Proposal 1 … win or lose is still a win …

So Proposal 1 is due to fail. At least that is the take I have on it. There is no other plan so expect a few years to come up with one. In the meantime New York has a 42 cent tax on gas, we have 19 cents. With Proposal 1 we would go down to about 13 cents and increase the wholesale tax on gas.
This is a complicated proposal that seems to take in some of the concerns that modern transit is taking. Cars are getting a lot more fuel efficient and some are even skipping gas altogether. For reasons like this another form of paying for roads is necessary. Taking a major portion of a 1% sales tax makes sense.
I might not understand all of the features in this proposal but it seems to give us more money for roads. Yes it might mean $500 plus for 60% of the families and it might increase the number from 20% to 40% that will not be paying, but money is going to come from somewhere. For the population making 30 to 56K the cost would be $180 to $275. I do have friends that would be paying $13,000 but they are not in the normal range of people that make a living.
There is something about change that scares people. This is a change that is coming but how we deal with it might have some unexpected consequences. I would expect some corporation will come in in 5 to 10 years and purchase rights to roadways. Toll roads will be common. Other providers will provide taxi, bus and other services to get around roads. Travel will cost more to get were you want to go. Roads will be repaired but brides will close.
It is the idea that there there is no money, but we must keep our roads.
If we do not do something that will change the means of road construction that relates to the modern world others will (and have) take(n) over. Michigan is one of the first states to propose something of the nature of Proposal 1 and I think that is why it is so scary.
Why do I hope that this Proposal fails? Because I think it might be the opportunity to put in a system of transportation that will make money and get people where they need to go. Lets go back in time and all we needed were our legs to get anywhere. Most likely that was limited but it could also be far (2000 to ? miles). The tale goes on until we can travel massive distances in our lifetime. We like going places and we will continue to do so. If we walk or ride a bike we might go three miles. If we drive a car we might go 30 miles. If we hop on a train or plane we might go 500 miles. Mostly we go 30 miles or less.
The places we go in 30 miles or less is confined by location. If there are mountains the 30 mile route might be limited to 3 locations if there are no mountains it might be 5 plus locations. There are many possibilities for an enterprise to provide such a service. Other than military applications there is little incentive for government  to provide transportation services. In fact the main objective of the highway system was movement of large cargo related to military.
Lets see if the 43% of federal taxes can support the highway system and allow private ventures, see if they can run a transportation system that works. Suppose that truckers paid a fee to the Highway system and cars that ran on it also paid a hefty fee. State roads were also fee rated. Local roads were fee rated and some of them not. These that were not were locally taxed.
If there was no Proposal 1 vote in the approval I suspect that within 2 to 10 years something like this might be a reality.
I would welcome something of this nature. I would welcome firms that took on getting people around. I would welcome the government sustaining roads that moved goods and welcomed people paying to drive them.
Do we want to support some of the prospects with public dollars?…vote for Proposal 1…it will be a start…you will have the opportunity to fund or not to fund…it might be interesting. Yes a certain amount will go to public transit (that might be rail, bus or pod car), yes a certain amount will go to education and a certain amount will go to locals to support a variety of efforts.
Heck I think it makes sense. It makes  a lot more sense than paying 23 to 42%, we might pay about 20% to 25% and we will have the option of control This is better than the 42% that New York pays…it is about what Ohio pays, just a new form of the roadway taxes, making them more equal.
Proposal 1 means more money for roads, yes it means less money from poorer people but they are not getting anything near what the 1% is. They are not getting thing near what the 10% does, and they are getting a lot less than the middle 30 to 65K dose.
I don’t care if you vote for or against Proposal 1. I will still make money on your vote. If you vote to approve Proposal 1 I think I’ll see funding for rail studies as well as road improvements. I think I’ll see private investors involved in rail as well as bus ventures. If you vote it down I think I’ll see a lot of private investors interested in roads. And I think I’ll see a few investors  interested in other means of transit. It might be a little more or a little less to travel!
Vote to keep a public means of traveling. This seems to be a way of doing it (Proposal 1).
“… you have paid $4.00 to the state, but not even half
is going to get better roads for your
traveling pleasure.”

Wow! It did not go as I thought…

I want a private transportation system.

I met this morning with Dan Dirks of DDOT and that reinforced my conviction that it is at least worth considering. Detroit area has five government transit agencies, AATA, SMART, DDOT, the People Mover and the Regional Transit Authority and none of them have a good relationship of working together. There is also M-1 Rail which is a public-private concern as well as Amtrak.

Most other regions of the country at least have a regional transit authority that controls a combination of transit concerns. Some operate very successfully and some do not, but Detroit region has just enacted one and I don’t think it chances are very good.

What I got out of the meeting before, during and after the meeting this morning included things such as:
*DDOT in 2000 ran 450 buses with a budget of 170 million, today it struggles to put 175 buses on the roads with a budget of 130 million.
*There are significant factors which are causing delays in getting everything from parts, employee retention and buses.
*There have been many directors of DDOT since 2000 and the current director does not plan on being there for five years.
*The city and DDOT need to reconfigure bus routes but how does that happen? With input from residence, or from what we have in current data? Most likely from transit users and that is going to be a factor in costs and studies (more).
*Some people say that a director should have a plan with specific dates on a time line. I agree but I say that the regulations are hindering it from happening and that the time frame is longer than these people want.
*There needs to be a multi layered approach to having a secure team in place that will carry DDOT though and beyond. (But also there needs to be in place a process that ensures the other agencies in metro Detroit also have a plan.) (Will this transpire?)
*There are changes in place that will allow buses to be redirected but it is a slow process and one which requires attention of a lot of people.
*There are 25% of the employees (some as young as 48) that are eligible to retire now, and if they don’t they will not be eligible until they are 62. (Changes for younger workers?)
*Cameras are being looked at for all buses but will they really be on them by this fall…?
*Cameras are being looked at on light poles especially around schools but as Ira pointed out there are cameras in some of the light fixtures that might also be used. Was the presentation by the manufactures of the systems?

I just think the time is ripe for metro Detroit to add a private system to the mixup of the multiple agencies that make up transit and to show that another system might work. We are the last area of the country that is so scattered as far as transit. It just might work and I think it will. There are a number of organizations such as the Center for Neighborhood Technology that have done studies that can be used to form the backbone of such a system. I am sure that there are other studies that have been done concerning Washtenaw, Livingston, Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties that can be incorporated.

Transit funding is a complicated mess. The federal laws say that only United States can provide the tools for transit programs that receive federal funds, except… That exception applies to 20% of the materials from what I gather and that is a lot. The United States does not make any measuring gauges for the distance spacing of rail road tracks for instance. Every one of these items must go through an often lengthy process to get approved.

Different localities access funds from a variety of sources. The city of Detroit uses general funds to fund transit. SMART bills .59 mils to a homeowner and AATA bills homeowners I believe 3 mils. AATA is better than SMART and much better than DDOT. Funding matters. These systems all rely on federal funds for some of their operational costs as well.

I recently saw a photo of a barge load of nine diesel locomotives produced in the United States going to Africa. What if they were nine streetcars going from Europe to the United States? No,it would not happen if federal dollars were involved in any part of the transit construction plan. California recently did a bridge project that shipped the bridge from China, but they did not use any federal funding and they saved millions.

I have an acquaintance in Europe that I think has a program that spaces pod cars very well. I also have a person in the United States that I think is on the right track to provide a maglev system, but I am unsure of his ability to schedule them. Can the two work together in the United States? No, not with federal funding. A system that can combine the technologies from different countries is an opportunity to consider in metro Detroit, an area that uses only 25% of the transit that Seattle does.

I mention Seattle because it has a similar population to metro Detroit. It has a regional transit authority and uses different funding mechanisms than metro Detroit.

Detroit area is prime for a private system that might use the Regional Transit Authority to secure some of its routes. The time is now and I am working on it. Regina stated at the last meeting of the DDOT MOSES meeting that transit should be above the streets and I agree. It is all the more important that the streets of Detroit proper are desolate at this time in history. An overhead system would be less of a factor as Detroit develops again.

I would like to put together a system for metro Detroit, and I need support in establishing a framework of doing so. The lawyer that I have in mind for establishing an LLT is  David Joswick

Drop me a line a michwood (at) msn (dot) com if you are interested in helping and I’ll get back to you on my proposal.


W. Sean McAde

Metro Detroit 2040

I missed the presentation by Dr. Joe Grengs, a professor of transportation planning at the University of Michigan. When I got there another person was talking. Shortly after Joel Batterman of the Suburbs Alliance broke everyone into table groups. There seemed to be a piece of paper that outlined what we should be discussing, concerning the widening of I-94 and/or taking a look at public transit.

