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Old February 27th, 2015, 05:12 AM   #10381
mcarling
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Originally Posted by John Maynard View Post
if cars would be able to drive themselves, some stupid politicians will decree that it's no longer safe to drive oneself and completely forbid it .
I predict that will happen with articulated trucks sometime between 2020 and 2025. A law may not be required, but the economics of no more rest periods, no truckers to be paid, and much lower (non-zero) accident rates will soon become compelling. As soon as state laws are amended to allow it, self-driving truck tractors will quickly put all the truckers out of work. In the beginning, many of those will burn diesel, but they will eventually all be electric. It will be easier and safer to have automated charging stations than to pump diesel fuel.
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Old February 27th, 2015, 04:26 PM   #10382
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That will be the natural and expected outcome on controlled-access highways, at least, in less than 25 years.

It is just a matter of saving lives, actually. I like driving but I fully support driverless cars. Car crashes are a top-3 cause of death on all age groups below 55. It is also the leading cause of death on those between ages 16 and 40. Pleasure of driving, mine included, cannot justify so many deaths.
And with ever increasing connectivity and smaller and more capable devices, traffic will be less of a problem as we would be able to work confortably from our cars. Hey maybe even get stuff delievered to our cars with drones or small vehicles travelling on the shoulders of highways.
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Old February 27th, 2015, 05:39 PM   #10383
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post
I predict that will happen with articulated trucks sometime between 2020 and 2025. A law may not be required, but the economics of no more rest periods, no truckers to be paid, and much lower (non-zero) accident rates will soon become compelling. As soon as state laws are amended to allow it, self-driving truck tractors will quickly put all the truckers out of work. In the beginning, many of those will burn diesel, but they will eventually all be electric. It will be easier and safer to have automated charging stations than to pump diesel fuel.
You are probably right in most respects apart from the time-frame.

I can't see it happening in the next decade. Mostly due to legal and bureaucratic reasons. Technology must be tested and proven then technical standards legalized on national and international levels. It will take years of lobbying and wrangling.

Even then I'm not convinced if you can completely get rid of the truck drivers. Someone will have to help loading and off loading but more importantly minding the cargo while in transit. For security reasons I find it unlikely that we will see multimillion $ vehicles and often even more expensive cargo humming along unattended.

First self driving cars will be almost certainly passenger cars on boring daily commutes. But as I said it will take years to iron out all the legal and technical stuff.

And I'm definitely happy for that as I love driving and don't won't some liberal city dudes to ban it in my lifetime

Last edited by geogregor; February 27th, 2015 at 05:51 PM.
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Old February 27th, 2015, 06:15 PM   #10384
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You are probably right in most respects apart from the time-frame.

I can't see it happening in the next decade. Mostly due to legal and bureaucratic reasons. Technology must be tested and proven then technical standards legalized on national and international levels. It will take years of lobbying and wrangling.
The technology is already tested and proven. The lobbying and legal wrangling stage started several years ago. Last I checked, four US states already allow self-driving vehicles on the public roads but, for now, require that they have a human onboard who can take control.

I fully understand the sentiment of those who enjoy driving. One of my cars is a 1967 Lotus Elan.
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Old February 27th, 2015, 09:55 PM   #10385
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Old February 27th, 2015, 10:14 PM   #10386
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So many freeways... Texan freeways.
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Old February 27th, 2015, 10:49 PM   #10387
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I-35, San Antonio, TX

http://www.i35northeast.com/

Elevated toll lanes are planned along I-35 in northeastern San Antonio. They will be around 12 miles long and located between the freeway and the frontage roads. This solution adds 2 tolled lanes in each direction, while avoiding having to reconstruct the freeway and/or frontage roads and acquiring a wider right of way. Similar elevated toll lanes have been constructed along I-35E in Dallas.

The elevated lanes are planned from I-410 (south interchange) to FM 3009 in Schertz. They will shift across I-35 to the median and become at-grade and end at FM 1103.



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Old February 27th, 2015, 11:00 PM   #10388
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That is one impressive interchange, good grief! Do you know, Chris, if anything is planned for Austin in the near future? I've heard that is one Texan city that really needs to do something with its transport network.
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Old February 27th, 2015, 11:14 PM   #10389
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Austin is growing very rapidly. Most new infrastructure was built in the suburban periphery since 2000. There are a number of toll projects planned in Austin;

* toll lanes along the MoPac Expressway (currently under construction)
* toll lanes along I-35 and US 183 (the only 'free'ways in Austin) (planned)
* extending US 183 as a toll road towards the airport
* turning SH 71 into a freeway to SH 130 near the airport (under construction)
* construct SH 45 south of Austin to Loop 1.
* construct SH 195 as a freeway north of Austin

Austin is lacking a western beltway, but this project is highly controversial due to this area being one of the finer landscapes in Texas (albeit suburbanized).
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Old February 27th, 2015, 11:23 PM   #10390
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I noticed that Texas more than elsewhere it seems has really embraced tollways to help fund new road construction. Seems most of the new roads in Austin will be in that form. Not sure if I think that is a bad or good thing to be honest. Any locals have a view on that?
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Old February 28th, 2015, 01:02 AM   #10391
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post
The technology is already tested and proven. The lobbying and legal wrangling stage started several years ago. Last I checked, four US states already allow self-driving vehicles on the public roads but, for now, require that they have a human onboard who can take control.

