June 4, 2019

"Company proposes ‘flying solar pods’ as new public transit alternative in Madison."

The Wisconsin State Journal reports, with this horrifying picture:



Why would that be better than self-driving "pods" (cars) on the street? Because you could spend a billion dollars constructing eyesores at the second story level? Because people have so much fun suspended in the air? Because it's easier to exclude people who can't walk upstairs? Because... SOLARRRRRR!!!!

95 comments:

rehajm said...

In Madison there'd be too many traffic incidents with the flying pigs.

rehajm said...

Where do ya think those stairs are going?

Sebastian said...

"Because... SOLARRRRRR!!!!"

Because prog delusions? Because prog graft? Because prog confidence that the Althouses of the world still think they are "fantastic"?

traditionalguy said...

I hope they are heated Pods. Because Global temps are falling fast.

Since all the Data on warming atmosphere and sea level rise have been faked, the only science involved here is World Propaganda Science.

gilbar said...

In Chicago, we called those: the el
And they were nuclear powered

rehajm said...

Looks like more of a Shelbyville idea...

Jersey Fled said...

This is what you get when you elect Democrats.

rhhardin said...

That dress makes her ass look fat.

Curious George said...

"Among other concerns: Transit X has overestimated revenue, underestimated the timeline of the project, not certified the pods for safety, not ensured the pods would be wheelchair accessible, not addressed how the fast-traveling pods would function at intersections, and not fully considered the challenges of securing air rights or constructing the railway around street lights."

I thought these would be features, not bugs, for Madison.

Paco Wové said...

It looks as though the people of Madison are far more skeptical than the people of Atlanta.

I'm Full of Soup said...

I've said this before many many times.....Far left liberals are mentally ill.

rehajm said...

It does address the problem of people pooping on the streets and sidewalks...

Bob Boyd said...

The best thing about putting the pods up high, they won't be in my way on the streets like the self-driving cars would be.

AllenS said...

What's needed now is for former MoveOn.org leader, and now leader of the WI democrats, Ben Wikler, to approve of the project and be a leader of its development. Fantastic!

Beasts of England said...

Solar powered is nice, but are the Pods gluten-free?

Bob Boyd said...

If you find yourself wanting to get into a pod, there's something wrong with your bean.
And probably, your soul has died.

Automatic_Wing said...

Good thing it's always sunny in Madison.

tcrosse said...

Madison should hold out for telekinesis.

Ralph L said...

From Paco's Atlanta link:

“I really don’t see any cons other than let’s get it done,” Dodson said.

I see a really big con. The video there uses the same image in Althouse's post, so it's the same people.

Temujin said...

Crappy idea that would turn into this century's answer to Detroit's People Mover. That said, it's good that people are constantly coming up with new ideas for transportation and/or SOLAR. It'll take about 500 bad ideas to get one where someone says, "Hmm...that might just work."

Ralph L said...

Madison needs a audio-vibratory physio-electric transport device

Wince said...

Rather than "pods" a more accurate description would be taxpayer Ben Wa Balls.

tim in vermont said...

People who don't see cons are known as "marks."

stevew said...

What problem are they proposing to solve?

Fernandinande said...

They claim that people can get on and off while the pods travel non-stop at 45 mph, so that's pretty cool.

sinz52 said...

I don't know what Madison is like, but I live near Boston and I know what the Boston area is like. So I was curious what this company proposes to do about the existing above-ground networks of telephone wires on poles and electric cables on poles.

And here's the quote:

"We look to work with the local utility companies to relocate existing power and utility lines along the sides of the tracks."

Relocating ALL those telephone poles, electric poles, traffic signs and traffic lights that are suspended from poles, etc., is going to be a massive and costly undertaking, which this company has either underestimated or has deliberately soft-pedaled.

chuck said...

The green urban transport solution is sedan chairs. And hey, there is a university in Madison, the young bros could earn tuition money while getting exercise. Why pay for crossfit when you can get paid to walk.

narayanan said...

Batteries will be charged with "solar tanning lamps" when there is no sun.

Maintain integrity for brand SOLAR

tim maguire said...

How many snail darters and snowy owls will have to die for the acreage that the solar panels will need?

John henry said...

I don't get the solar connection. Are these pods supposed to have solar panels on the roof? Will they run from 10AM to 2PM only?

I suspect that they will be running off utility grid power. That has about as much liklihood of ever running off of solar power as I do of running my car off my farts from last nights beans.