One woman that was speaking did mention that it was possible to take another look at the proposal but that it would be difficult.

Robert Prud’Homme (TRU’s VP) gave a speech about how roads that get expanded fill up and then Joe Grengs proceeded to explain about the variety of reasons for this.

The breakdown for the cost amounts to 12% for Detroit which is 70 million dollars and that amount is unlikely to be contributed. I never did get a sense of where the federal and state dollars will be coming from but from past reading I get the idea that it will be difficult. In the meantime I-94 has to conform to plan that is laid out. Right now there was 30 million the state had and I assume it is going into the exit ramps at Grand Blvd. and Van Dyke. Maybe MDOT did cover Detroit’s 3 1/2 million this time but 70 million?

I will discuss my feelings about table groups later…

You might want to see Gus Burns article

Corporate (LLC) Question

I have a plan that I’m not interested in showcasing at the moment, in part because I have not found an attorney that will answer my questions about setting up a company to handle the logistics of it.

I am interested in finding out if a company can be established with a set of investors that would be initial shareholders of about 15 to 20% of the company with a requirement that the balance of shares be released over the next five years with (supposedly) greater dollar requirements to get involved.

Anyone that has the answer to this question give me a shout at michwood(at)

It’s spring time and here’s the year that I’m cleaning up.

It’s time to clear off my desktop
I started out last spring with a reflection on what I had been doing in late March of 2011:
What have I done with woodworking since December of 2007? And where do I intend to go with it? The first is an easy answer, the second is a more difficult one to answer.

First I was working for Ed Hathcock for a few months part time. We finished up a kitchen that someone else had started. It was a monster! A ton of doors and corbels finished with a glazed detail. In between we worked on several kitchens and put out some fighting sticks (about 3000).

Next I went to live with my sister for a few months and completed a kitchen counter for them and started dry walling the basement. From there I moved down to New Center in Detroit and stared work on a wood floor in a building that had seen a lot of rain coming through the roof. The floor was buckled beyond belief.

I almost forgot that I also installed a bathroom. It included plumbing and drywall. Nicely done.

After the floor I built a built in for a party store operator. Not a bad unit. I had it cut at the supplier that I have used a few times for such projects. ( especially in the 90’s before I got into a full sized shop )

Next I started installing metal studs in the loft space. Once I had them in place I was waiting for electrical to be put in. But the electrician ended up doing 3 or 4 months in jail for drunk driving. So I took a job doing upholstery. Something that I have not done in 35 years! Although I had done a boat in the last 3 years. I got better but I was not getting paid, so I quite and came back to the loft.

Right now I am doing the upstairs bath. It includes plumbing and a lot of tile work.

When I got into woodworking to begin with it was in 1980? I was working at a furniture store and had someone who wanted a desk built. I had never touched a table saw. Yano, who supplied the furniture store with hand made furniture said I could use his shop. Somehow I got the pieces finished. I had designed a system of connecting the pieces with an aluminum fastener that I had extruded. Next I built a showroom using the same connector but it was painted. That project got me into trouble! (I did not know you had to prime lacquer) I also took on a laminate piece that I never completed.

I found a company down the street from me that had a rehearsal studio and also sold greenhouse windows. They were having trouble paying the rent. Somehow I took over until they moved. I continued working for them until a hernia sent me back to Michigan where I remained.

A friend of mine had a factory that made waterbeds and I ended up renting shop space with him in order to continue on with my designs using the extrusion. But he quickly went out of business so I worked part time for the landlord who had sold his company. He still had the option of designing some of the cement pieces, so we were working on the forms for an elephant and some dinning tables. We also did some work on the Yugo car that was being worked on by another company that he had sold some of his fiberglass work to.

In about six months we were out of work and I sought out a builder of custom cabinets to share space with. I worked with him for about a year. I hired an other cabinet maker that had recently shut down his shop and had a lot of equipment. I decided to rent shop space and buy his equipment.

That lasted less than a year before he wanted his equipment back. Somehow the police got involved and I did end up giving him the equipment back. In the mean time I had become involved with a designer that had a customer that bought and sold equipment. Much of it was from the old Packard plant in Detroit, but it worked (on 3 phase).

Somehow I got involved with an individual that was prep-ing machines for the auto companies. He had a nice spray booth but needed someone to make pieces for displays. I went in with him for 3 months. I could not stand the “fake employees that he rung up every month” or the constant badgering about rent, even before it was due. So I left and moved every thing into my basement. Well almost every thing, the 3 phase equipment would not work.

I was frustrated to say the least. I had met a requiter earlier that found me a job managing a custom shop for a Herman Miller dealer. I took it and lasted about 9 months. My office was just outside the bathroom where one of the owners took his “coke” breaks. That was just one of the things that got to me.

Talking to Mark, the supplier of equipment, he mentioned that he had space in his shop that I could rent. I did. Then I ended up moving into another area of his shop when he rented out my original space. He had a partner at the time and I’m not sure what transpired, but I went out looking for space.

I found space. In New Center I got into two buildings that needed a lot of work but one of them was paying rent. For $30,000 and just a little down I bought the buildings. The one I used had 3 phase, but just a 36″ door. Oh well I made it work for a few years. By 1992 I was out. (one building sold for just $12K a few months ago, and I am currently working on the third building on the block)

In 1992 through 1996 worked with the supplier that supplied the cutting service and tried to market some products from suppliers in Chicago. My major customer went bankrupt during this period which left me with trying to find work.

One supplier that I was using offered me the option of purchasing his company which I looked at as a possibility. I took it. He had seven employees and wanted to stay on as an observer. Ouch!

I learned his Cabinet Vision software and how to set up his CNC table saw (that could easily run through a semi in a day). I learned how to set up boring machines and the edge bander and I made things work. But then I got set up with a devision of Sears, National Tire & Battery. Then things got worse. The union came in and changed everything. Not only did they not do things right but I was the only one allowed to install. And then Sears stopped paying. I went out the door. On to the next step.

I was working at a friends shop one day when a call came into them. “I’m looking for someone to teach” said the caller. “John” said he had several candidates. When Rod showed up the next week to meet the candidates I was selected. We went out to the space he had rented in Taylor and I was hired.

In the summer of 1998 I set up the shop and prepared to start teaching auto workers the skills required to do woodworking. I did this for 5 years. (a long time for me to do anything!)

In the winter of 2003 I got approval to buy a home. And in May of 2004 I was told either buy the business or go on unemployment. I took the “buy the business”.

Things got crazy after that. I got behind. Big time. I finally had to realize that I could no longer stay in Taylor. I also had to realize that I was becoming unable to care for my son. Being a single parent since I had taken the job of teaching was taking it’s toll. Yes my shop was close to home, but since I had lost my license to drive everything seemed far away. In 2006 my son was awarded custody to my ex. By 2008 he was living with “his natural father” who I knew nothing about except that he had sold me a computer in 1997. (I should have remembered that an associate of my ex had met with me in 1998 and hinted at something of the sort)

Oh well, I’m off on a tangent. By the end of 2007 I had sold all of my equipment to a party in (Saint Louis) I really wanted a job. My six months at a deli counter job ended Jan. 4th at the deli in New Boston and I was hurting. By March or the end of, I was off to Chicago, next Phily. But nothing. Was it my leg which I injured in 2004 or was it my … I just do not know.

I was an early convert to Twitter, 2008? I started following a person that Tweets about woodworking and scuba diving, two tweets at a time. Then I stared following “The Wood Whisperer”,then I stared following Kala and Bioshop and renaissance and that’s about it for woodworkers. I suggested that Kala might invest in a high grain belt sander rather than a wider joiner and I was rebuffed. Do I not get some high end woodworking skills?

I think of the finishing line that Ed bought at a steel! I don’t know the exact figures but off the head I would say that he bought it at &20k and sold it two days latter for &125K. That’s more than I have made in two of my best years and that he made in two days?!

And the killer on this move is that the line would have cost $2 million? or somewhere… if purchased new. Now think of the $5k machines that are sitting in his shop that, yes cost $125K. To ship them to China, $25K… I’m estimating. Now companies are coming back here. Yes, I’m serious. (I was excited!)

I know…We have gone though a period of drought in this country, but not everyone has given up. Some of us have gone the extra mile to ensure that others prosper. From the Packard plant machinery to the $5K to $125K (Verses $2 million), Some of this machinery is irreplaceable.

I have not been to a lot of auctions but what few I have ben to have offered a lot of info,

Do I know a lot of computer programs,? no. Do I know how to do them,? yes.

