Last week I found myself in Skagway on a cruise ship stop and hopped a ride on the White Pass & Yukon railroad. This railroad was a vital connection between the Pacific and the Yukon River gold fields. It starts in Skagway, the most northeast corner of the Alaskan Inside Passage, goes through the White Pass and then makes it to Whitehorse, Canada where it connects to the Yukon River system.
Today the White Pass and Yukon is a tourist railroad that provides a beautiful narrow gauge railroad ride through White Pass and has some of the steepest railroad grades and dramatic mountain rail engineering in the world, but, besides that, it was also a major player in the development of intermodal transportation.
This is our third blog on the Maxi Taxi concept, for earlier blogs on Maxi Taxi go to:
The Maxi Taxi concept has chosen five feet as the working standardization width for the system, which would result in road lane widths of about 6 feet. This is a nice return to more traditional road widths, noting that the narrowest roman roads were 5 ½ feet wide (and double lanes were about 13 ½ feet wide).
It is possible that the arbitrary width of five feet is not the exact optimal width, but chances are it is pretty close for quite a number of reasons.
Five feet is a pretty normal width for passenger cars, even though we can choose to design and built passenger cars with widths between less than 2 feet (when thinking in terms of motorcycles) up to 8 feet and possibly a little more. Today cars are generally wider than five feet, for quite a number of reasons, many of which are esthetic. While it is fun to design attractive cars, the Maxi Taxi concept aims for maximum utility and efficiency for transportation although, hopefully, the end result will have some level of attractiveness. read more »
In the Maxi Taxi 1 blog we introduced the Maxi Taxi concept as a thought experiment to explore how people transportation can be made to be more efficient by whole system design.
The Maxi Taxi is a passenger transportation concept that, through standardization, aims to rapidly increase system efficiencies. System efficiencies are different from component efficiencies and potentially have much more powerful payoffs.
The Federal Government aims to increase efficiencies of cars by about 100% in the foreseeable future. That is a very laudable goal, but, if that goal is achieved, we will not know how much less fuel we will burn because we are not working to an underlying standard or restriction.
Therefore, once the greater fuel efficiencies are achieved, it could very well occur that, due to strongly reduced fuel operational costs, customers can afford to purchase larger cars, which then, in turn, end up burning more fuel and which then results in reduced system efficiency gains.
We call this peculiar car a Maxi Taxi. Maxi Taxis are just a concept that was turned into this computer model by our intern Zach Davis (Harry Ottaway's grandson!), but they are an interesting concept and have features that are pretty much available today.
The Maxi Taxi concept rests on the success of containerization and maybe a Maxi Taxi can be described as a people container. It is designed to hold seven people, and its goal is to transport people much more efficiently than we do today.
The car itself takes advantage of very rapidly emerging technologies such as battery/hybrid/fuel cell power, automated driving, ubiquitous web presence and GM’s Hy-Wire platform concept. These concepts are pretty much road ready, but are looking for an introductory application where they can be fully integrated into the transportation system. We are all interested in these concepts, but to properly introduce them in the most optimized fashion is very difficult because it needs to displace existing technologies.
Today marks the passing of a real engineer. Keith Tantlinger was the engineer who designed the shipping container components that realized Malcolm McLean's vision.
The New York Times recognized Mr. Tantlinger's importance to humanity by publishing his obituary.