1969...Stanley Kubrick’s film classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey The “ 2001 ” movie plot: • “ HAL”––the space ship’s computer––goes haywire and kills all but two of the crew. • HAL lures astronaut Dave out of the ship in a work “pod” in a hopeless attempt to rescue Frank, his partner. But Dave forgets and leaves his space helmet onboard the ship. • Now Dave has to choose between slowly running out of air in the pod or regaining the main space ship by surviving a few seconds in the vacuum of space. • Everything depends on minimizing time he spends in the vacuum! An illustrative metaphor for the catenary-to-hydrolley transition
LIKE DAVE’S TRIP THROUGH THE VACUUM OF SPACE, A CATENARY-TO-HYDROLLEY TRANSITION IS UNAVOIDABLY DANGEROUS AND PAINFUL . BUT AT SOME POINT, THE RISK OF INACTION BECOMES GREATER THAN THE RISK OF INNOVATING . . . THOUGH THE STATUS QUO MAY SEEM LESS SCARY.
the fuelling, air quality non-attainment, CO 2 emissions, congestion and driving hassles of personal petroleum cars
the infrastructure capital / maintenance and transportation fuel requirements of sprawl
a new, growing, young, urban-preferring demographic
a new paradigm: the car as an encumbrance rather than an enabler
the unavoidable tension between the car and the environment
THE EXTENT OF THE STREETCAR RENAISSANCE growth prediction graphic, courtesy Jim Graebner, APTA’s Trolley Committee, made circa 2006
EXISTING AND PLANNED STREETCAR SYSTEMS: 81 + San Francisco, New Orleans, Philadelphia , Newark, Cleveland, Boston, San Diego, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Sacramento, Portland, LA, Houston, Denver, Salt Lake City, Buffalo, St. Louis, Galveston, Tucson, Seattle , Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis, Tampa, Baltimore, Lowell, Minneapolis, Kenosha Seattle, Portland, Salem, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, Tucson, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Denver, Colorado Springs, Spokane, Boise, Salt Lake, Sacremento, Austin, Houston, Corpus Christi, Kansas City, St. Louis, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Kenosha, Madison, Omaha, Chicago, Little Rock, Memphis, Dayton,Toledo, Cincinnati, Columbus, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Newark, Providence, Kinston NY, DC, Richmond, Roanoke, Atlanta, Savannah, Birmingham, Miami,Tampa, Grand Rapids, Boston, Lowell, French Lick Indiana, Charlotte, NC. COURTESY, JIM GRAEBNER
CONCLUSION / PROPOSAL Like Dave’s brief trip through the vacuum of space, the least harm comes from minimizing duration of the transition. The duration can be minimized by early and thorough sharing of heads-up hydrolley information in the industry. A discussion within the transit industry is needed soon about the emerging hydrolley and the expense and environmental problems it can avoid, as well as the challenges it introduces. Discussion might stop very large early investments in overhead trolley projects destined to be begun but supplanted by wireless hydrolley before construction begins. But there is this important caveat:
THE FREEZE-UP RISK If aspiring streetcar authorities are scared-off from old trolley construction, but “fear of the untried” stalls new hydrolley buy-in, the valuable advantages of the streetcar renaissance are lost. Therefore, it’s in everyone’s interest to demonstrate a proof-of-concept hydrolley as soon and as rapidly as possible. Due to Mooresville’s hope to become home of the world’s first hydrolley manufacturer, HEAT would like to see the Charlotte Area Transit System chosen as the national hydrolley demonstration site.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS James Graebner , chairman of the Trolley Committee of the American Public Transportation Association, created the PowerPoint slides on present and future deployment of streetcars included here. Their use reaffirms Mr. Graebner’s perspective. We hope to show how the advent of ”hydrolleys” — hydrogen fuel cell streetcars — can bring about streetcar reintroduction much sooner, more widely, and at far less cost than has been thought possible until now. Jean-Paul Moskowitz of Alstom, France, described a hydrolley concept, “Fulltram,” at the Hydrogen Train Conference in Herning, Denmark, June 7, 2006. Alstom recently completed a precedent-setting wireless tram in Bordeaux. It does not use hydrail technology but it predicts a rising public expectation that catenaries are inappropriate for urban streets.
presented with thanks from Mooresville and HEAT to JAMES H. GRAEBNER and APTA Contact information for Stan Thompson and the Hydrogen Economy Advancement Team: home/office phone: +704 664-5486 cellular phone: +704 458-9410 e-mail: [email_address]