(That was my final comment?!)
(I never did answer the second question)

At the very end of March I was commenting on the internet:
Looking at an internet business is like looking at the railroad build up of the 1870’s and 80’s. Every few years a new change “creeps” up.

Now we have people looking for a new job, something that will work and they want to know what the best online business is.

I have been looking for a job since 2005. I’ve found some and lost some. Some were online and some were not.

What I know about online sources of income is substantial, coded and sometimes just observant. I started with eBay and listing items on it. I wanted to create a store but eBay also provided that and I flew. Until the end of 2007. That’s when eBay instituted some policies through it’s PayPal unit and then through eBay it’s self.

EBay wants to buy a company that has contracts for other stores, it is looking at Amazons model that does $30 billion a year and it’s own projections of increasing it’s 5.4 billion.

When I wanted to get a site up I choose Site Sell because it got into some of the things that “Rudy” had worked on, like SEO. Today they seem to be in trouble (because of Googles readjustment?).

I went on to build a website that used HTML. It’s a bitch. And there are certainly easier ways to build a site now days. It is just that schools are not teaching them. They are three years back in the system. (Look it up in my Twitter stream).

I remember a “programer” that was taking woodworking classes from me and he said the only good thing Microsoft produced was Outlook. Outlook is something that I never learned. (It frustrated my stepmother, which I never understood.)

I played with 1984 versions of the Mac and have always been a Mac fan. I used variations of a PC in the late eighties and trough out business in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I got online in the mid 90’s and have watched the internet expand. I still remember when Google maps allowed you to see your house. That was what six years ago?

I stared out hearing about “Rudy” and the Derrick Gehl and went on to the Frank Kerns of the world, with some Mike Dillard and Yanik thrown in. And a lot of smaller concerns that I’ve not heard from in a while. Some are diligently doing what they do well, from promoting to selling, while others are probably struggling to find the right internet business.

Right now there is a lot of interest in mobil tech. Which apps can make a difference and trying programs out.

There is a lot of interest in Facebook and Twitter.

By the first of April I was commenting on the transportation summit I went to around April 8th:
I attended three “Strand” sessions. The first was one on design lead by Barbara Knecht. Our group involved several students and a Ford worker involved in the electric car program. We worked on the design of how to get people to realize the mobility choices that there are and to get them designed into our environment. Other groups worked on projects such as metro passes, high speed rail and alternative cars. The outcome was “design focused” and did little to get anything going (or so I thought).

The next session was with representatives of the auto companies, information companies and MDOT. A lot more got done.

Finally I got involved in a discussion with a group involving the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority. It amazed me that they still had questions after an intensive study. In the end we decided to “… take it to various levels…”. Whether we will or not is yet to be seen.

Over the weekend I participated in a few talks and conferences. (I know most of you were interested in the Tigers opening game) But I sat through Scott Hocking’s talk on why he would spend eight months building a brick pyramid in an old bus manufacturing plant. It’s not about the ruin, it’s about everything loosing relevance, a time for a change.

The area that the old plant is in is just northwest of the I75 and I94 interchange. This area held about 16,000 people a square mile in the early 1900’s (today we are at about 3000 for the city). In the sixties it had a few hundred and today has none. It changed!

I have to admit that the name SMART is a name familiar to me because of the bus system, but also because it is just “smart”. And I heard at least once “…smart was used three times.”

What I went to at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, was a Summit on Transforming Transportation: Economies and Communities. SMART is Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation. It is a project of the University of Michigan in conjunction with Michigan State and Wayne State.

The economies of communities have a big impact on what gets considered and built. With some of our local communities adopting complete streets and others creating train, bus, bike and car hubs. What was to a degree a large part of this weekend, was that the age of auto transportation is advancing but can not support much more infrastructure (bridges, roadways etc.) Other forms of transportation have to be considered and considerable locations defined.

Transforming transit and our communities is important for a livable planet. So how do we do this? Research and implementation are logical steps. Complete streets are a logical step, when combined with hubs and other sectors of land use. Such as what does a car have on it that “alerts”? So we get into implementing.

This conference did a very good job of implementing. SMART pulled in participants in studies that is is running in South America, India, Brazil and other researchers and implementers from schools, institutions and governments. It also pulled in members of MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) and the local utility. I saw Gordon Feller of Cisco talking about transforming an order (potential) for 10,000 cars.

I don’t remember Michael Benham the Commuter Services Coordinator or the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, but I do remember Jesse, a commissioner on the board, who wanted a way to see what people wanted 50 years out. So he could get a grasp on what should be done. A hundred years and beyond, what does the world around us look like?

What were the several factors of the conference? One get a lot of your projects involved, two get a number of government agencies involved, three see who business sends and four include some non profits. But the factors that were most evident were getting business’s together and a focus on re-adusting our energy use while accepting others increased use. How do we find a balance? A three year plan with nothing specific in it…

I am an avid PRT proponent but also a big supporter of BRT. These options seem to be the fit for most of our urban environments, but how do we get people, walking, bicycling, taking a bus or hoping in a car, around in non hap hazard way? Some of the questions that resulted from the conference. One MDOT civil engineer wondered why we had to hear so much on Indian projects. I responded that I found it interesting that the three project we heard from were from private and government, local and federal. We could (and will) be facing similar concerns.

Some of the participants were focused on their individual projects, be it bus service in northern Michigan, the Southwest Planning Commission or a recent addition (within the last 10 years) to Ford’s electric vehicle program.

Others were focused on local transit, primarily. Yet in a broader picture (envision the three year plan without specifics). How this happens is through complete streets programs. Some will work and some will not, yes, it depends on the city, it’s residents perception of the changes… It depends on the economies of the area. Have they invested in transit, does the area warrant a provider to provide transit?

How to do this? Provide transit for the wealthy and the poor?

conference P.S.(also attended the talk about “Soup” Detroit, they did a meet at Simion’s place last month)

Towards the end of the month I was wondering what steps to take and if anyone would take some of them!:
you gotta start sometime… so why not start now? this is the beginning of something. If only to stop being bored and having anyone around get annoyed with my restlessness, and perhaps even propel me out of this lull that i’ve rolled into. A little momentum is useful, and perhaps necessary.

San Fransico has lots 25 x 150 and stagers setback so center of streets are wider Total square footage of house is about 1700 square feet plus

Dear Anna, Brigid, AnnMarie, Larry, Jesse, Alicia and Amy,

I liked everyone at the table. Now is the time to do something. There was Anna from SWMPC, AnnMarie Program Planning and Policy Education, Brigid the professor, Amy the consultant, Jesse the AATA Board of Directors, Alicia a Civil Engineer
and Larry the advocate. A nice mix of people!

Now to get something done…

“The photograph itself doesn’t have the legitimacy that it used to have in our society.”;_ylt=At8vJui6ZUesxqt9YglXrKhH2ocA;_ylu=X3oDMTNhZzA3ZzZqBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTEwNTA0L3VzX2Jpbl9sYWRlbl9mYWtlX3Bob3RvcwRjY29kZQNvZmZwemYzMARjcG9zAzUEcG9zAzUEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yaWVzBHNsawNkb2N0b3JlZGJpbmw-

Dear Anna, Brigid, AnnMarie, Larry, Jesse, Alicia and Amy,

You gotta start sometime… so why not start now?

Everyone at the table. Now is the time to do something. There was Anna from SWMPC, AnnMarie Program Planning and Policy Education, Brigid the professor, Amy the consultant, Jesse the AATA Board of Directors, Alicia a Civil Engineer
and Larry the advocate. A nice mix of people!

I signed up on the Ning site but there is no activity yet. I did receive an e-mail from Anna and a request from Larry asking about the map I sent out. Other than that there is nothing but notes.

What I’m wondering is can we get a map of transit proposals and working systems off the ground.

As I saw our conversation we asked what do people think transit will look like in a number of years, how do we afford transit and here is what we can do. Linking this together is a map of world transit projects that include a URL.

I am willing to keep track of the map with input from others. What I propose us as a group to do is to come up with questions that can be included in studies. We would contact groups involved in studies and regional concerns that want to change their transit. We would ask them to include (some) of our questions in their responses. At a latter date we would compile them into an ongoing report.

Minnesotans have the opportunity to contribute something along the lines of what I suggest:

I was conscious of Amy’s comments about doing something in the (SMART) realm. I don’t see any activity on the Ning site so I’m proposing that we do something out of the realm of academia. Can we e-mail each other with ideas and questions?

From our report:
…Educate people on how transportation is funded.
…Focus groups and clinics can facilitate the collection of data and gather data.
Discover what is the best transit solutions(s) for various areas.
…Create a data base to help planners make short term decisions leading to this new vision(s).

