The landfill, two concrete plants, a couple of machine shops, two wrecking yards auto reclamation facilities... The city has just added to our tax responsibility a six foot wide (not a typo) sidewalk along the road that fronts our place. In the 3-1/2 years I have been here the only pedestrian I have seen on the road had a gas can in his hands. Oh, and the walk ends at a very narrow two lane bridge that is not scheduled to be altered. They are thinking about it, but it is not a scheduled project.

North Dakota USA: 70,700 square miles, 672,000 people. There seems to be about 3 miles of sidewalk per person in ND.

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#10
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Re: How to solve the "last mile" problem in traffic

11/10/2011 10:50 AM

Yep we have paved walking trails that get more traffic from escaped farm animals than they do people.

I don't know who the idiots are that propose them and then can get them built but they do. Every small town seems to have one or more running along a highway for who knows how many miles often times leading to absolutely nothing in the end.

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#69
In reply to #3

Re: How to solve the "last mile" problem in traffic

11/17/2011 10:19 AM

What about the extra mile?

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#30
In reply to #2

Re: How to solve the "last mile" problem in traffic

11/11/2011 8:31 AM

It would be easier to walk if they used the metric system. The last kilometer is easier to walk!

Who said that switching to metric system doesn't solve problems?

Have a good Friday!

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#5

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 8:59 AM

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#11
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 10:55 AM

What about?

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#48
In reply to #11

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 4:37 PM

I like your solution. But, I REALLY liked 'There are 10 types of people. People who understand binary and those who don't.'

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#13
In reply to #5

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 11:34 AM

You forgot this...

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#15
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 12:38 PM

It feels good to let others contribute their ideas too!

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#6

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 9:16 AM

Thanks for your replies :)

For us walking is not really an option since many people do not have the time, pysical abilities (e.g. are old, disabled) or are simply too lazy to walk.

At the moment we are looking for people with interesting ideas and technical solutions like Segway-like vehicles or other stuff.

electronick, could you maybe share some details? Time plays only a minor role because the project covers a very long time frame.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 9:48 AM

Is there an expectation the "...old, disabled" will readily embrace "Segway-like vehicles or other stuff".

Why not leave your car at the station? What could possibly go wrong?

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#56
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/15/2011 9:54 AM

I would love to give you more details, and perhaps you could give contact details by a private message... any way, as projects relevant to this issues ( public causes) I have to tell you that the amount of stuff to consider scopes out my competences...ideas does not! I can tell you about the stuff I thought over a couple of ears ago...but! I have to chat with my advocate and after only we mean business!!!!

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#8

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 10:16 AM

I don't think there is any one solution here...My idea is to have a service attached to public transportation that deals with this issue on a one by one basis...Bicycles, golf carts, car pools what ever works for the individual in question...Let's face it, most people handle this on their own, if they can't find a solution on their own, then call in an expert...

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#9

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 10:19 AM

Walk...millions of people do this all over the world.

I lived in Japan for several years and when in (Rome)...you know the rest. I even learned to ride a bike again for my 7 mile commute.

If someone is too fat and lazy (that's a generalization) to walk, then I guess they don't go anywhere. We can't be expected to solve problems for people too lazy to walk a mile. Most people walk about 3 miles an hour. That's 20 minutes...wow...how about leaving 20 minutes earlier for work?

I think I need to call the gene pool-boy.

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 11:25 AM

Gene, the poolboy? Never heard of him

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#88
In reply to #12

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

03/21/2014 8:31 AM

Air also encircles the world up until today! One should strive to preserve it...

What about the pool boy?

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#70
In reply to #9

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/17/2011 10:31 AM

But it's not just 20 minutes, is it?

Round here the public service journeys take at least 3 times longer than the car journey, and are not at useful times (first bus 0930, last one back 1530). I cannot get to work by public transport, nor can I link to the rail network to travel cross country without a car.

I have to drive 15 miles to my nearest station, pay £8/day to park, take an hour's train ride to the next town's second station , walk 20 minutes across the town (with luggage, there is no bus service) to the mainline station and then catch the mainline north-south service.

To get from mine to visit my parents would take at least 3 changes and 5 - 7 hours. How would I take a family's worth of Christmas presents and several cats to visit for Christmas? Car journey: 3.5 hours. Distance 200 miles.