But by adding the SOLAR!!! in the name they can capture some Deep Thinkers(tm)

The article did not say who is going to pay for this. I assume they have some private investors? Surely they are not asking the taxpayers to fund this, are they?

15-20 years ago you federal taxpayers (not, mainly, us Puerto Ricans) built a huge elevated train system around San Juan. Recently the govt announced that they were going to shut down about half of it due to lack of ridership. $2.28 Billion dollars. (Yes, Narciso, plenty of graft and corruption to go around)

I've ridden it a few times and it is very nice. It rides on rubber tires so is quiet and smooth.

Thanks, suckers.

John Henry

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

The stairway does not look ADA compliant. Not room for my wheelchair in the pod, and my therapy iguana is claustrophobic.

BarrySanders20 said...

Couples can get their freak on inside those pods. Drunks can vomit in them. One problem anywhere on the line (mechanical, tall truck strikes the track, car runs into platform and damages the track) and the whole pod system shuts down. It's perfect public transportation for millennials.

John henry said...

Puerto Rico trivia,

Puerto Rico used to have streetcars but they were all gone by the mid 60s'. There were still some tracks in the 70s but all gone now.

What is not gone is giving directions by trolley stops. "The WalMart? That is down by Stop 16." Metropol Restaurant? Its near stop 21" "The stop 18 branch of Banco Popular" and so on. No signs or anything to tell you where stop 16 is, but still commonly used and everyone knows what it means.

There is also a nice beach/park at the end of the old trolley line called "Ultima Trolley"

John Henry

Caligula said...

Well, yes, it does sound like a drug-fueled fantasy.

It's a form of elevated railway. And railways (but especially elevated ones) have historically had huge capital costs. They need to explain why this would somehow be different?

Even before one considers safety (how do you get out of a pod if/when something goes wrong?).

Although it would be funny (in a depressing sort of way) if the thing were actually feasible if not for requirements that everything be accessible. For organizations claiming to represent the handicapped have made it quite clear that if everyone can't use some amenity then it's better that no one should be able to use it.

Perhaps the business plan is:
1. Ocasio-Cortex wins the presidency.
2. Massive open-ended federal grant secured.
3. Construction begins, funded by government-guaranteed loans.
4. Financial collapse long before completion. But, contractors and vendors fully paid from the guaranteed loans.

narciso said...

Well we have our own boondoggle, ala shelbyville called the metrorail, it goes not many places slowly at great cost.

Anonymous said...

>In Chicago, we called those: the el

Yes, the sense that you 'stack' existing street right-of-ways...but these are a lot lighter and less obtrusive. The el support structure needs enough steel to support a ~200 ton train. These just need to support a ~0.5 ton pod.

>What problem are they proposing to solve?

Two big advantage of PRT is that it's personal; passengers don't have to stop at a bunch of intermediate stops, transfer lines, wait longer at night, etc.

tim in vermont said...

We used to say that monorail is the way to go when you could walk, but want to ride a train.

mjg235 said...

It's because SOLARRR

chickelit said...

Relocating ALL those telephone poles, electric poles, traffic signs and traffic lights that are suspended from poles, etc., is going to be a massive and costly undertaking, which this company has either underestimated or has deliberately soft-pedaled.

That was already done years ago, as part of Soglin's "downtown revival." Back then, the downtown was trying to hang onto retail businesses fleeing to the shopping malls. Now that that era has passed and every retailer is trying to survive in the Amazion Age, the challenge is just to get people downtown.

The flying pods address a traffic challenge rather unique to Madison: Because of the isthmus, two major traffic arteries must cross State St. This has always led to traffic bottle necks due to perpendicular routing. I presume that the pods will fly over the Johnson St. and Gorham St. traffic.

n.n said...

Back to the womb... or coffin.

chickelit said...

Why not just install a big chairlift taking you from Bascom Hall to the Capitol?

alan markus said...

I like this plan for the potential it has to shift the focus of attention of the "cool people" away from high speed rail, like the Milwaukee to Madison scheme.

Fernandinande said...

Next they'll be sticking trains in underground tubes.

Anonymous said...

>Why would that be better than self-driving "pods" (cars) on the street? Because you could spend a billion dollars constructing eyesores at the second story level?

Because it would cost tens-of-billions of dollars to create a new right-of-way.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

the good news is the crash will be so intense, you wont' feel a thing.

