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Desc:Reinventing transit from the ground up the wrong way around
Category:Science & Technology, Business
Tags:Cars, glass, solar panels, roads, crosswalks of the future
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Comment count is 19
James Woods - 2010-08-29
This. Everywhere. Go.
Potrod - 2010-08-29
Yeah, LED's embedded in the roadways will solve all our problems. Let's spend 95% of the video talking about how the aspects of the road that will actually consume electricity (for the sake of a dumb gimmick). Do the prototypes they're building even have any solar panels, and if they do, might it have been a good idea to see them in action or something?

Also, good job mentioning how expensive asphalt is, and then describing a solution that is many times more expensive.
Aress - 2010-08-29
Pretty much. Pipe dream.

Old_Zircon - 2010-08-29
Those LEDs are what would allow this to be used as an advertising medium, which is probably a bigger selling point than the actual solar collecting potential (to the sources of funding, at any rate).

Asphalt won't be cheaper than this for that much longer.

That said, probably not going to work BUT it's a good idea tat could turn in to something that DOES work.

godot - 2010-08-29
Um, simple furnace energy is a huge component of LED and glass manufacturing costs. As asphalt (or natural gas, or coal) becomes scarcer, the costs of these panels will rise accordingly.

Oh, also there's 7 gallons of crude (and not pixie dust) in every tire.

Quite a few experts on efficient transport agree that the future is electric rail. The paved road network may very well have peaked (gravel is cheaper for rural counties to maintain), and to the extent these novelty panels aren't a tax-writeoff, they'll be used for advertising novelties around public transport terminals and shopping malls.

memedumpster - 2010-08-29
I just want lines on the road that light up so when it rains at night on asphalt less than ten years old, you can flipping see how to not die.

That and who here voluntarily rides the bus instead of drive a car they could easily afford? Who will give up their car for public transport when the bus becomes an electric train full of the same people you avoid the bus over? I guess when car taxes are ,000 a year.

godot - 2010-08-29
To memedumpster: I suspect the aversion to public transport will disappear fairly quickly when gas lines take hours. Which happened in '73, in '79, and through much of the southeast in Sept 2008. It could happen tomorrow in the US if everyone simply filled their tanks - there's less working storage of gasoline in the distribution system than unused tank capacity in registered vehicles.

At the moment, I'm temporarily living in an unwalkable lily-white suburb 4 miles from the nearest bus line. This neighborhood is screwed.

fluffy - 2010-08-29
memedumpster: I have a car that I can easily afford, but I take mass transit to work. It's a lot less stressful, despite taking about 4x as long for my commute.

baleen - 2010-08-29

I gave up cars after working in auto insurance after college. I had a car that essentially rotted in my driveway, so I sold it. Being close to trains is part of my life and I like it that way. I get to read or nap to and from work. If I really needed a car either for a road trip or to move shit, I rent one. The only problem with pub transit I have is the occasional piece of shit ghetto kid or redneck or fratboy causing me some aggravation, but that seems less of an issue than being one of the 34,000 dead and 1.5 million injured annually that our selfish obsession with driving creates.

standard8mm - 2010-08-29
What happens when those kids jump out onto the slick glass road and I can't stop in enough time?
simon666 - 2010-08-29
You turn onto the roadway, then all of a sudden you see goatse. Some young kids have trolled the road.
ItsAboutTime - 2010-08-29
Thought of a few more reasons why this would (currently suck):
LED lighting is not suitable for full daylight without cooling. What if it snows? What about the brake distance, tires are built to run on asphalt? What about tire marks? Can this stuff handle huge 30 tonne trucks?

pastorofmuppets - 2010-08-29
They're engineers, so hopefully those are the sort of questions that they're interested in answering. Ideas by themselves are practically worthless. Not that I think his vision of a sprawling solar utopia is coming to pass... it's too bad that the video focused on the lights instead of the engineering challenges.

Potrod - 2010-08-29
Why do we even give a shit about LED's embedded in the roadways? This guy is talking about solving serious problems, then he invests time, money, and effort into a solution to a non-existent problem, in the form of a pressure sensitive plate that tells drivers to slow down if people are crossing.

Samisyosam - 2010-08-29
Nice trick showing us your daughter like that to sell us on your "enviornmentally-friendly" carbon footprint and production cost nightmare.

I think we should get used to the idea that we'll be using bikes and rickshaws to get around in the future. The only people who can afford wheels in the future will be produce companies, shipping our avocados up from Guatemala.
Scynne - 2010-08-29

oddeye - 2010-08-29
I walk everywhere in all weathers. I would consider using public transport IF it was like short-term rental electrical cabs or something.
stage - 2010-08-29
Seems like a good idea to me. Thousands and thousands of miles of level, connected, and maintenanced terrain: if they get it working good it'd be better to have roads used for solar collecting rather than building massive one off units in the desert.

Sure there are lots of problems and difficulties mentioned by other users above, but intelligent solutions could be found for getting around them. I think it'd be sweet if these guys partnered with the goverment + a small town somewhere and used it to test and improve their prototypes.
takewithfood - 2010-08-29
I do love the idea of being able to just pull sections up to get at the pipes/whatever beneath. I also love the idea of them delivering power cables through them. Imagine how nice it would be to have all those telephone poles disappear. I hope they keep working on this, even if it takes a looong time to make it feasible.
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