This is the UK where "rural" isn't the vast wilderness of the US prairies!

If I lived in a town/city I'd use more public transport. I think the system in my parents' city is good (those living there don't!).

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#14

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 11:45 AM

First, the only way that this can ever be "solved" by using only one technique is by tyrannical control of the population. So a public transportation planner should anticipate that the public will find multiple simultaneous solutions to this problem.

I'm puzzled that you preclude the use of a private vehicle in this problem. This stipulation seems to turn this problem into an oxymoronic paradox. If the last leg of the journey cannot be private transportation, then all of the journey must be public transportation. But then there is no last leg of the journey in the first place.

Now private enterprise and individual transportation ownership have come up with many different solutions to this problem; car pooling, taxi service, bicycle usage, walking, passenger drop off zones. IMHO where public transportation planning has failed far too often is by not planning for the increased private traffic that will happen around public transportation stations. Your imposed exclusion of private cars is an example. If your station can handle 500 individuals in transit per train and you only provide stairs for pedestrians then you will not be promoting the use of this station.

One solution I'd like to see done to improve the use of public transportation is the linking of public vehicle traffic controls around a station to the arrival and departure of the train. Just prior to a trains arrival traffic flow towards the station should be granted more preference. Similarly just after a trains departure, traffic flow out of the station should be given preference.

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#16

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 1:21 PM

I'll take a serious stab at this.

The long and short of it is - you can't solve this problem.

The reason is the same reason you can't manufacture a single shoe size to fit everyone. People have different needs, requirements, and environments.

You can't simply give everyone a Segway. Who is going to pay for that? Weather conditions vary time to time and place to place. Short of a Star Trek transporter, no one solution will work for everyone or even the majority of people.

Unfortunately, you have taken on an unsolvable problem. You may get a that-a-boy slap on the back for your efforts, but you will never arrive at a viable single-point solution.

The best you can do is pick a specific spot and make that better. Then go onto the next place and make that better. The tools you use will vary from place to place.

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#17
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 1:38 PM

I agree with AH. Well said and Good Answer.

Scenario: leave work at 5:00 PM.
1) Take city bus (stops in front of workplace) to train station, 3 km.
2) Ride train to home community, 26 km.
3) Ride city bus to bus stop nearest my home, 4 km.
4) Call taxicab to take me the last 1 km to my house.

In ths scenario, the last bus stop would have to store (securely) how many Segways? Cars, motorcycles, golfcarts, helicopters... all will create the same trouble. Additionally, the problem doubles if the first bus stop is 1 km from my workplace.

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#85
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/22/2011 2:32 AM

"In ths scenario, the last bus stop would have to store (securely) how many Segways? Cars, motorcycles, golfcarts, helicopters... all will create the same trouble."

Making sure a pod that's something like the one shown on the below

wouldn't be as difficult as one might think, provided you have some sort of passenger/user recognition system. The doors don't open until the pod knows who is getting in and uses security cameras inside to record the trip. If you get into a pod and find it vandalized then the user reports it immediately to the operators. The system knows who was last in the pod and therefore who vandalized it. If you don't report the damage then you'll probably get lumbered with the blame by the next occupants so there's a pretty good incentive to report any damage.

The outside is more difficult but then preventing cars that are parked on streets that are often dark and secluded is even more difficult yet the problem remains relatively small, at least it does where we live. With a PRT system you have defined places where the vehicles sit unattended so you could at least cover those with video security.

AS Anonymous Hero stated "you can't manufacture a single shoe size to fit everyone. People have different needs, requirements, and environments." But a PRT system is more flexible than any system currently in use. You would still need cars, taxis, trucks etcetera but the idea is to provide a system that is more amenable to the average commuter than the multitude of poorly coordinated systems that are already there. Unless the people that live in the major population centres do some lateral thinking and come up with something that is considerably better than what is available at the moment we will be condemned to spending more and more time communing to and from places as well as spending more on road infrastructures that are overwhelmed with traffic before they are even finished.

I close with the question of which of the following options you would prefer?