Any takers?

A few days latter:
Do I really want a cell phone to connect me with the rest of the world? Can I? Will I?

So if I don’t, then I am an outcast.

We implement these concerns:
Three weeks ago I went to a conference. I just read the “white paper” that was passed out. Twenty four pages. I stared in the middle somewhere and then went back and read it from the beginning. It started out saying that “alternative” in the language of transit must be replaced by something (sexier). Alright enough about my alt-tran web site. Someday it might be world-tran, we’ll see.

Reading a bit into the “white paper” from SMART I get the feeling that it is being written by someone who studied a lot. Knew a lot and somehow got her ideas on a workable table. (Somewhat, I can’t see the public face doing much, but the avenue is there on a Ning site.) An idea started at a University but extending outwards from the business mans perspective. What is going to work for business in the near future and in the long run and how do we get them to mesh? Answer that question and you will have put together a system. Now to get the word out you have to make the presentations…

From what I saw at the conference and am continuing to see on the Ning site is a disassociation of public planners and business people from the Ning site. They were prominent in the conference but are missing from the (working site).

Are the MDOT planners talking to the designers of India’s systems? Probably not. Is CISCO talking to Toyota? Probably. I want to hear why MDOT is not talking to India and what CISCO is advising (Toyota) on. Then I can get on to some of the proposed studies to find out what particular cities should expect. It would be easier.

In the meantime we can set up a map that records where transit is, where it is proposed and what it might be. By this time people should be comfortable with Google Maps, or you will be after entering a location. Click edit and zoom in to wherever you want to go. Get close for cities and closer for specific locations. Click to add a marker, select the tool in the upper right and then select the bus, train, pod, maker with dot, green arrow or yellow thumb tack for a proposal. Enter a name and then add a Wiki or URL to the description, You’re done! (click Done)

What we’re curious to see is along the line of proposed courses for livable streets, transit hubs, light rail and bus rapid transit, personal rapid transit, bike sharing, car sharing, improved bus service and other options. Where are lines of need being crossed, or are they. As we go down in auto use where are others going? What cities are prime for what type of transportation options?

What are the business people talking about? How does this help?

Knowing that you’re making a difference for a specific village or group of people is a lot easier to comprehend than thinking that you might contribute to some vague planetary future. (See Fair Trade over green) (people over planetary)

We need to focus on individual communities as much as possible. Much like Minnesotans are now. We need to have certain feedback that is and can be relevant to all of our “planetary” studies as well as specifics for groups of people.

We implement these questions and distribute them to concerns that are conducting studies and we collect them.

By the end of the month I had gotten several emails from conference attendee’s – and then no more.

In early May I went to see LaHood at the station down the street:
Ray LaHood made an announcement at the Detroit Amtrak station today that Michigan would be receiving 200 million dollars for high speed rail from Ann Arbor to Chicago. When asked about the tracks he said there was a proposal to purchase the tracks in the works. Then he looked away or toward someone but never did solidify the remark. I am wondering where the money is. Is it a grant for 140 million? Some where there is an answer but where?

I am confused. When the state legislature did not come up with the matching 37 million a grant for 150 million was not accepted. Then the state applied for the whole amount, and got it today. But what is the status of purchasing the tracks? Is that a separate amount that was being sat upon until final funding came though?

I got my answer from a newspaper article. It was a 150 million the state got last year.

I also included some info that I am working now as well as “Open or Closed” systems:
bubble motion

sky rider

smart skyways


In closed systems the vehicle stay in the system as in light rail and most PRT designs.  In open systems, auto expressways, interstate highways, and dual mode PRT designs, the vehicle enters and leaves the guideway. Closed systems improve and personalize mass transit while open systems improve the automobile.

One of the complaints about closed PRT systems and light rail is that they don’t scale up efficiently. In closed systems, vehicles stay in the system and have to be stored and retrieved in times of high usage which adds to operation cost.  Closed systems need stations, which are sometimes extensive with significant vehicle handling facilities. An open system only needs exits and in-ramps and can scale up easily from a few cars at 2:00 am to thousands at 8:00 am.

An open system has significant advantages over a closed system. These include much greater flexibility in the use and storage of vehicles when off the guideway. An open dual mode system would mostly overlay expressways.

Closed systems have trouble delivering passengers to specific locations such as home or office. Open systems use the already existing infrastructure of secondary and neighborhood roads to bring the rider door to door.

On May 15th I was bike riding and saw some gardens:
This morning I saw an article in the New York Times about Detroit’s gardens and it got me thinking of a fifteen mile bike ride I had taken through the city last weekend. On my bike ride I saw one greenhouse. That’s it. So I went back out to take a shot of it.

The article also mentioned Peaches & Greens, a store that sells fresh produce. So I also went out to take a shot of it. One block away there is a garden that is planted and another block away there is also garden that is not planted.

I’m not sure about gardening being the saviour of Detroit. Some may make it and some won’t.

I also took some shots of 45 homes that West Oakland Homes
is building in the Northend neighborhood. Surprising is the fact that the workers were from Fenton, which is at least 50 miles away!

On August 1st I was wondering about PRT:
Dan posted about parking and PRT systems. The post was in part a 1970 look at a city grid and the realization that today we do live more spread out. I don’t think there is any way to get people to live closer than they want to live, and that varies from urban type to urban type. Today 100,000 people may live on 200 miles of land when a hundred years ago they lived on 15 miles of land (today it is only 80,000 in the city(on 15 miles)). So we need parking lots, and lots of them to get people ride PRT’s.

I’m not so sure we need a lot of parking lots. In a system that I have designed for Detroit Metro I see about 4 needs for lots. That is on a system that might cover 60 to 250 miles. How do I do this? Well the answer is that I make every personal four car carrier so that it accepts two bikes and two passengers. I make a carrier that also accepts nine people and makes two stops. And I also have stations on major runs that accept a car carrying vehicle. (up to 184 inches long?)

The one problem that I am having trouble with is that larger carriers go slower. (anyone have an answer) At any rate a person within five miles of a PRT station could ride their bike, thus preserving their need for an expansive urban life. Or they could drive a car to one of several stations and get “on”. Or they could drive a car to many stations and pay a large parking fee where about three spaces would be provided. Or they could drive to one of four lots were there would be ample low cost parking.

In the “city” areas all travel would be in the four or nine passenger modes. If you were taking a car you would only have a limited number of stops to get off at. (on limited runs)

Looking at my initial proposed 38? mile run you will find only four passenger and nine passenger cars. Just like in Sugar Land, TX for example you could get by with just one low cost parking area and run only four or nine passenger vehicles. Although I don’t think I would provide more than a dozen spaces at any location. The ability to transport cars would come at a latter date and also large car lots. One would be located in Ann Arbor another at Southfield and I94 one more at Orchard Lake and another over by Saint Clare Shores. Cars could enter as far away as Utica, Novi, Brighton, Trenton and Ypsilanti. But this would be down the road. In the meantime a system to add these car carrying projects would have to be established on the initial system.

In other words the system must be able to be configured into a carrier for cars at least 140 inches long but more likely 185 inches long. Now heres the catch, only some nine carrier passenger cars travel on the road bed track while the four to nine passenger carriers are carried on the overhead track. I tend to like the systems that use two carrying rods due to stability. Is MISTER further along than one of the others like. A project in China, by Jpods will cost about 400 million for 13 miles. I am aiming at 80 million for 13 miles. Do I think it can be done for this amount? Yes (and no). If there are no land purchases.

So what I want to do is intelligent transportation systems, modular housing, woodworking and DIY. So I might get in there a little bit about staying healthy.

Reading your post got me thinking of the system I have designed for Detroit. It parallels Woodward Ave. from Brush Park to Highland Park. It is suspended (or track mounted), the cars go to the ground although not at all stations. It is built to accept a track mounted car carrying platform in the future on some runs.

So what i need is system that is part SkyTran, CabinTaxi, Morgantown, MISTER and …

The next day I was wondering about student loans:
I just rode through Wayne State and noticed a ton of people unloading their stuff, getting ready for fall classes. And I wondered about all of those student loans that are being pulled. How many will make it though all four years and if they do will they have the money to pay back the loans? Personally I still owe about 20k on loans that I took out in 1977.

On August 3rd (one of my sisters birthdays) I was thinking about:
Yes it is LRT and it only goes about 55 miles per hour, (40 on the run), but then the line between Hammond an Ann Arbor can run at 110 miles and hour (90 on the run). It can’t do that between Ann Arbor and Detroit/Pontiac. At about 45 to maybe 65 mile per hour with shared freight. At any rate the run into residential areas by running a line to Canton from Ann Arbor and into the city of Detroit passing by Metro Airport. Eighty five miles an hour (60 on the run) that’s faster than the average low speed of about 45 miles per hour, which is the speed at which you will reach the city at.

