Jams Without Flexibility

Autos & Trucks

  • Author Gerry Kramer
  • Published March 21, 2019
  • Word count 1,307

So, first of all, why "without flexibility"? Think about cars. Cars have wheels that can turn by a steering wheel controlled by humans, so they can, theoretically, go anywhere as long as it's on the ground. Airplanes have even more freedom, with not just latitude and longitude within their imaginary reach, but altitude as well. Trains, on the opposite side of the spectrum, are confined to railways, which take tons of time to build. They can't theoretically travel anywhere that's not on a railway.

Based on what I've provided in the first paragraph, we can use a certain "availability interconnected diagrammatical sequence"(1) (A.I.D.S.) as I like to call it to conclude that airplanes have the most freedom, then after that is boats (cars might not be able to easily travel on all solid ground, but boats can float and move on all kinds of liquid), then cars, and finally, trains have the least amount of freedom in terms of where they can go. So solving train traffic is naturally going to be harder than other vehicles.

"Train traffic" refers to when two trains come too close to each other to perform any significant movement. As more trains come, they get caught in this "traffic blob", more about that later. No trains can move anywhere more than a few millimeters, and anything above that will result in a fatal crash. At that point, there's nothing left to do but wait until someone makes the right move to allow more room between trains to travel.

With that last sentence, I implied that the "blob" would eventually be "killed". And, yes, traffic blobs can die. It's just that in order to kill it, one train has to make a really risky move. It could either bring an end to the traffic blob or it will result in the deaths of everyone on board as well as the neighboring trains. Train traffic happens all the time, and very few accidents occur, but that avoidance of death comes with the risk of facing it. The only thing that is lost is time, but time is a precious thing in this overly curious and hungry-for-laziness human race.

The term "traffic blob" I made up myself. In order to fully prepare myself for writing this essay and coming up with this idea, I spent a lot of time observing train traffic and putting my brain cells to overtime work, in other words, forcing my consciousness to conduct vigorous labor. Which, in the long run, spells benefits to my whole body, mentally and physically. But critical consideration and idea-breeding is, by all means, a high hurdle, but I think I got it down about how traffic blobs work.

I called it a "traffic blob" because mass train traffic looks like a blob. Technically, a blob(2) doesn't have a shape, but it still looks like a blob because the train traffic has no definitive shape either. It starts to form when two trains come so close to each other that an escape from a collision is remarkably hazardous. As more trains come into this "point of imminent danger", the blob grows. When one train makes that risky move and makes its way out of the traffic, the blob shrinks. When multiple trains coordinate and split off of the blob together, the blob is also split.

Train traffic blobs love a closening distance. That's their fuel - what makes them grow. If this can't be achieved, the blob won't have a chance to survive. Yet still, it is way easier for trains to enter this blob than for trains to exit. So the best way to stop the blobs is to prevent them from happening at all in the first instance.

If trains can coordinate, collaborate, and communicate, all whilst on the move, traffic blobs would pretty much go extinct. If the three C's(3) are granted (which are all markedly similar), all trains will be able to warn each other of even the slightest possibility of a blob emerging. If multiple trains are about to come near to each other, the wireless signal will tell the peer trains to peel off. The only way we can efficiently and autonomously achieve this is through autopiloting robots. Robots can talk to each other at the speed of light(4), so communication and proper orientation are going to be nonexistent fear feeders.

In a perfect world, we would need to solve the problem of the probability of a train malfunction. If the train stops working for one reason or another while betwixt two stations, the train will have to stop midway. This can be both a potential blocker and a spark of traffic blobs, and if we want to completely outlaw these blobs, we have to first completely outlaw this distraction.

The solution to that one is an abundance of intersections. Train intersections are more complicated than car intersections. With cars, all one has to do is turn the steering wheel and they bypass all the problems with train crossings. No workers are necessary. With trains, a worker has to sit in a little pavilion-sized building. They work the mechanics to outright rotate the ground below the curved track in order to decide which trains go where.

If we had more intersections, trains would have more availability of which path to take to get from point A to point B. Take a simple grid(5), for example. Point A was the top-left corner and point B was the bottom-right corner. The gridlines are the railways. There are seemingly infinite amounts of combinations the train can take traveling from point A to point B, but it can come with any number of intersections.

If we had robots for these too, the robots can coordinate with the trains to decide how the train is going to get from point A to point B. The plan is simple: every train will have a specified computerized request indicating the starting station and the ending station. This digital request will be spread out to other trains and intersection bots in between the two stations. Wherever trouble and a potential blob may occur, the intersection bots can be programmed to make the train bypass the infected area. Since bots can communicate at the speed of sound, then multiple trains can pass through one time and intersections can rotate at amazingly swift speeds, getting all of those trains to their destinations accident-free within a matter of minutes.

This will definitely change things economically. First of all, investment in train accidents(6) would reduce. Also, pretty much all businesses would be enhanced financially because many businesspeople travel daily to their headquarters by rail. Since time would be regained, more work will be done because less time is spent on commuting. Technology industries would also grow because they are in charge of manufacturing these robotic trains and other robots and convoluted machines. The only potential flaw would be a malfunction of the robot system, but problems like this are easily mendable, and this will spawn more jobs as well.

Not only are humans smart, but also smartly lazy(7) and impatient as well. For millennia, we have always tinkered with new ideas thought up by the wisest of the wise. This is a powerful and blessing form of brain exercise(8), which is just as important as physical exercise. We all sought and wrought to be the smartest person we can be, and vigorous brain exercise might seem overwhelming, but it can be done without punishment, and the possible and anticipated regrets get shattered. And that's how this idea for solving train traffic was generated. Hopefully, it will simplify and reorder rail transportation like it seems it should. I certainly think it will. Not every thinking mind may, though. Nevertheless, the proof is in the presence of the blob's terminal grave.

Greetings :)! I’m an independent, an atheist, a writer, a reader, a researcher, and a straight-A high honor roll student.

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