  • To travel in a bus/train/tram/light rail/taxi/personal vehicle in stop start mode on congested and overcrowded systems/roads spending time sitting and waiting to be picked up or at interchange points.
  • To walk to say the nearest bus stop, get into a fully automated pod that is already waiting there that takes you directly to the nearest bus stop to your destination in probably less time than it currently takes, while sitting back reading a book, watching TV on your smart phone or just sitting back and watching the scenery go by.
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#18
In reply to #16

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 2:06 PM

Yeah, I want to see grandma (who's too fragile to walk) on a segway...hell, why not...they drive Lincolns and Caddys anyway.

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#19

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 4:02 PM
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#20

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 4:16 PM

You recognize the basic problem. Human lazyness.

I manage 6,300 parking spaces in my fair city. Municipal employees have a free parking garage a half block (about 300 feet)from their office building. There's currently an unoccupied private building with a 50/60 space lot about 200 feet from the same building. People are sooooooooo lazy that they park, illegally, in the private lot, in the sun, instead of parking in the shade in their free space. The private lot is full every day.

You need to figure a way to motivate people.

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#57
In reply to #20

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/15/2011 9:57 AM

when you find that motivation technique let me know cos I can use some right NOW

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#21

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 4:56 PM

Welcome to CR4, Lukas!

The Washington, DC Metro has the same problem you are researching. Metro is a layered system of trains & buses. The trains provide longer distance transport into and out of the city center. Buses connect frequently to the train stations to provide intermediate-distance travel in a radius (say, 1-3 miles) around the station. From the bus stop to your final destination, you're on your own.

I would suggest something similar to the trams used in parking lots of large amusement parks throughout North America. These trams loop through the parking lots picking up and dropping off people at their automobiles. They are essentially a short-range version of the bus layer above, providing the "last mile" solution from the bus stop or train station to the door of office or home. The ideal solution would use autonomous vehicles such as Rotterdam's ParkShuttle system.

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#22

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 6:15 PM

There is the option that us rural people use. We like to call it relying on ourselves and not depending on others along with planning ahead to be where you need to be on time. No one is lifting a finger to help us get where we need to be and we rather like it that way.

If the convenience of living in town is still too inconvenient I suggest you rob a few banks and get tossed in jail for a good long time.

Three meals a day, a bed to sleep in, and no commute to work!

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#23
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/10/2011 11:01 PM

" No one is lifting a finger to help us " I presume you don't use: a car or truck, drive on the roads, modern medicine, electric power, entertainment, banking etc

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#25
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 12:10 AM

WTF? Grasping at straws much with that one?

Try to follow the context of the thread and go from there as to what I am referring to.

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#55
In reply to #22

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/15/2011 9:50 AM

And an excellent home security system.

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#24

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 12:10 AM

One solution is to move the bus stop. (About a mile). Or something like a school bus that drops people off at their homes. I don't know, how about a conveyor above with hooks, (like meathooks) and everybody has a Mister steed umbrella and rollerskates. Or maybe the conveyor is like a ski lift.Why not Gaga eggs on wheels in a round plastic tube? You just pump them around with air from blowers. If they are tight fit enough, you get automatic braking when they come close to each other. Or you could even have braking when it detects the forward and back pressure changing.

This has been suggested before for bike propulsion. I don't think anyone has done figures on how efficient it would be. Pneumatic systems in small tubes were used for mail delivery in the past.

They were pretty fast.

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#26

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 12:28 AM

Another issue is the frequency and timing of the public transport. It is generally assumed that everyone needs to get to work in a city centre/major industrial area for 8 or 9 am(UK) and that is what public transport addresses. For any other start times or locations, private cars are needed.

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#27

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 3:33 AM

Forget last mile. Public transport can be door to door.

The best working examples of this are in South East Asia. Hail a motorbike taxi or a motor rickshaw....

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#75
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/18/2011 7:25 AM
  • "Forget last mile. Public transport can be door to door."

Exactly, get rid of the trains, trams, busses, taxies etcetera and replace the whole lot with a thing called a Personal Rapid Transit system. You walk a couple of hundred metres to the nearest pick up point, get in a vehicle that carries 2 to 6 people, tell it where you want to go and the rest is automatic direct to the nearest drop off point to your destination.