At any rate a switching station at Fulller Road is a good idea if and only if it is used right. LRT from Howell, HSR from Hammond, and PRT with auto shuttle to Novi, Pontiac, Mount Clemens, Flat Rock and Ypsilanti. Along the routes are various other routes such as the Fairlane route or the Novi Mall route, I hope you get the picture.

It’s about a 110 mile per hour train from Hammond and a 55 mile per hour from Howell, an Ann Arbor PRT, a PRT (high speed, 55 miles per hour) to Detroit in a personal pod (4 or two bikes), a nine person transport (one stop possible), or the ability to take a car.

Now if you take a car and your befuddled by it maybe you should purchase a “mobility” car. One that let’s you decide to run a cable with this this or a circular track

On August 4th I wrote the first paragraph and copied the rest:
I’m reading US News and World Report and I’m thinking here is all that is wrong with reporting today. I get the feeling that all they want to say is that government is not watching out for us. But what about the private sector? Why not? It has certainly been done before.

if they hit critical mass. But so far, virtually every one of those things has come and gone while producing ripples, but not waves.

the longer an economic disaster doesn’t happen, the closer we get to a recovery that actually feels like one.

of course the article was labeled “6 unwanted outcomes of the debt deal”

I remain committed to finding private sources for funding of transit in the US .here are companies out there (like GE) that fund transit for less than the governments “buy America plan” offers. Once some successful projects are built then we can afford “buy America”. There is work to do with State governments, city and regional governments, utility transfer lines, rail lines and yes the federal government. But it can be done. And for a lot less headaches than dealing with government stipulations that we should buy American.

Yes there will be some outpouring of lost American jobs. But the consequences will result in more American jobs lost in the long run. America has to get back on track and that seems to be with the private sector. Where most job growth has come from in the past.

The freeway system that we put together was a fiasco. Why did we not put 30 year road beds in? We are having to replace pavement every few years instead of every 50 or so. This was public funded. Railroads on the other hand were privately funded with (huge grants) but they lasted a long time and are still working (at reduced rates).

Streetcars were initially privately funded and were put out of business by a private company (GM?). Some kind or federal over-site might have to be in place to make companies feel welcome and supported but not be subjected to “over compensation” when presented with “overriding surcumstances the affect over all well being”

On the 10th:
Today a woman resigned from the Board at church. Because she was not computer literate.

By August 8th I was wondering if all 7 billion of us could not live in the state of Texas?:
Everyone could live in the state of Texas and have enough room to move, all 7 billion of us! And I think we would fit in the state of Rhode Island with about 3 feet of space. Yet I have to ask, is that not enough? CO2’s, oil have been around affecting the space only a few hundred years, other things thousands of years and still other things many thousands of years! Some for millions of years.

What if societies were less poor and advanced ones less wealthy? by Richard G. Wilkinson , Poverty and Progress. 1973

THere is a blessedness surely to be believed,
and that is that eveything abides in
eternal ecstasy, now and forever.
-Jack Kerouac

On September 21st I pulled some quotes and observations out of the air:
“Why is it to men money must always stand for something! It does not stand for something – it is something! Take it … and use it for whatever … ”

The Streets of Paradise DIFRANCO pg272

“…respect as a human being.” Wilson Quarterly spring 2011 page 93 A Revisionist’s History Malcolm X

So it would have taken another 1000 years to make an African a builder of brick!
Today, it is if not instantly, it certainly is a possibility! i


AUDI starts out an ad saying that the roads are a mess and people are texting while driving – I’m thinking it is an ad for personal transpo…

On August 17th I was writing and reading (I’ll let you guess):
I read that the US’s infrastructure was taking about 2% of our GDP and in Europe it is 5% and in China it is 9%. At this rate our ability to produce goods will drop 1.8%. Already we have gone from the 6 to the 16 worst for infrastructure in just five years.

We need to change our systems. We need to manufacture for longevity. I think we need to change our mine set.

So three changes. One is more focus. Two, go even simpler. This book is not complicated. Today I’ve become even simpler. Three, repetition. Write down the goal, publicly state the goal, and then over and over follow-up on the goal. When you do that, you dramatically increase the odds of success.

And the third one I’ll give you is Old Path, White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s not really a business book, but it’s a really good book about life. If you read this book you get a great idea of Buddhist philosophy. Buddhist philosophy is great for business. In Buddhism you learn to make peace with what is, change what you can change, and if you can’t change it, make peace with it.

If Ann Arbor to Wayne was double hanging track and Wayne to downtown was a supported track running on rail lines and a hanging track was configured over existing roads.

Maj­o­­r play­ers­, li­ke Do­ppelmayr­ Cab­le Car­ (DCC)Aus­tr­i­a, S­kytr­an­ (Cali­f­o­r­n­i­a), Lei­tn­er­ R­o­peways­ (Ho­n­gko­n­g), an­d oth­er com­pan­ies­, s­uch­ as­ Ho­ust­o­n­ T­echn­o­lo­gi­es Lt­d­., Cap­i­t­a Symo­n­d­s (Lo­n­d­o­n­), Si­emen­s Lt­d­., Essar I­n­frast­ruct­ure, Reli­an­ce Co­mmun­i­cat­i­o­n­s, P­un­j­ Llo­yd­, T­o­p­ w­o­rt­h Gro­up­ o­f Co­mp­an­i­es, Sp­len­d­o­r Lan­d­b­ase Li­mi­t­ed­ an­d­ VR T­echn­i­que, have also­­ sho­­w­n interest to­­ partic­ipate in c­o­­llabo­­ratio­­n w­ith the lead­ing­ tec­hno­­lo­­g­y­ pro­­vid­ers.

Suppose that carrieres were to transport cars or a carriage of 16. Suppose haning carriages only suppored three people or one with a bike. Suppose that at some stations carriers were swiched to others that accepted the set up. Some systems would only opperate with elevators and others would go to ground.

On August 22nd I wrote a long post. My computer must have been working. It was about this time that I lost internet service for about four months.
I have been working on a personal rapid transit system. I hear many say how will you ever get approval for a system in Detroit? How I wonder. But first let me say that a system like this could be implemented in any city that does not have a good system of public transportation. Detroit is one of them. It is time to change the dynamics of public transportation.

England is embarking on a really expensive system in its high speed rail system. As I read this mornings posting on the cost of maglev technology as compared to the proposed concept I wonder what is going on in peoples minds. Are they so attached to one system that they don’t want to venture into another?

It’s not just Europe, the cost of transportation is expensive period. But does it have to be? I don’t think so.

So getting back to the system that I designed for Detroit. Four things prompted me to redesign Detroit’s proposed system. One was Dan’s post about A Few Good Destinations, next was a report from Ford done in 2003 about a small car designed to operate on the freeways, then there is always maglev and finally a post by Dan on an off the shelf boggy for personal rapid transit.

Another thing that got me thinking about the lack of personal rapid transit proposals was a blog that Peter Muller wrote on PRT and testosterone. Why can not vendors work together on a system that gets the job done. I was surprised by the participants listed on a recent India proposal until I realized that they were developers as well as system (computer) builders and others.

Well this got me to thinking of what I had heard at the SMART conference in April about the different modes of putting together systems of transportation in India. They have done private/public, private and mostly government. It is a system of whatever works. Why don’t we take some of these ideas and apply them here. There is a call out for some type of public transportation in this country. There are always more requests than federal dollars available. I’m not sure about private/public partnerships because of the buy American provision in Federal dollars, but I think private with some local funds could go a lot farther. What I am proposing is a means of getting large corporations involved in a system that makes them money as well as letting local concerns make some money.

Getting back to the list of four ideas that had merit. One, the destinations, why provide parking for cars? Let the cars travel on the system, and provide other complimentary systems for people riding their bikes or walking to the system. This could make use of a really fast system and a system for slower travel that would work together. Yes it would mean coordination of the selected systems. The carriage mode would have to be transferable quickly, yes the selected system operators would have to work together through a computer system that was agreed upon.

What would happen if such a system was implemented? Parts of it would would work and other parts might fail. Much like the train system did in the 1930 and again in the 1970 through the 1980’s. Much like the interstate system is failing us now. How much longer will we be able to pay for our infrastructure? Does it not make sense to increase some of our infrastructure to support a more efficient means, and one that is built to last.

