I just finished reading a most interesting article on the future of mass transit and I found it an incredible read. I would like to share it with those who are similarly interested in the automobile industry; whether in insurance, legal or medical community. The article was written by Brad Templeton .
He states “…Traditional public transit faces a giant challenge from robocars. Side-by-side, transit is unable to compete with solo electric robocars in almost every way, including (to the surprise of most of us) overall system energy efficiency.
Because of that, outside of peak hours in most cities, it seems unlikely that many people would choose mass transit. Once offered a pleasant, direct ride, door-to-door in a private vehicle with no stops or transfers, assured seating with no unpleasant seat-mates, a nice chair with desk and screen at an average price under the typical unsubsidized transit cost and more sustainable to boot, it’s hard to see anybody not selecting the private vehicle. (I explain later and in other locations why all these benefits, including low cost, are possible.)
Off peak, when roads are not so heavily congested, there is no competition, but at times of heavy travel, road capacity may not (at least in the first decade) be sufficient. Rush hour is where shared transportation can shine.
Today, transit’s rush hour advantage can come from two sources. By putting many people in the same vehicle, it can take up less road capacity per person and also be energy efficient.
Secondly, it is often given private right-of-way to bypass the heavy public traffic, which can give it both fast travel times and reliable times — both of these have high value.
While those are great, transit typically has to make frequent stops for passengers, increasing trip time and also requiring more resources for stops & stations. Transit also runs on lines with schedules, and it is often necessary for passengers to change lines to get where they’re going, meaning extra distance and waits — so much so that people try hard to avoid transfers, and are really ruluctant to need 2 or more of them.
It should be noted that the above thesis often generates a powerful knee-jerk response. We’ve been told that our big transit vehicles are the green and socially conscious choice for so long that some people keep insisting on it even after seeing the math. It’s counter intuitive to imagine that the optimum size for efficiency is smaller than we use today, because when totally full, bigger is indeed normally better. But those sizes were chosen in an era when you needed drivers, and drivers cost a lot, so fewer, larger vehicles are the only way to be cost effective. This article explores what happens when the reign of the driver ends.
To understand the fate of mass transit, it is worth examining what it might compete with in the future, a different vision of group transportation that is not scheduled, but combines the best of both worlds. The world already has a small taste of this from services like UberPool, and will get more in the days to come…”
He made some very interesting predictions, I encourage you to read the whole article at THIS LINK.