A totally automatic system, runs 24 hours a day 7 days a week, doesn't need drivers, conductors, or large interchange hubs, doesn't have accidents that cause traffic foul ups, drastically reduces the number of vehicles on the roads, obviates the need of constant expansion of the road system, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

If where I lived had a system like this I would definitely get rid of the car and use it all the time and I'm an invalid that can't walk very far.

All it takes is some forward thinking by some gutsy politicians to get the first system up and running. As soon as people see how well such a system would work it would soon spread.

Hang on, gutsy forward thinking politician, oh well just forget it because it'll never happen.

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#76
In reply to #75

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/18/2011 1:25 PM

Just on the slim possibility that there exists what you refer to as " some forward thinking by some gutsy politicians" (oxymoron?) there would still be the issue of obtaining the dedicated surface areas for this system. Unless this is brought into an area as it is being first laid out, you will need to take away from the existing overcrowded driving surface area for this system, that could only work in the area set up for it. You would not be able to take this system on a cross country vacation. Could you even take it to the next city? Not unless that city was a part of your system. And don't even think about trying to merge two separate systems. That would require twice as many of the fictitious people from above.

In a retirement community, with a remote parking area for private cars, it MIGHT work, but still the community will still need roadways for daily needs, and that is double road surfaces.

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#78
In reply to #76

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/19/2011 2:30 AM

The idea is that by keeping the vehicles small you can keep the weight down and that make it possible to use elevated tracks. For example running them down the middle of the road but above the existing traffic. The stops could then use existing bus stops etcetera for the drop‑off/pickup points.

Admittedly it would be easier to implement in a new area. However, going back over 25 years now they managed to build an elevated monorail system that runs through the CBD of Sydney, past skyscrapers, along streets, over bridges, etcetera and that caries trains that consist of multiple carriages that would weigh at least 20 time what we're talking about. Over a quarter of a century later it's still there working very well, is extremely popular and is from personal experience the fastest way to get around the areas that it services.

Keep in mind also that it doesn't have to be a two way system, you can use loops that go down one route then come back another so in many situations you could cover two bus routes with a single loop that had interconnections at various places to adjacent loops. Sort of like the way a power grid works except with each link only being able to work in one direction. There would be places where you would require dual carriageways for example on long distance inter‑suburban routes but for the most part I would see it working on a loop arrangement with off track parking/pickup/drop off points.

Also being fully automated means that empty cars can be prepositioned ahead of peak times so that they are ready when people need to travel rather than when the schedule dictates people travel.

There are several problems with mass public transport systems:

  • People have to travel at times that are dictated by a timetable
  • They often have to change between routes which often means waiting for the interconnection
  • They keep stopping to pick up other commuters which slows the average speed and makes the vehicle more energy inefficient
  • With busses they slow the other road users down to the speed they travel at making the entire road system inefficient both in terms of transit times and energy consumption
  • Most of the time you can't go from where you are directly to where you want to go.

A RPT system pretty much overcomes all these problems

So the argument that it would be impossible to build in an existing city isn't true. Admittedly it would be more difficult to do in an existing city/suburb/estate but the fact that they found a way to build a monorail that runs through the CBD of Sydney shows that it definitely possible, it just means you have to think harder and come up with ingenious ways to overcome the problems, but the problems are not insurmountable.

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#79
In reply to #78

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/21/2011 7:43 AM

Speaking only for the south Florida area, I still see difficulties.

About every mile or so there is a larger East-West road, and likewise a larger North-South road. Most of these roads have bus routs that either run on them, or zig-zag across a few of them. A RPT system would still require a ground footprint, and could not handle the volume of people that today's busses do. Just adding more cars to the RPT system woun't solve the problem, because the first time a car stops, the remainder of them will all back up behind them.

Please do not misunderstand me, I do like the plan, Just think that it is better at limited areas only. Retirement communities with remote parking lots, Perhaps a downtown shopping area that is too large to walk through the entire area. Collage campuses. Things like that.

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#80
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/21/2011 8:33 AM

And that is why golf carts are so popular down here.

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#81
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/21/2011 9:30 AM

Try to imagine a transit system of remote autonomous golf carts that respond to your golf villa, and wisk you away to the early bird special, and then return to another villa to take another couple to Uncle Milty to learn of his latest visit to the doctor. And now zooming to pick up Aunt Betty from the hair dresser.

