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Lyle Zapato

Look Out For Falling Podcars

Lyle Zapato | 2008-09-13.2105 LMT | Monorail Danger | Pneumatics | Technology

Speaking of menacing pods, the Monorailists have a new scheme to get us all traveling on dangerous monorails -- the Podcar:

The Podcar: teetering over your home town soon?

It's a "podcar," also called "personal rapid transit" -- a system of vehicles that provide on-demand, private, nonstop travel. These vehicles can carry people or light freight. They ride on small, overhead guideways -- like a monorail or people mover -- above existing roads, and are powered entirely by electricity. Picture the car as an elevated, driverless taxi. It's under computer control, so there would be no accidents, thereby saving lives and lowering insurance costs.

Podcars operate on demand, waiting at off-line stations; they can be summoned if one is not available when you arrive at the station. Each vehicle can hold four people, yet the system can be cost-effective even with a single rider for each trip.

Benefits that monorail podcars have over traditional monorail trains are that when one bursts into flames, only four people will be roasted alive, and you won't be able to fit a frightened elephant inside one. Also, when they stall (and they will), you can get out and push.

Podcars are a poor mimicry of the superior Inteli-Tube pneumatic transportation system* and were designed to confuse the car-obsessed public into building more dangerous monorails. But the sinister ambitions of the Monorailists don't stop with preying on automobilophiles, they also want to replace bicycles with a monorailular version! Will the monorail madness never end?

* The ITPTS was developed by Lyle Zapato & ZPi Laboratories.

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