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The economic realities of electric car?
The robots in Futurama are fuelled by alcohol; that is a reasonably good choice, actually, since alcohol has an energy density similar to gasoline and is much more compact and easy to deal with than liquid hydrogen. Cars, robots and vecs of all kinds could use alcohol as a fuel - so long as the bionts don't drink it.
I don't think having cars is sustainable in the long run. I mean, usually it means to move like 1 ton of matter, mostly filled with air, to transport one person
from A to B.

I wonder why public transport is so unbelievably bad in the US. In European cities, it is easily possible to live without a car. But in most American cities, there are no trains and buses just suck.
Personal rapid transport - especially robot taxis - are likely to replace personal cars for many purposes in the long run. This strategy works a lot better if the PRT can be used continuously for long periods without charging, but in an urban environment PRTs can have quite short range. PRTs don't need to park near a popular destination- they can move off and pick up another customer as necessary.
(11-18-2019, 12:48 AM)Aurelio Wrote: I wonder why public transport is so unbelievably bad in the US. In European cities, it is easily possible to live without a car. But in most American cities, there are no trains and buses just suck.

Speaking as an American (FWIW) - I'm going to say a combination of geography, historical accident, and economics.

Geography - The US is huge compared to Europe. Seriously - we have multiple individual states that are bigger than entire European nations. It is not uncommon to hear anecdotes about European visitors struggling to really get their head around this - talking about driving to another state and not realizing that it will take them 10-12 hours each way to do that. Even with high speed rail (As currently conceived and state of the art) this means that most of the country would still see a long haul when getting from A to B.

Note also that while the older Eastern cities in the US are often designed such that public transit works better, most cities in the middle and Western part of the nation are designed around the use of cars. Which brings us to...

Historical accident - The US really got going as a major nation around the time that the automobile was really getting going as a means of transport. Most of the country doesn't have the long history with trains and public transit that Europe does or the cultural traditions that go with it. Instead they have the cultural tradition of cars and the 'freedom' to go where you want, when you want, on an individual basis.

Economics - The US has enormous sunk costs in a car based transport system. That includes the design of most of our cities, which place things far apart and give over lots of space to roads and parking lots and place residential centers in clusters (suburbs) with driving based distances to schools, shops, professional offices, etc. Changing all that isn't impossible - but it takes time and money that isn't really there yet.

Politics and social identity also play a big role in this.

My 2c worth,

But especially American cities and their large suburbias are based around owning personal vehicles, seen in street patterns, density and infrastructure and the like.

Edit: Sorry, didn't see the new post.
Also, Canada and Australia are large countries, very sparsely populated, did most population growth during the post-war boom and have car-centric cities, yet still they manage to have adequate public transit. Toronto and Melbourne have the largest tram systems in the world.
(11-18-2019, 02:07 AM)Drashner1 Wrote: Geography - The US is huge compared to Europe. Seriously

Actually the US and Europe are almost the exact same size. Both cover approximately 10 million square kilometers of land. The larger states are also similarly sized to the larger European countries, Texas and France are approximately the same size for example, and Alaska is ~2/3rds the size of European Russia. The biggest difference isn't our size so much as our population density. There are nearly 2.5 Europeans for every 1 American. In addition the population of Europe is dense but at the same time there aren't as many extreme differences in the US (like the heavily populated coasts vs the interior). There are eight US states with a population density of <10 people per square kilometer, but only one in Europe (Iceland), and there are six US states between 10 and 20 people per square kilometer but only two countries in Europe (Norway and Finland).

The population density and distribution, combined with the fact that we're a mash up of independent countries, political unions and levels of political unions mean that the idea of such a sprawling empty space is fairly alien. At least to those from central, southern and western Europe. Northern Europeans and European Russians have a more similar open geography.
OA Wish list:
  1. DNI
  2. Internal medical system
  3. A dormbot, because domestic chores suck!
There's also a potential factor in that there is a strong ethos/cultural tradition that people come here to get away from where they came from including - for much of our history - Europe. This is generally portrayed as coming here for opportunities not available where they came from, or for 'freedom', including the freedom to do things differently from the way things are/were done where they came from.

Under this way of thinking, the very fact that Europe/some other country does something a certain way is seen as an argument in itself for not doing it that way here, at least in some circles. Not sure if Canadians and Australians go in for that kind of thing as much or at all (any Canadians or Australians on the forum want to weigh in on this question?).

Of course, at the same time you have a lot of Americans being very interested in their ancestry and 'where they came from' in Europe or wherever, with that ancestry being treated as something like a point of pride or historical depth or something. Although you also have a subset of the population that is concerned about this in a fashion that seeks to de-legitimize immigrants or people of color as not really belonging here or not 'really' being from here.

So it's messy and complicated.

How dense is an average American city compared to a European one?
(11-24-2019, 05:29 AM)Aurelio Wrote: How dense is an average American city compared to a European one?

Hm. That's a tough question to answer because part of the measure of population density is based on the area that a given population center occupies. Things like what constitutes the city vs the metropolitan area and such also complicate matters.

Pulling numbers from Wikipedia:

At one extreme we have New York City (pop 8.623 million) with an overall population density of - 10,947 people/km2 (but Manhattan - one part of NYC - has 27,826 people /km2

Compare this to London (pop 8.9 million) with an overall population density of 5,666 people/km2 - but 'London' actually covers a variety of parts or definitions that complicate this (City of London, Greater London, etc.).

At the other extreme, the state of Wyoming has only slightly less land area than the entire United Kingdom (population - 66.44 million) - but a population (est.) of 572,381 or so (different sources gave different values for this).

US cities on the coasts, particularly the East Coast tend to be much denser than cities in the middle of the country.

Coming at this from another direction, this page has some fun graphics that compare the UK to 11 different US states in terms of size. And this page lists out all the states by population.

Combining the two, we get:

Alaska (7.05 UKs) - 737,438 people
Texas - 2.86 UKs) - 29,206,997 people
California - (1.74 UKs) - 39,865,590 people
Montana - (1.56 UKs) - 1,062,305 people
New Mexico - (1.29 UKs) - 2,095,428 people
Arizona - (1.21 UKs) - 7,171,646 people
Nevada - (1.17 UKs) - 3,034,392 people
Colorado - (1.11 UKs) - 5,695,564 people
Oregon - (1.04 UKs) - 4,190,713 people
Wyoming - (1.03 UKs) - 577,737 people
Michigan - (1.03 UKs) - 9,995,915 people

While Texas and California each have populations that are significant fractions of the UK in their own right, only one of the other states even exceeds the population of London and the population of all the other 9 states combined only adds up to - 34,561,138 - or a little more than half the UK population.

So, yeah - we're pretty spread out over hereTongue


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