Sounds perferct for another Disney inspired community.

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#82
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/21/2011 8:42 PM
  • "Just adding more cars to the RPT system woun't solve the problem, because the first time a car stops, the remainder of them will all back up behind them."

The pickup/drop off points are on a side track that is off the main track so that they don't disrupt the through traffic. Normally each pickup/drop off point would have a couple of empty cars waiting for people not blocking the traffic for everybody else. If somebody arrives at a pickup/drop off point and there isn't an empty car waiting then the nearest empty car would automatically be dispatched to pick them up and take them directly to the pickup/drop off point nearest to their final destination.

Remember also that were talking about cars that are about a third the width of a bus so a single bus lane could easily accommodate the main route plus the pickup/drop off sidings.

Also if you run it on a grid pattern like the way you describe the roads, you only need single direction carriageways that alternate in direction along the grid. That way if you have bus lanes that run in both directions along your major road way you would actually be freeing up one of them as you would only need one lane for the PRT system and its pickup/drop off points and that means an extra lane for regular road traffic. You can also use elevated tracks so that they don't interfere with the normal traffic at intersections and thus making them two totally separate systems that don't have any interaction or interference with each other.

I know it sounds very science fiction, but there are several small demonstrations systems out there that have been in use for decades and have proven to be far more popular and efficient than anybody had anticipated. In fact one that was only meant to be a test system that ran for a couple of years causes, but so much stink was raised when they announced its discontinuation that they had to keep it running. Now over two decades later it's still running and more popular than ever.

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#83
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/22/2011 12:19 AM

Ah thank you!

Cite sources please, I was trying to follow up but had trouble winnowing running systems from speculative websites

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#84
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/22/2011 2:12 AM

Small scale, but there's a nice picture of London Heathrow.

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#86
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/22/2011 6:43 AM

"This is an older version of the Ultra website, which has been retained for archival purposes.
To visit our new website, please go to www.UltraGlobalPRT.com."

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#87
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/22/2011 10:30 PM

Many thanks, both of you!

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#28

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 6:20 AM

How about something like a bicycle with a small engine on it,maybe it could have Automatic transmission and be Economical

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#49
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 4:45 PM

France had these motorized bikes when I was there in the early '60s. You could peddle, or when going up hill, push the motor on to the front tire and your momentum started the engine. Up the hill you went. When you got to the top or a flat area, lift the engine off the tire and peddle. These are probably still around...

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#29

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 8:30 AM

Maybe this is a little ridiculous, but if you simply moved everyone to a city your problem would be mostly solved. The population density in cities is sufficient to service most if not all people with public transportation. Suburban and rural communities are simply too spread out to realistically transport every person to within 1 mile of their homes.

City living is also drastically more energy efficient than rural living. I think a large portion of this has to do with transportation costs, not just for commuting but for food and other supplies. Which raises another interesting question: if everyone gives up their personal vehicle and uses public transportation to get to work, do we also need to put a grocery store within 1 mile of every single person? Or do people need to take the train to pick up a gallon of milk?

I lived in Manhattan for a year and commuted out to Connecticut. I walked a mile each way to the train station. I enjoyed the time outdoors, and the walk also had other benefits - I've seen a noticeable decline in my fitness since I moved out of the city and began driving to work again. Time to get back to the gym.

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#31

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 8:59 AM

Locked in rual Western Ok., 75 and just had a kidney removed and quite agile and brain hasn't given up to the idea that I'm not 30, But quite disabled to travel to far from the house. Still would like to go to the nearest town to shop. I have neighbors and friends who come by, but need gas money, something to eat and will be back, just call if you need anything. A trip to Wally-World or Grocery cost any where from 50 to 100 dollars for transportation...I somewhat see an opening for an individual to make a living picking up the slack where the need is existing..But the cost of some type of Lic. and insurance and fuel, scares the devil out of anyone to try such a project.. leaving any type of mobile device anywhere and expecting it to be there when you return is pulling on supermans cape..The last mile is only one to address and much needed, but a public transportation system on time in rual areas is another...