Paco Wové said...

"these are a lot lighter and less obtrusive"

Being imaginary helps a lot with that.

MayBee said...

Looks like a good place to rape someone.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

From the video, it looks like the pods could comfortably seat four people, assuming those people were enjoying the benefits of a late-stage-socialism diet.

Jersey Fled said...

I researched a shopping center for one of my stores several years ago. The developer had a history of:

1. Getting cozy with local pols
2. Finding a project with an environmental "hook". This one was to be built on an old superfund site.
3. Getting a big government grant to "study" the project.
4. Never actually building anything.
5. Moving on to the next scam.

Anonymous said...

>Looks like a good place to rape someone.

It's the opposite. This is 'personal' rapid transit i.e., you don't have to share the pod with anyone. And it will take you to your destination w/o stopping.

ga6 said...

Because MONEY!!!!!!

Fernandinande said...

The Wisconsin State Journal reports "Top U.S. doctor finally speaks out about the danger in your kitchen, American's #1 favorite vegetable isn't what you think it is."

I think
"American's #1 favorite vegetable"
is broccoli.

rehajm said...

Two big advantage of PRT is that it's personal; passengers don't have to stop at a bunch of intermediate stops, transfer lines, wait longer at night, etc.

(Skipper takes Gillian's hat off and hits him with it.)

n.n said...

Skipper takes Gillian's hat off and hits him with it.

The combination of Personal Coffins (PC) and clean, green transporter technology will overcome the limitations of shared resources (e.g. rail).

Beasts of England said...

'This is 'personal' rapid transit i.e., you don't have to share the pod with anyone.'

The article says the pods will have the capacity for up to five people.

Fernandinande said...

Funny article -

Outbrain and Taboola "chumboxes"

"In 2015, John Mahoney coined the term and wrote a widely cited “taxonomy” of chumbox content for the Awl. The content types he identified:

Sexy Thing (e.g., hot singles in your area, “your area” determined using your IP address)
Localized Rule (e.g., some change in your city’s parking meter system, ditto)
Deeply Psychological Body Thing
Celeb Thing
Old Person’s Face
Skin Thing
Miracle Cure Thing
Weird Tattoo
Implied Vaginal or Other Bodily Opening
Disgusting Invertebrates or Globular Masses
Extreme Weight Loss Thing
Money Thing
Wine
Oozing Food

The [top!] gut doctor fits into several of these categories, depending on the image he’s paired with. He is always a Miracle Cure Thing and he is often also a Disgusting Invertebrates thing. He is sometimes a Deeply Psychological Body Thing, or Oozing Food.

...

The gut doctor, to me, is elusive. [although he might be] Dr. Vincent Pedre."

Or even Trump, in some chumboxes.

Anonymous said...

"The article says the pods will have the capacity for up to five people."

Right...you can travel as a family. But you're not expected to travel with strangers.

PRT pods aren't small street cars. Everyone in the pod goes to the same destination without any intermediate stops. The pod will switch from one track to another as needed.

LakeLevel said...

While I've always thought Personal Rapid Transit was a pretty good idea, most of its boosters have been less than solid: Simpsons Monorail

Drago said...

I will support hundreds of billions for this effort if the lefty morons label this project "Bullet Pods"

Seeing Red said...

IF Madison has that much money, they should start burying their grid.

Drago said...

tim maguire: "How many snail darters and snowy owls will have to die for the acreage that the solar panels will need?"

None!! New magical unicorn battery technology is right around the corner!

FullMoon said...

The picture looks like one of those Mechanics Illustrated covers from the fifties predicting what transportation will be like in the year 2000.

Personally, I favor Magical Magnetism.

n.n said...

"How many snail darters and snowy owls will have to die for the acreage that the solar panels will need?"

The Green blight is good. The Green blight is green. The Green blight is... All hail the Green blight. That said, it's a niche solution, aspiring to become King... Queen... Mx.

n.n said...

predicting what transportation will be like in the year 2000

Lowered expectations. Flying cars are so progressive and have been deprecated in favor of PCs on a rail.

John henry said...

Blogger Gilligan said...

It's the opposite. This is 'personal' rapid transit i.e., you don't have to share the pod with anyone. And it will take you to your destination w/o stopping.

You sound like a supporter, Gilligan.

So are you going to invest in it? Or are you going to let the promoters use the government's guns to force your fellow citizens to pay for it?