I fully understand the sentiment of those who enjoy driving. One of my cars is a 1967 Lotus Elan.
It seems really unlikely - consider trains, self-driving has been there since the 1960's but cargo trains are still manned... mind you with less people than before.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 01:24 AM   #10392
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It seems really unlikely - consider trains, self-driving has been there since the 1960's but cargo trains are still manned... mind you with less people than before.
Self-driving trains are not radically safer than manned trains and the cost of the train driver is small compared to the total cost of operating the train. In the case of trucks, self-driving trucks are radically safer than manned trucks and the cost of the truck driver is a significant part of the total cost of truck transport.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 01:55 AM   #10393
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Again with the off-topic! Next, we'll be talking international border crossings here.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 05:42 AM   #10394
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Originally Posted by -Valentino- View Post
New Jersey and Oregon the only states with full-service mandatory gas stations... that's awesome!
As lobbied for by the fellows who pump gas. NJ's law was prompted by a self-service operator back in the 1930s who undercut his more established competitors. They banded together and lobbied for a bill banning "self-serve" gas. Paid off a lot of NJ politicos (wow, who'da thunk it...). Claimed safety issues. Could cite NOT ONE SINGLE INSTANCE of a fire or other safety related issue. Bill passed anyway.

So now we have 'fuel attendants' who sit out in a booth and wait for cars to come up, then have to serve four or six cars at once, run the credit cards, and do all that stupid stuff, WHO DO NOT GET PAID BY THE GALLON or anything like that, earn minimum wage, and usually make a gas stop twice or three times as long as it needs to be.

It's stupid.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 05:43 AM   #10395
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Re Svartmetall's post: The addition of toll lanes to already existing freeways in Austin was very controversial when first proposed some years ago. A pressure group called "Texas Toll Party" was formed to campaign against the toll lanes on the ground that users of these highways had already paid for them with their taxes and should not have to pay for them again with a toll. From ChrisZwolle's post, it seems that the Toll Party has been vanquished. As background, the Toll Party appears to have been a reflection of the Tea Party which is very influential in Texas Republican politics. The city of Austin is forever proclaiming how liberal it is (in fact, it is more libertarian than liberal) but the surrounding counties, especially to the north are very far right Republican in outlook, and iirc, have no public transportation to speak of (not that Capital Metro in Austin is much to boast about).
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Old February 28th, 2015, 06:41 AM   #10396
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So now we have 'fuel attendants' who sit out in a booth and wait for cars to come up, then have to serve four or six cars at once, run the credit cards, and do all that stupid stuff, WHO DO NOT GET PAID BY THE GALLON or anything like that, earn minimum wage, and usually make a gas stop twice or three times as long as it needs to be.

It's stupid.
Yes, it's stupid, but the problem will go away as electric vehicles replace hydrocarbon vehicles. Fuel stations will become fewer and less busy. When there will be only a few customers per hour buying fuel, there will be no full service stations anywhere.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 07:33 AM   #10397
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That is one impressive interchange, good grief! Do you know, Chris, if anything is planned for Austin in the near future? I've heard that is one Texan city that really needs to do something with its transport network.
Looks cool but it might still be a borked design if only the express lanes have direct connectors.

I will have to look at the specific plans. Ideally money would be spent to upgrade the 35 and 1604 interchange into a full stack. It is currently a weird cloverleaf design and everyone has to merge into one lane in the middle of a curving bridge. The right lane is already saturated with cars that just entered the road from ramps "upstream" to get from one highway to the other, because there are 2 gigantic big box retail strips that undoubtedly generate an abundance of traffic. There is a persistent slow zone around Schertz near Retama Park racetrack, that turns into bumper to bumper jams during rush hour, thanks to this weak link. Toll lanes will allow people bound for inner San Antonio willing to pay money to avoid this, but it doesn't solve the actual problem. I am imagining any future upgraded junction would probably be extreme to deal with these elevated roadways.

TLDR; they know people will pay the toll here because they'll see the horrible traffic jam down below.

Also that is cop and speed trap central. Decades ago it probably was not imagined that there would be a business district around 1604 and 281 with large office towers and shopping centers and everyone would be living in affordable suburban developments in the Schertz area and driving on the roads in between. Traffic in the area can be really bad. My friend lives around there and once I went down to 410 and then drove on a surface road and actually saved time.

I'd say toll roads in Texas are still controversial, because part of the recent state proposition that diverted money out of the rainy day fund to pay for roads stipulated no tolls on anything constructed.

But realistically its what it takes these days to get stuff built. The scale of these projects, with miles of elevated viaducts, its not cheap. And honestly some of the largest investments benefit specific communities or serve sprawl and are not really integral parts of a greater statewide highway system that should be free as a kind of public/social good. Its fair to make the users pay some of the cost.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 11:13 AM   #10398
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post
Yes, it's stupid, but the problem will go away as electric vehicles replace hydrocarbon vehicles. Fuel stations will become fewer and less busy. When there will be only a few customers per hour buying fuel, there will be no full service stations anywhere.
Politicians can always pass law requiring attendant watching while electric car is charging.


Let me guess, your background is in engineering?

In all your comments about self driving cars, trucks and electric power you seem to consistently underestimate human factor in adoption of any technology. (social, legal, psychological etc.)

First, technology is far from proven in both cases (battery packs and self driving cars).
Second, let's move this discussion to a separate thread and let's not create constant OT here
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Old February 28th, 2015, 11:44 AM   #10399
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Tolls suck but Texas do have low taxes so it makes sense there, + you can avoid the HOT lanes so some of the roads on that list is not even tolled.

Its worse when a really highly taxed place start to charge on top of insane taxes, and its non-avoidable tolls too.
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Old February 28th, 2015, 11:56 AM   #10400
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Traditional funding cannot meet the need of Texas highway development. There are basically five things you can do;

* do nothing: congestion worsens exponentially.
* add tolls: fund large expansion projects with toll lanes or new toll roads.
* increase taxes: raise the gas tax significantly. Not a very popular idea anywhere.
* replace the gas tax with a mileage-based fee. Currently being tested in Washington and Oregon.
* find new funding sources: introduce new taxes such as a road or vehicle tax.
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