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#32

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 9:10 AM

If the local municipality can't afford to build or maintain a dedicated sidewalk then there's slim chance that a dedicated "People Mover" (hello George Jetson!) would fly.....too much $$$$, especially if it's located in the snow belt.....

Yeah, most peeps are way too lazy to walk a mile, let alone 200 yards! But wait, what about those with disabilities and limited mobility, or the elderly, that can't walk that far?

A Segway is a good solution, that is if you have good balance! Problem is if it isn't secured properly it'll get ripped-off. Can you imagine returning from work, shopping, or a trip, only to find that your mode of transport has been stolen by some punk? You'll still have to hoof it anyway to get home!

Personally, I like the "Hover-board" that Michael J. Fox used in the movie "Back to the Future"....

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#33

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 9:37 AM

It is possible to design travelators that are slow where you get on them but much faster in between stops.

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#34

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 10:55 AM

If you modularize people, they become much easier to transport.

okay.. bad form.. lol

If you change city bylaws to allow locals to earn money they can help with the solutions.

Many cities simply have more bars near the terminals of the public transport systems, and then patrons are transported home by taxi.

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#35

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 11:19 AM

This is a problem. I'm currently spending a small fortune because of exactly this problem.

Ideally the longer distance transit stops at major drop points that link to shorter route local transit. We are in a western American low density city outlier area.

3 miles from my home I have a regional transit stop (train). It links to another regional (bus) that stops about two miles from my work. The train gets me from start to end in about 15 minutes. The bus takes another half hour.

So if I drive my car to the first stop and get on the train, I am now 45 minutes from nearly my destination. If I leave the car at the other end, well you get it.

But my work is in a suburban work-park (industrial park doesn't really describe) where all the streets are huge loops, none have side walks, and by the way are built on cliffs (OK, steep hills).

I am expected to show up in more than work casual, so slacks and dress shoes, keep a jacket at the office but rarely use it.

AND p.s., the monthly transit costs back and forth roughly equal the car payment and insurance.

So whatever my motivation for using public transit the following limiters apply:

A. I still have to own a car AND now pay for another car in transit fees

B. If you are working in America, you are probably putting in longer days, my transit time goes from 1/2 hour one way to 2 hours 45 minutes each way, mostly spent walking, on top of the 10 to 11 hour day I work so my work day goes from 12 hours to 16 hours.

C. I am despite various disgusting lifestyle choices, still disgustingly healthy. However my better half has a hip problem. To comply with all the comments about lazy westerners I need to get her in for hip replacement surgery. Something she prefers to accommodate and live without under our current arrangements. Since my health care is subsidized by my employer that is about 5 grand to me and 40 grand to my employer's insurance. Oh, but she does all the errand running so she still needs a car because local public transit just isn't there.

So having gone through the exercise of writing all this down, I have argued myself to a position that the last mile problem is best served by a robust and convenient local transit system.

Go sell that to your local county government.

Availing myself of my transit system's handy on-line route planner I get the following details:

If I give up the car and use my infrequent local bus, work is now 3 hours away with the hike still waiting at the other end since industrial parks don't need buses.

The airport is 5 hours away. I drive it in 45 minutes.

The grocery store is a short jaunt, but my bank is over an hour one way.

The pet food store is two hours, one way.

The dry cleaner is 90 minutes.

You get the point. The wife runs all these errands, so I guess she could give up all her interests and just run errands all day long on the bus.

Oh, and the last city I lived in was Phoenix, where standing on a corner waiting for the bus is a death defying act for a healthy individual at best, six months of the year it will kill you.

Trying to pry a western American city free from the auto is going to be damned expensive.

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#36
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 11:28 AM

"But, it's a dry heat."

I tell people it doesn't matter how dry it is once the air temperature goes above 110°F, which it does regularily here, in the "Valley of the Sun."

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#37
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 11:51 AM

I see that, occasionally, it gets a little warmer than 110°:

But, it's a dry heat.

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#40
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 12:03 PM

Interestingly, when these folks offered to talk to Phoenix as revenue partners with air conditioned stations and little construction footprint, covering the entire valley etc.

They couldn't get a hearing.

Instead Phoenix built a 15 mph tram system at incredible cost and limited service footprint....wait for it That was originally designed to go from Paradise Valley (where our legislators live) to the capitol building.