(All govt money comes from taxpayers. All taxes are collected at gunpoint)

John Henry

John henry said...

When I was younger, I was promised that we would have flying cars and robots in the 21st century. I am still waiting for my flying car, but robots are here, now."

John Henry

Ann Althouse said...

"Looks like a good place to rape someone."

That was my first thought.

Also: to vomit and urinate.

madAsHell said...

People seem to think that solar is some infinite source of energy.

When you explain that in absolutely perfect conditions, you might find 1000W/sq. meter on the surface of the earth, and that their hair dryer requires 1500W.

Well......I've come to understand that cognitive dissonance, and orgasm are very similar. They both cause facial expressions that can't be captured outside the moment.

Ann Althouse said...

"PRT pods aren't small street cars. Everyone in the pod goes to the same destination without any intermediate stops."

To get people to their actual destination, you need to use the streets. You can't have elevated tracks like that down every residential street or even to every commercial street.

Beasts of England said...

'Right...you can travel as a family. But you're not expected to travel with strangers.'

Curious to see the pricing differential for a single passenger in a pod designed for up to five people.

Mr. Forward said...

Make Mount Pleasant the state capital, problem solved.

Scott M said...

Even before one considers safety (how do you get out of a pod if/when something goes wrong?)

The sci-fi writer in me says the pod automatically detaches from the track and bounce/rolls to a stop, slowed by some airbag-type cushions. Then the door Gus Grissom's. The difference, of course, is that you're safely on a street in Madison, not sinking the ocean three-hundred miles from the nearest coast.

Scott M said...

"Looks like a good place to rape someone."

That was my first thought.

Also: to vomit and urinate.


You can be raped anywhere, so this isn't a ding. As far as vomit and urinating goes, this also occurs on buses and subways. Here, you've got a smaller, more concentrated airspace, which of course cuts both ways. My fix would be to install sniffers that pick up those types of particles and have the system automatically route that pod to a maintenance shed. Of course, the system would have to be able tell between someone puking after binge drinking versus simply the breath after binge drinking, lol.

John henry said...

Blogger madAsHell said...

When you explain that in absolutely perfect conditions, you might find 1000W/sq. meter on the surface of the earth, and that their hair dryer requires 1500W.

Also explain to them that, in absolutely perfect conditions, on the equator, you only get about 6 hours per day of usable solar energy. So that 1000W/m3 Is really the equivalent of 250 watts.

Want to see a side by side comparison of solar and central steam plants? AES has a site in Guayama PR with both. you can see a Google Earth shot of the two here https://darkislandpr.blogspot.com/2018/01/80-square-miles-of-solar.html

The solar facility takes up about 5 times as much land. It has an effective capacity of about 5MW. The steam plant has an effective capacity of about 450MW.

The other thing to ask solar supporters is why they want to kill so many trees and plants? Nothing other than a few weeds will grow under the panels. Plants need sunlight, there is not much under a solar panel. So no CO2 absorption either.

Why do environmentalists hate trees and other green growing things?

John Henry

rehajm said...

Then the door Gus Grissom's.

That's a good verb.

n.n said...

Are the PCs flying or skimming?

Mark Jones said...

Hey, maybe if you want "people movers" at no additional taxpayer expense and with no additional infrastructure...just allow Lyft and Uber and similar jitney services to operate in your city. Privately-owned vehicles operated by private citizens moving other private citizens for an agreed-upon price at their own expense. If you simply can't abide thought of The Poor (tm) not being able to take advantage of this service, provide taxpayer-funded vouchers to The Poor (tm) to use.

It beats the hell out of overhead Pods, or even Light Rail. The system is flexible, and can adjust to changing populations and travel patterns. You don't even have to provide taxpayer funded bus systems.

Of course, the possibilities for graft are quite limited, so...never mind.

RobinGoodfellow said...

Flying Solar Pods would be a great name for a rock band.

RobinGoodfellow said...


Blogger Curious George said...
"Among other concerns: Transit X has overestimated revenue, underestimated the timeline of the project, not certified the pods for safety, not ensured the pods would be wheelchair accessible, not addressed how the fast-traveling pods would function at intersections, and not fully considered the challenges of securing air rights or constructing the railway around street lights."



I would bet that every public transportation project ever envisioned overestimated revenue and underestimated the timeline of the project.

Anonymous said...

