Cars are unsafe. Morgantown's PRT network
has been operating without injury since 1975. In that same period of
time, cars have killed 1.3 million Americans. That is 437 times the
number of deaths suffered in the 911 terrorist attacks.
Delays to transportation innovation is not
about safety, it is about bureaucratic avoidance of something different.
Mobilizing to fight World War I,
bureaucracies were formed the manage the effort. They institutionalized
the great innovations at that time of Ford, Edison, Bell and the Wright
Infrastructure innovation was blocked by
monopolies for a century. It was not until AT&T was de-monopolized
in 1984 that Bell's analog networks came under competitive pressure. In
the last 25 years, communications infrastructure has been re-tooled
twice; from analog to digital to wireless.
Transportation and power generation
infrastructures remain locked in government monopolies. Infrastructure
so poorly conceived and so brittle at adapting that, aside from the
traffic deaths, they created civilization killers of Peak Oil and
Locked in place for a century is the
mandate to use 1,000 watt-hours per passenger mile. Populations grew
from one to six billion, exhausting the Earth's resources. Net Oil
Exports stopped growing in 2005 (Peak Oil), forcing the downward spiral
of foreclosures, financial collapse, jobs collapse, and soon food
production/distribution collapse. We must either reduce watt-hours per
passenger mile by 80% or nature will forcibly reduce the number of
passengers by 80%.
Safety, on the scale of the environment,
requires adapting before catastrophe. Lack of automobile safety and
convenience is underscored by a March 2008 AAA study:
- Congestion costs each American $430 per
- Accidents costs each American $1,051 per
Elevators, theme parks, JPods, any private
business, would be driven out of business by lawsuits if they had a
safety record as bad as cars.