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#41
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 12:35 PM

A 15 MPH train that stops at traffic lights, no less. The next stretch of light rail is going down the main street of my town. The merchants, most of whom are barely making it now, can't wait to have the streets torn up for two years.

That's levitating thing is way too progressive for Arizona. Remember, we all still carry guns here and it's legal to conceal them, too, without a permit.

We get the important things done first here, then worry about transportation.

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#42
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 1:10 PM

2 years - you'll be lucky!

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#44
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 1:21 PM

Now here is a related (yet off topic) maybe someone from transport sector can help with?

Buses make more sense for installed cost and flexibility - easy to change routes.

Buses also have tiny doors, stairs (mostly) or really dumb 'kneeling' features or worse hydro lifts for wheels chairs.

Trains / trams / I use the term loosely - have wide doors, giant windows, low decks, and usually a tiny flip down ramp for wheelchairs.

Given the far higher (approachability? what word do I want here?) can't someone make me a bus for city use that is as appealing to consumers?

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#71
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/17/2011 10:41 AM

European buses have gone beyond kneeling and door lifts. Now they have wide doors and the bus stops have built up pavements (sidewalks) to give a level boarding experience. The interior is mostly all on one level, with dedicated wheelchair/pushchair areas and flip down seats (3-4 per bus).

Only exceptions are the small 16 seater buses which are a nightmare for someone like me with RA and a granny shopping trolley!

Our intercity trains have narrow doors and steps...

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#73
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/17/2011 10:52 PM

which are a nightmare for someone like me with RA and a granny shopping trolley!

You and my wife - can't imagine

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#74
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/18/2011 2:12 AM

I shouldn't laugh, but the image of a shopping trolley race is just too funny. I'd win it

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#77
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/18/2011 10:19 PM

Between Rose's RA and my wife's bursitis it would have to prolly be a slow race.

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#45
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 2:07 PM

I failed to mention that my job only entails the 1 square mile that makes up the historical, "downtown" area of my fair city. What's outside that area is not my concern, nor a revenue source for the corporation that employes me.

And, I plan to "hang up my spurs" in two more years, anyway.

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#47
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 3:39 PM

Gaga eggs in tubes should work then. Or even the moving walkways like they have in airports.

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#43
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 1:13 PM

In fairness to Phoenix (why?) the only reason for public transportation back east was (back in the day) getting blue collars to the plant and maids to the suburbs.

Whole different infrastructure required for school kids and white collar.

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#39
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 11:54 AM

how about this to replace the walking?

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#46
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 3:03 PM

for the times and places where heat isn't a problem. bus racks because presumeably if you go slow, you won't experience any more problems than you will walking.. but for less time.

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#50
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/12/2011 1:48 AM

Great idea, but for only the first 2 from a whole bus load.

Edinburgh buses allow children to be carried in buggies, using the wheelchair spaces when no invalid is on the bus - but then expect the parent to get out the way - even to the point of leaving the bus - as soon as a wheelchair user wants on.

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#51
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/12/2011 11:45 AM

Here we go.. room for everyone and their stuff..

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#52
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Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/12/2011 12:14 PM

You laugh, but when I was still contracting ...

So if you had living quarters in the front and toys in the back...

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#38

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/11/2011 11:53 AM

Honda's electric Canopy (Gyro) 100mpg - now gone electric.
(available fully enclosed) various customised rear carriers - what more do you need?

jt.

Three rednecks were working up on a cell phone tower: Red, Fred and Bob.
As they... start their descent, Bob slips, falls off the tower, and is killed instantly.
As the ambulance takes the body away, Fred says, 'Well, shucks, someone should
go and tell his wife.

Red says, 'OK, I'm pretty good at that sensitive stuff, I'll do it.'

Two hours later, he comes back carrying a case of Budweiser! Fred says,
'Where did you get that beer, Red?' ' Bob 's wife gave it to me,' Red replies.

'That's unbelievable, you told the lady her husband was dead and she gave you beer?'

'Well, not exactly', Red says 'When she answered the door, I said to her,
"you must be Bob 's widow?"

She said, 'You must be mistaken. I'm not a widow.'

Then I said, 'I'll bet you a case of Budweiser you are.'

Rednecks are good at sensitive stuff.

