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transportation in a space colony - JoeStrout - 09-06-2016

I've been pondering transportation recently.  Even a small colony, say a radius of 250 m, is about 1.5 km around.  People walk about 5 kph, so that's 9 or 10 minutes to walk from one side to the other.

That's not awful, but I can easily imagine being in more of a hurry than that.

But it's short enough that something like a train doesn't seem to make much sense.  If you have to wait 5-10 minutes for the train, it'd often be faster to just walk.

I looked into moving sidewalks, but most of these today only go about 3 kph, i.e. slower than walking.  Of course if you walk on them, then you're going about 50% faster.  That gets you to the other side in about 6 minutes, which isn't bad, but of course you have to walk to/from the walkway endpoints, so it probably ends up being about a wash.

In the Toronto airport, they have a cool high-tech moving walkway that actually accelerates at the beginning, and decelerates at the end, by expanding the tiles.

The speed is about 2 kph at the ends, and 7 kph in the middle.  If you walked on it, that'd get you up to 13 kph, which gets you to the other side in about 4 minutes.  Pretty good!  But very complex, and you still have to get to/from the endpoints.

At this point, I mentioned all this to my older son, who said: Why not just ride a bike?

[Image: state_bicycle_co_fixie_tiburon_1_large.jpg?v=1443572944]

Duh.  Average bicycle speed is 15.5 kph, and that gets you to the other side of the habitat in 3 minutes flat.  Assuming frequent bike racks, you can take your bike right from wherever you are to wherever you're going; no waiting, and no going to special on/off points.  Easy peasy.

Not as young as you used to be?  No problem; you could use an electric bike, or take a bike taxi.

Of course there are other personal transport vehicles these days: Segway (20 kph), so-called hoverboards (~12 kph), etc.  Probably space settlers will use all of these (and others we haven't thought of). But the good old-fashioned bike is hard to beat.

RE: transportation in a space colony - Pye-rate - 09-07-2016

Pedal power to the future!