Google with it’s smart cars is approved in Nevada to do testing. Could not this technology be put to use on highways? Like Ford’s proposal of 2003 can this be done? I think it could. Suppose that fast cars could travel down a highway at 150 miles per hour without many, if any accidents. Would it not be nice to get from Ann Arbor to Chicago in about 2 hours? It could happen if there was a highway access that allowed it. Instead of a train that was running on the original rail track that follows a river, at best it can run 110 (90 miles an hour with stops). Let the money go to California rail that makes sense.

What I propose is a personal rapid transit system that uses fast electrical bogies or maglev to take cars across the city of Detroit and seamlessly connects to highway interchanges that take them to further out destinations. As I have shown on this diagram

The 600 mile routes radiate from Indianapolis. The red lines are suggested routes from the Detroit area.

As you expand the the map to focus on Detroit metro area proper you will notice green lines. These are one way lines that cross the city and travel at a slow (30 mile per hour) speed (three person or one on a bike). The purple lines are two way lines that also travel at a slow rate of speed. Both of these lines have ground pick up stations. The light blue (and blue) lines carry cars on them and travel at a top speed of about 70 miles per hour. They also carry individual (three person or one on a bike) cars and fourteen passenger busses.

My thoughts on this system are: to put in place a bidding process that would accept a boggy system or a maglev system to ferry small autos and fourteen passenger coaches as well as some personal three passenger vehicles on the blue lines. These would travel at up to seventy miles per hour.

On the green and purple lines three passenger vehicles would run from hanging supports. The three passenger vehicles that run on the blue lines would connect to them by switching from carriage to hanging mode. there would be a need for at least two types of systems, possibly a few more such as a cog system to get up the hills in Ann Arbor.

Let’s say I had a sleepless night wondering how private funding could carry this project forward. Yet this morning I awake to the fact that Amtrak has hired a firm to explore a private/public project for the northeast corridor. How much private funding are they looking for? About half. A subscription page article or a shorter article that does not give figures as to what they expect.

Now take into effect the article on “Buy America” funding which is part of any project that gets Federal funds and you are a lot closer to getting something going with all private funding.

The figures I have gleaned for hanging track and maglev construction are in the 1 to 2 million a mile realm. Let’s say for the sake of argument that a double maglev track will run 5 million a mile, a single hanging track 1 1/2 million a mile and a double track 3 million a mile.

There are about 260 miles of double car carrying track and there will be about 25 stations that will accept cars. The track will cost about one and a third billion, the car stations at about 20 million each (including land) will cost an additional half billion and about 30 stations for 14 passenger busses and 3 passenger cars will cost about 60 million. Complete, the track will run about 1,860,000,000 excluding land costs. Most of the land costs can be reimbursed by leasing from rail, utility and local governments. Some of the land will have to be purchased but it should be minimal.

There is about 400 miles of single and double hanging track on the system. Stations should be closer on these runs (about 1/2 mile apart). The total costs for this run, with stations is about one and a half billion (1,439,000,000). Again track lease rentals will be payed to local governments, but stations should be purchased and are included in costs but might run higher.

In this proposal the track and station costs are 3 and a third billion or about 5 million a mile. The additional cost come in, in the form of transport carriers. Lets say that we run a 14 passenger carrier every 10 minuets on 260 miles of track that means about 300 carriers times a cost of 25,000, for a total 7.5 million. And lets say that we run a car carrier every 5 minuets (600 x 18,000), for a total of over 10 million.

If on the 400 miles of hanging system we ran a total of 9000 three passenger cars and they cost 12,000 each we would invest 108 million in them.

For a system of 660 miles we have an investment of about 3 and a half billion. I’m not the best on interest rates and have figured these numbers using only 10% additional simple interest. This would mean that companies would have to put up about 75% of the funding in cash or 50% and get the costs reduced. (based on 4% interest rates) In 25 years the system could be paid for. About 50% of the municipalities would receive over $500,000 a year from contracts based on .10 cents a mile on individual carriages. Railroads and utility companies would also see an income when personal rapid transit ran on their lines.

The Detroit bus system carries about 122,000 passengers a day and the SMART system carries another 44,000. Based on these figures and other transit that would result from a larger system I have based ridership levels at about 75,000 riders a day and 6000 cars a day. (figures reduced by about a third on weekends)

This would result in an average 12 mile fare of $5.45 for a three passenger car. On the car lines it would mean an average 40 mile trip with a car would be $16, a trip in a 3 passenger car would be $12 and a ride in one of the 12 passenger coaches would be (figuring 6 people) $5.65. This would provide the operators of the system to have a 20% profit and make payments on a 25 year loan for a quarter of the system. Included in these figures are the payments to municipalities and other leasing agents. These figures are based on a 12 hour day and figure that half of the mobile units would be used at any one time. Increases in operations are factored in.

These systems would be mostly of a three passenger vehicle that could carry one passenger and a bike. Many stops are within five miles, thus making riding to work easy. The need for parking should be limited. The most extensive parking would be along the car carrying system. (the 260 mile system)

Over the course of 50 years the municipality’s and other interests would receive about 115 million dollars in revenue. Putting the cost of the system at 3,615,000,000.(I think that is 3 billion plus 615 million) Compare that to 165 miles of high speed rail in California that is estimated to cost 13.5 billion. Another comparison is Los Angeles subway completed in 2000 at a cost for 17.4 miles at 4.5 billion.

I know these figures sound low. To get 660 miles of operable track for less that 4 billion. Yet the numbers going through the private sector seem to make sense. Doing the freeway routes out of the city might cost a lot more. Then again I have not figured in operational costs for the system which would be several million a year at least. At the minimum I would suggest that this proposal be looked at. Time for a change is order and Detroit is one area that could benefit. It is relatively flat and has little investment in public transportation.

On August 25th I was sending out resumes

On September 27th I was commenting on 8 Days of Design;
I think that the 8 Days of Design & Creativity in Detroit festival was a wash. I saw the advertisements and the street stickers but nothing ever said come on in. The graphics were a wash and did not say anything I could read. The day before the end I picked up a folder on the event and was disappointed in the fact that they had a map that could have been put to good use but had nothing on it. Try staring some of the events and listing them on the map. Instead of using street markers that list a lot of stuff, make them specific. Third were were the days of the events, a list is nice but put the the day of the week on the events.

Tonight I went to the Center for Creative Studies building on Baltimore and asked to see the borders exhibit and got the answer that there was no such exhibit, well it was on the program. Bordertown 9AM – 8PM DAILY.

I also looked up an event that was to take place on 9/26 at 6100 Michigan Ave. it showed up as a building for sale. Nasty at that. It was advertised as “High-end custom interior and sculpture studio…” What was that?

The North End Studio was advertised a lot in the flyer, being so close I have only once been in it. They did a garden outside last week and when I went by it I made to comment to several young people that I expected them to keep it up for (20 years). The street scape was nice twenty years ago but just recently they had to re do it. ( It lasted, what, 3 years? )

All in all I think they could have done a better job of putting on a festival. State the days of events, make marks on the map of were events were and don’t put events latter in the day.

I do like the ddf logo though..keep that, just get the rest right!

In 50 minutes at North End Studios during their open house 8 PM to !0 PM, I met four people. Is it good idea, yes, but the hours have to change.

September 30th went to TEDxDETROIT:
TEDxDETROIT was a memorable event, even though it was not just about Detroit. It was about the Michigan landscape, and about how to change it. It was about education and social media’s ability to change it.

One of the first presenters was a person from Grand Rapids that has put on several large scale event in the city. At one event they got about ten percent of the population, thirty thousand, to turn out to watch paper airplanes flying of buildings! My sister had sent me a video a few days before of another event that got five thousand people together.

October 15th I was writing about pod cars:
If we have a system of cars that travel by mechanical means around cities and maglev means around large expanses on a strait line with electrical motors that go the distance. When you get there will still be a few miles left to get where your going.

Meanwhile cars could be customized with the ability to have batteries that would conform to road standards. Cars could be driven to a location and put on the mechanical or maglev system.

Of course you wold have cars on the mechanical system that would only run mechanically and you would have cars on the maglev system that would run maglev or mechanically. If a person with a maglev trip was on track to get get a maglev train on a mechanical track and one was coming through, he/she would get it. (Maglev trains return to maglev tracks or stay on them.)

Terry lives in the northern suburbs, Steve lives in Northville, both share a shop in Detroit. How to get there?

October 31st I wrote about scaling up a PRT system:
If I have three carriers and the ability for others to convert a carrier and totally convert an other and have the option of carrying certain cars and others caring freight, how do I get them to work on cog railways, maglev railways and on electric power runs?