>To get people to their actual destination, you need to use the streets. You can't have elevated tracks like that down every residential street or even to every commercial street.

I don't know the Madison-specific plan, but the normal idea with PRT *is* to have lots and lots of stations, one at least every major employer and major apartment complex. Again, PRT is closer to a taxi than a street car / train.

Logistically, think about the current Minneapolis skyway system. In that real-world system, building owners build/maintain/own the skyways on the grounds that access to that network increases the value of their property.

n.n said...

This concept could actually work as a train and automobile hybrid that transports personal vehicles with detachable, reusable, interchangeable bases.

On a related note, in theory, we could construct an inverted Dyson sphere to optimize capture of solar energy and transport to a terrestrial plane. A true greenhouse effect with accommodation for convection and incidence to conserve a comfortable climate for flora, fauna, and people.

elkh1 said...

Because passengers can get stuck in mid-air when it's cloudy giving them great excuses to taking time off.

Like California's 10 billion dollars high-speed train that goes nowhere, Madison's pods will pay off politicians' sugar daddies with taxpayers' dollars.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

maybe TIDE could sponsor and brand those pods

but then they would get eaten

Anonymous said...

>Hey, maybe if you want "people movers" at no additional taxpayer expense and with no additional infrastructure...just allow Lyft and Uber and similar jitney services to operate in your city.

The advantage of PRT is that you don't have to pay for a driver. Yes, eventually*, self driving cars will exist, too. At which point, the remaining argument for PRT will be that it expands the capacity of the existing right-of-ways.

*PRT is 80's tech, but has clearly missed its moment and will never happen. That said, I still cry a bit whenever I hear that some city build another god-awful light rail system.

RigelDog said...

I have mild claustrophobia and good health overall. Yet you would NEVER seal me up in one of those suspended pods--how many people will be even less mentally or physically able than I am to consent to that kind of confinement?

BUMBLE BEE said...

Conceived and Designed by "His Boy Elroy". The Unicorn Battery company has partnered with Tesla so that" a done deal!

BUMBLE BEE said...

That's

Eric said...

I've been in Madison so I've got wonder how they plan to clean up the vomit.

madAsHell said...

Also: to vomit and urinate.

...and the real stinker, poop!!

stlcdr said...

I'm glad you read these things, AA, so we don't have to.

Mark Jones said...

Gillian said, "The advantage of PRT is that you don't have to pay for a driver. Yes, eventually*, self driving cars will exist, too. At which point, the remaining argument for PRT will be that it expands the capacity of the existing right-of-ways.

*PRT is 80's tech, but has clearly missed its moment and will never happen. That said, I still cry a bit whenever I hear that some city build another god-awful light rail system."

The advantage of Lyft/Uber/Jitney is that it requires NO additional infrastructure expense. The cars already exist, and are already owned by other citizens. Yeah, you pay the driver to get you there, but they use existing roads. No need to build out a whole additional set of rails or overhead trams or what ever (even if funded privately). It's cheaper, simpler, and lets individual citizens make their own decisions on when, where, how, and whether to travel. Which...really is the problem with it (from the POV of the idiots playing SimCity with real money and real estate).

Clyde said...

How well would they work at night, or on cloudy days?

Bunkypotatohead said...

A waste of tax dollars.
But the security cameras will catch all the rapers and urinators.

Fen said...

The sci-fi writer in me says the pod automatically detaches from the track and bounce/rolls to a stop, slowed by some airbag-type cushions

Heh. Coincidentally, the Marine in me is looking at the vulnerability of the pods, wondering just how dependent on them Blue City State dwellers could be. These Leftist bastions are very fragile if the Cultural Cold War ever turns hot. Larry Correia over at Monster Hunter Nation remarked about some research he did for a book, listening wide-eyed to some Delta Force guys game theory how a dozen of them could bring a major American city to its knees over a weekend.

I don't know any Seals or Delta, but I had the privilege of working with some Force Recon guys, and from what I saw it seems very plausible. And easy, if you know where the weak points are. This trolley system would appear to be one.

Scott M said...

Coincidentally, Fen, I'm looking for a Marine to gut-check me for something I'm working on. I'm prior AF and was raised Army, but my USMC game is pretty weak, as evidenced by all the jargon I'm clueless about (but learning) on various Marine reddits. Preferably a Marine that shipped on a Wasp-class out of Pendleton, but that's not entirely necessary :)