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#59
In reply to #38

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/15/2011 10:08 AM

Bob slips, falls off the tower, and is killed instantly.

WTF! Did someone forget to tell me something? Don't you think that would be some handy information to have?

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#53

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/12/2011 3:43 PM

My son and his school friends used these things 'til they got the hormones going and needed a cooler mode of transport.

Compact light cheap (and they did tricks on them.) Scale them up slightly for adults.

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#72
In reply to #53

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/17/2011 10:45 AM

Nowhere to put my hand bag....

...the shopping....

...the evening's meeting notes...

...Toastmaster goodies...

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#54

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/13/2011 11:11 AM

The main reason the "Last Mile" is a problem with public transportation is that not everyone residing/working in more specific locations travels at the same time.

Even if you and your neighbor worked in the same building and worked the same hours, one day they'll need to pick up milk on the way home and you bread on another.

One way to solve the issue is have high density work/home locations that have a continuous running shuttle service. Otherwise, the less dense you get the less likely you will be able to develop a shared or convenient transportation means. Otherwise, you could force everyone that lives in the same block or works in the same building to leave/arrive at the same time.

And convenience is the key, once the public means becomes more inconvenient that personal means, people wont use them.

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#58

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/15/2011 10:01 AM

I find amazing that this theme got so many debate... It seams that there is 1) people need to change they habits , and 2) the need for a more efficient public transport ! about the public transport I think is possible, about the people I just don't know

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#60

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/15/2011 10:18 AM

Some of the rural areas of Florida are doing the mandatory sidewalk thing also. Two lane road going on for five miles when all of a sudden there is a new building on one side of the road along with a perfect sidewalk leading from the dirt in front of it to the dirt at the other end of it.

Some of the communities have stepped up with mini buses that can carry about 20 passengers. They are equipped with bike racks and wheelchair lifts. They circulate through a neighborhood, allowing one to get off of the bus that runs across many areas, and then ride the mini bus within a block or so from your house.

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#61

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/16/2011 1:40 AM

If we all stopped living in suburbs and rural areas, and expecting the infrastructure to be spread ever more thinly then the last mile problems just disappear.

Higher density living = better efficiency

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#62
In reply to #61

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/16/2011 6:47 AM

Personally, I would prefer living further from the city, its noise, pollution, and crime, and have no desire to sponge off the public sector for my mobility.

Cities are noisy, dirty, and crime-ridden. Traffic is terrible (even with public transportation), schools are generally inferior, and taxes are higher so that these rotten services can be afforded.

This is what higher density living equals, but if you like it, you can have it.

I like walking outside and seeing grass and trees, sitting down without hearing horns, cars, and people shouting, and breathing air that does not contain copious amounts of smog - but that is just me.

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#63
In reply to #62

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/16/2011 10:54 AM

WOW! I never realized just how narrow minded you are.

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#64
In reply to #63

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/16/2011 11:01 AM

Oh, well. Small mind and wide open spaces. ;-)

There is something nice about walking outside at night and being able to actually see stars or if so desired drag out the telescope so our kid can get another form of stimulation besides what is on the internet. Or, just walking out the front door and playing frisbee with the dog.

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#65
In reply to #64

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/16/2011 12:48 PM

I bet the city people paid for your roads, and electricity and phone communiciation. Lucky you

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#66
In reply to #65

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/16/2011 1:08 PM

Yup, same as everybody does, or do you think only those that live in cities pay the majority of taxes?

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#67
In reply to #64

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/16/2011 1:08 PM

No Wall-mart, no Walgreen's, no 7-11, no soothing auto horn serenade, no distant siren wail, no police helicopter to light up the neighborhood, no sidewalk Santa-pimp, no Chevy box cars with rap so loud that the trunk is vibrating every panel on it loose, no local house parties with cars randomly parked so that all road traffic is stopped, no crack whores.

What kind of hell did you move to? Are you so old that you do not remember these things with fond memorys? You poor poor man.

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#68
In reply to #62

Re: How to Solve the "Last Mile" Problem in Traffic

11/16/2011 11:03 PM

Done both, loved different aspects of both.

Truly would move back into the city if I could afford it, instead am hitting that balance between - the interurban boundary

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