I have the common carriers that hold three or four people or two people and two bikes. One cost per vehicle. Then there are the carriers for up to nine people (two wheel chairs and six people). These run every convenient minuet. Then there are the car carriers that run only to designated stations. And then there are the cars that run off of the track. Custom creations and not of our design but of our specs. These run on the long tracks and have clearance to exit any time during their (long) journey.

The third car that we put out there is a long distance car that has a potty and can go longer than four and a half hours is a six seater stand up car. It has two beds and a toilet. It could be ordered at some stations on the auxiliary lines.

There are three different tracks, a geared track that pulls the car along at 35 miles an hour, a maglev system that travels at a 100 miles per hour and one that travels at 250 miles per hour. All carriers should be able to travel on any system. In fact changing between systems is facilitated by gear or drivetrain.


1. Under 3 mile petal tracks using a rental.
2. Larger than 3 mile using a 35 mph maglev. ( same vehicle as above )
3. Jointly merge with a 45 to 70 mph maglev (larger). Configured platforms carry 9 passenger units, 5 person bike units (2 bikes, 4 people), single or doubled up car carriers (2 or 4 people or single with or without bike)-teams up with up to the second in line or a small configured car.
4. Run 9 passengers in designate d city’s, allow all others on up to 210 mph.

Around Thanksgiving I explored some numbers:
So a ride to the stars costs 150 million today and 2 million in 2045. So this is how financiers are funding their space program. This is how I’m funding my car program. For 25.000 dollars you will be one of the first 25 people to travel by land over the distance of the US, in under nine hours. Then you could get another sixty miles in just under thirty minuets with no waiting, and then either driving off or getting another ride to within blocks of your destination. Buy this package from one hundred dollars to forty thousand dollars per mile. Each territory should be determined by individuals in the (area). Area’s closeted to the area in question should be considered first. An amount of 100 to 2000 will be considered. The (agreed upon, by democratic vote.
In between 42…

By mid December I was searching for a business format:
should you find that your company can use these skills please contact me.

1*First we question, are there available plans and or components
2*Determine if we have to start from scratch or will this involve modification
3*Listing the requirements, we place at hand useable components
4*Drawing a perspective and possible construction details for consideration
5*Pricing and or cost analysis using different processes and materials
6*Sketches of details and dimensioning that allow for accurate material lists
7*Finalize working drawings and construction specifications
8*Incorporate assembly, care and other specifications

First I contact lending agents for Public Personal Proposals. At the same time I contact Shweeb, SkyLabb, Vectus and Maglev Motion. Next I contact freight companies, local companies and municipalities.

Before all of this I patent the system of take over and build.

A percentage of profits goes to the lending agent and the patent lawyer. Others are cut in on a fixed sum of travel over and distance to a station.

One day before my birthday (1/8) I said “demographics…”:
How do you plan and adapt to changing demographics? When one generation changes to another, what must be done? In the past it was lack of going an place else. Today (forever) that’s not the case.

January 25th I was frustrated on my loft project:
I’m back in a shop. Kind of. I’m reaching the end of working on a loft space that I have been working on for three years or so. It was the one thing I could find to do, but I took it on at $7 an hour. That’s right, plus room and board, or a place to lay my head is more like it.

For the past year and a half I have been waiting on an electrician to wire the place so I can put up drywall. At first he was put in jail for three months, so I took a job doing upholstery work. That did not work out so well. I was paid $8 and hour but I was always running about $300 behind in payments. After getting a raise to $8.50 an hour he was still behind in paying so I quite after about six months still being owed about $300.

The electrician was out of jail so I thought I would be ok for getting work done. No such luck. In August he came in and I went over with him the items I needed done to finish the drywall. It is now almost February and he has only been back about 8 hours. Five visits in all.

In February I wrote an email:
On Tuesday evening I filled out a form for a conference on BRT, March 26-28. It is to be held for 10 cities of the Climate Leadership Academy’s choosing. (Just a heads up.) I included your name and all your info and just William McAde as a team member.

January 31st was the deadline. You can take a look at the site here:

I would be interested in working on a BRT study should you have one in planning stages. (December meeting)

By February 12th I had a name “Automated guideway transport (AGT)”.

On the 14th I started a business plan:
A business plan for a system of moving people, other and in inclusive of cars. Bikes are an example. Trains are another example, but lets look at something that is above the three of these. By above I mean something that does not require the changing of every stop light system, this runs above the the normal operation of roadways.

This is a way of getting around by biking, walking, driving, driven by a train of some kind. Most of us probably would like to go to the garage (out the back door and get into a car) and go somewhere. Yet really we go out to the drive way or street to get into the car. So now we are there and we drive thirty miles to get where we want to go to. Thirty miles can take a while (like over forty minuets, if we can find a parking space!). So let us bike to a station that is four minuets away, get on an upper layer that will get us to a system that will get us to where we want to go (or close) in twenty minuets and the bike the final way in just four minuets, we’re there in in under thirty minuets. We saved at least ten minuets. The natural resources that were saved are large.


When we get where we wanted to get to we have the option on getting to other places. Hopefully a lot of other places that roadways only think about. This takes into consideration the facts that one hundred years ago two hundred thousand people live in a fifteen mile are of Detroit but today it takes a two hundred to live in an area of two hundred miles in the Howell to South Lyon area of metro Detroit.

53 percent of consumers surveyed said they would pay a 10 percent price premium for a product made responsibly, up from 44 percent last year.
consumers reward companies who provide them with transportation

By February 21st I had written “It’s called…”:
I have several thousands of comments on my blog. What do I so with them? I was off line for about four months and I have not sorted through to many of them. A lot are from individuals promoting medicine and I don’t necessarily want to publish them, but can I capture and comment back to them? If any one has a suggestion I would appreciate a note back.

In the four months I was off line I took the time to think through some of the potential for getting Detroit on a path for modern transit. Some of the thought I have had involve things such as car trains, (grouping cars to travel faster on existing roads) there are several studies looking into this especially in Europe. What I specifically worked on was a way to get the Canadian cities from Quebec to get to to St. Louis.
Also I worked a great deal on a plan for transportation though the Metro area of Detroit.

I also stayed in touch (looking at sites on others commuters) with some of the organizations that I have worked with in the past such as SMART out of Ann Arbor. Through a meeting on December 19, 2011 I went to a meeting of the TRU (Transportation Riders Unlimited) board a few days latter. I attended another TRU board meeting last night.

At this meeting a lively discussion on a bill for a Regional Transit Authority went on. On one hand it was seen as a poor choice because of the fact that there was veto power if only one one board member opposed rail transit. Another point of contention was that 85% of the transit dollars allocated would go to the county which they were collected from, thus disregarding the most transit orientated cities such as Detroit.

I was glad that the final vote (there were three) said yes we support the effort. Detroit is a city that has never had an RTA. It has been a reason that little gets done here. But Toronto (or one Canadian city) has 15 transit sectors, London has one. So I’m not sure that one will make a difference in the Metro area. I thought that Detroit not having an RTA made it susceptible for a lack of transit, but I’m not so sure after reading about the 15 to 1 this week. What do I want to happen is something that gets everyone on board. If rail is out then something else needs to happen. One is that everyone gets on board. Detroit is loosing population and other areas are getting their population. Sprawl is going to happen. Remember that Detroit had (100 thousand) in 15 miles in 1875 and today Livingston county has the same number (or about) in over 200 miles. What is more important? Detroit has probably less than the 100 thousand it did 100 years ago. Yet Detroit midtown has 56.000 in about a 1.5 miles. That’s a lot.

Getting back to my view of the Metro area. I see a way to get people around that uses a means of getting on at metro stations with a small car (to start) or a vehicle that will carry one other passenger or a bike. This will be double the transit cost if another is not available for transport, It would be nine times as expensive as a pod car that transported nine people, but about the same price as driving alone.

If a way to get (there) were based on the cost of driving, (cost of the car, insurance, gas and maintenance) it would be logical that the cost of two (or four) passengers traveling would be half the cost of one. If nine passengers were traveling it would be (approximately) about one fifth of the cost.

So what did I come up with during this four months of planning? What I came up with is means of moving bicycle riders several miles to an express line that traveled up to sixty miles an hour (over 80 miles) to destinations and above 140 miles an hour to destinations further away (500 miles plus). This leaves city passengers at about 10 to 12 miles an hour. About as fast as can be expected in todays cities. To do this they must be ready to petal (except for the disabled, when detected they would be able to apply the battery to drive).

What we have is a system that allows you to bike to a station and get on a movement machine that takes you either to your destination or to a transfer point where you get on a faster system that gets you to a destination. Then you ride your bike to the final destination (a quarter mile or five miles) or walk.

I don’t think that everyone gets the picture yet, but in the 1960’s it was proposed a rapid transit system would be the freeway. Then the expressway. Then by 2010 it was the Tollway. You do have an alternative. It’s called

On February 24th I went to a National Bus Rapid Transit Institute meeting:
I went to a National Bus rapid Transit Institute meeting today at the Detroit Zoo. This was an event put on by them to foster a Regional Transit Authority. On Monday I went to a Transportation Riders Unlimited meeting were they voted on weather to approve supporting this or not.

From the discussions on Woodward Light Rail and the decision to abandon it and get a bus rapid transit system going, the state proposed four bills that would allow another transit system to form in the state. Some aspects I like. The fact that light rail is off the books makes sense to me.

When I got to the Zoo the first thing I saw was a car from Green Oak Township, thats in Livingston county. This plan is for Wayne, Macomb, Oakland and Washtenaw counties. Later in talking to member of Royal Oak delegation, he suggested that maybe they want it to be a five member group.

He also mentioned that we are more spread out now and that Royal Oak is close to the center of everything going on in the metro area. I could not agree more. In 1875 Detroit had 100,000 people in an area of 15 miles and today there is the same number in the Howell, Brighton and South Lyon area. An area of about 200 miles. Yet Detroit midtown has 56.000 in about a 1.5 miles. That’s a lot.

February 25th commented on Novi:
I always considered Novi to be a special place. It was were Dave’s Hamburgers was but that was all it had. Yet it was a city of over 20 miles. South Lyon was a city of 2 miles if that. And it was a lot larger than Novi. I just came across a a land map that said Novi was one area out of five in the metro Detroit area that was projected to loose a lot a of environmental factors by the year 2030. Novi has gained a lot in the last thirty years but what it has not gained I’m thankful for. Thirty years ago I took a picture at 12 Mile and Meadowbrook Rd. that I thought would be a housing development by the time I got to college in 1976, but it turned out to be nothing more that a university sub station. I’m not sure what it is but it has never been developed.

By February 28th I had a mission and vision:
Getting people where they need to go

Use a car carrier, work with other providers and systems.
Use a multi person carrier and a bicycle carrier to get people the last leg of their trip.

Super commuting. & In the big cities about 8% of the people are doing it. That amount with the 8 to 12 percent that have to do it gives the amount of transit or fast travel a rate of 16 to 20 percent. It is growing. The rate at which something is accepted by society is around 18%.

an iteresting artice on detroit 80000 desnity compared to chicago 550000

On March 5th I wrote and unsent letter:
Dear …,

MIchigan proposed a regional transportation authority be established on January 27, 2012. (SB 909, 911, 912) they are supposedly on a fast track. Now is the time to do something in Michigan. These bills are geared towards a bus rapid transit system that will operate in four southeastern Michigan counties. (When I went to the National Bus Rapid Transit Institute Workshop on February 24th there were actually people from Livingstone as well.) There is nothing in the legislation to due away with anything other than rail. There just one vote can veto the discussion. It can be the right time for an above rapid transit.

Michigan is one area of the country that has not had a regional transit agency of substantial impact. This legislation is a start. We can be a part of it.

I was opposed to the Woodward Light Rail project for many reasons, but I thought it had a chance to get built. I worked on a design for a PRT project that would include areas to the side of such a line. Not any more. The historical and environmental work has already been done for the Woodward line. It is a line that the RTA wants to put BRT on. Why could it (RTA) not put an (ART) PRT line on it?

It is all in the way it presented. I follow Dan Verhoeve and his latest blog was one in which I can get around.

The way I see most PRT companies set up is one in which they are the primary providers of a service. I think the way that works best is one where people come together to solve a problem. I think we have several problems working here. One is that people want to go long distances fast, two is that getting around town can involve easily thirty miles each way and three just getting three miles down the road is hardly worth pulling the car out for.

Lets take item two for starters and make it work with solutions one and three (at a latter date). A track system needs to be established, and that is where Skyways comes in. Where do Bubble Motion and Skyrider come in? They come on as a smaller system that carries no more that two passengers. These are system three providers that transfer onto system two. System two is designed to move people thirty miles at forty to sixty miles an hour.

System three would carry people up to one hundred and twenty miles an hour.

(“Rolling rapid transit” would mean bus
services that may combine the technology of
intelligent transportation systems, traffic
signal priority, cleaner and quieter vehicles,
rapid and convenient fare collection, and
integration with land use policy. The term
could include exclusive rights-of-way, rapid
boarding and alighting, and integration with
other modes of transportation. “Downtown
Detroit station” would mean a location in or
near the Campus Martius area of downtown
Detroit.) articles of incorporation to the contrary, the
designated distribution of Federal and State
formula funds, regardless of what entity was
the subrecipient or direct recipient, would
have to be determined using the Federal and
State statutes and regulations applicable at
the time of distribution as if the designated
subrecipients or direct recipients were
allowed to, and did, apply for Federal and
State formula funds independently of each
other and the Authority.

On March 7th I sent out a proposal:
Proposal for a (PRT) coalition in Michigan

I am writing this to you as a possibility to participate in a regional transportation plan for the metro Detroit area.

Tim Fischer, Deputy Policy Director of the Environmental Council of Michigan (of which Transportation for Michigan is a part of) stated today that the idea of forming a coalition that advocated PRT was timely due to the fact that three bills focusing on a regional transportation policy were advancing though the legislature.

I have reviewed most sites for PRT usage and have come up with the three of you. Initially I propose an elevated system that can carry cars, nine people carriers and also transport four or more comfortably. This ties into a lighter weight system that is petal and battery powered, that will carry one person with a bike or two people.

Do you have the time and resources to work on such a project?


Sean McAde

The final closing thoughts on this year … “wisdom…”:
One survey statement said: “At WD-40 Company, I am treated with respect and dignity.” Over 98.7 percent said “true” to that statement.

Don’t expect instant results; relationships take time to build.
How do you define wisdom? What can leaders who find themselves running as fast as they can do to bring about more wisdom in their lives and the way they lead?
In the book, wisdom is defined as the application of knowledge, discernment, insight, experience, and judgment to make good decisions when the answer may not be obvious. To bring more wisdom into your life, start by examining yourself. What are your strengths and weaknesses? How are you adding value to your life, your organization, the world? Self-evaluation isn’t easy but it is a necessary starting point for pursuing wisdom.

It’s time for a change-Detroit transit

Last Tuesday I had a chat with Marie Donigan, Megan Owens and Sean Mann on transportation hosted by The Detroit Free Press. Earlier I had read in the same paper an article that had said “Also at risk is the project to build light rail along Woodward because, Bing said, $100 million in federal transportation funds would be lost if the city can’t even provide decent bus services.” I’m wondering what the status of light rail coming to Woodward really is and so are some others.

Three articles published that week also sited possible delays and indecision by people connected to the project. The Free Press published an opinion the next day saying “Obstacles ahead…”. The South End, Wayne State’s paper published an article saying “Woodward Light Rail faces tough questions”. Finally on Thursday Crain’s published an article saying “Private money on the line: Woodward rail donors wait for layout they like”.

This week Dan Gilbert said “There’s almost nothing you can do better for an urban core than curbside light rail”. Yet most planners see curbside rail as a hinderance to bike riders. There might have to a modified system.

And thinking about a modified system I have to say that my preference to the woes of Detroit area transit come down to a combination of bus rapid transit and a personal rapid transit system. First off I don’t think the Woodward light rail line running to 8 Mile will do much for the city. There are not a lot of people in the 1/2 mile right of way along the line. A better route would be to do a personal rapid transit line that ran less than a 1/2 away, right by some of the positions that have said they would support light rail but are no where near it.

Ithaca, NY did a plan for a PRT system of 11.5 miles (5.75 miles of two way track) that would cost about 185 million. Our rial line will cost in excess of 550 million for 9.5 miles. Is it not time to consider another alternative?

Part of the problem is showing it to people. How do I do that? Well the best way is a video. So I did one. Take 6 minuets of your time and watch the personal rapid transit route I suggest for Detroit.

This route incorporates several needy areas along with several upscale areas and feeds into shopping and entertainment districts as well as job locations.

On a related note I also think PRT is a solution that could work for the Ann Arbor to Detroit route. During the past few years planners have proposed a train between the two cities. What is not outlined very clearly is how to get to the airport. Using one train route does not go by the airport so busses would have to be deployed. Doing a PRT along several train routes and through Canton would rectify this problem and provide rapid transit that could be used by a variety of people.

The map has other routes shown, but concentrating dollars on the Ann Arbor to Detroit route and the mid city and downtown routes would be a place that I would like to start.