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  #1  
Old July 21st, 2015, 07:24 PM
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Sifu Blackirish Sifu Blackirish is offline
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During research for my third novel, I have been looking at a lot of information about the Interstate Highway System. In essence, I imagine a 'highway culture' on some alien planet.

I have my own ideas for how this came to be, already in development IMTU. However, the planetary scale just came to me moments ago, and i was so fascinated by the concept that I wanted to share.

IMTU Terra gradually abandons internal combustion engines during the 21st Century, with the exception being the Los Angeles Automotive Reclamation Area. Pollution and special use taxes make it too expensive for average citizens to have them. LAARA is funded by old-school NASCAR and NHRA fanboys, who maintain the highways. Long straight sections along with 'interchange mazes' (intersections of major interstates) are there for the enjoyment of rich dilettantes.

What would the planetary characteristics be of such a place, where vehicles predominate?

What comes to mind for me is almost continual cloud cover and extreme winds aloft. Maybe the original colonists hit the 'sweet spot' of the ecocycle and there was actually sunshine that year. How about a sunny year 1 of 10?

Now i leave the rest to you fellow CotI members. As an inducement to those who think an 'interstate planet' would be a boring place, I provide this:

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/interstate/roadmovies.cfm
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Old July 21st, 2015, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
for the enjoyment of rich dilettantes
long stretches of straight highway, huh? boring. put the driver bot on, fall asleep.

1) mountains. lots of twisty curves to test one's skills, lots of fog to test one's nerves, lots of tunnels to hear the roar of one's engines, and lots of scenic views over vast valleys.

2) forests and lakes. scenery.

3) jurassic highway. race the predators. insurance on sale ....

4) car wars. death race 2000. road warrior. iron autobahn blitzkrieg nazis with 88's.
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Old July 21st, 2015, 08:32 PM
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Alternately you could go the route of the Daniel Keys Moran did in his Continuing Time novels - see "The Long Run" and "Emerald Eyes"

Short version, all traffic is computer controlled unless you have a license to drive yourself - in a world full of VTOL's (easily changed to grav). The licenses to "drive freely" are very hard to get and there are clubs devoted to doing so - including the concept of 'the long run" which is either an around the world trip or some other very long bit of travel (I can't remember at the moment).

D.
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 03:03 AM
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I'm reading that there would still be quite a need for cheap ground transportation even at the higher TLs- 600K Cr for an air/raft still makes it a working vehicle or rich plaything, and even if you say buy a TL9 air/raft at TL14 and incur the 50% TL 'exchange rate', that still works out to 300K vs. much more affordable wheels.

Or you could go hover which would allow for much cheaper grading and fixing of travel surface without the expense of maintaining a road to full safe/drainage levels.
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 04:11 AM
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Sorry - this topic, and the mention of hovercars, just forces me to post this (not that I really need an excuse to listen to it again):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjjNvjURS-s
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 05:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kilemall View Post
I'm reading that there would still be quite a need for cheap ground transportation even at the higher TLs- 600K Cr for an air/raft still makes it a working vehicle or rich plaything, and even if you say buy a TL9 air/raft at TL14 and incur the 50% TL 'exchange rate', that still works out to 300K vs. much more affordable wheels.

Or you could go hover which would allow for much cheaper grading and fixing of travel surface without the expense of maintaining a road to full safe/drainage levels.
Busses, trams, slidewalks... as is being discovered in a number of european cities, most people don't need their own vehicles, and can rent vans (and drivers) when needed for moves, etc.

That everyone needs a personal or family vehicle is not a given.
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aramis View Post
Busses, trams, slidewalks... as is being discovered in a number of european cities, most people don't need their own vehicles, and can rent vans (and drivers) when needed for moves, etc.

That everyone needs a personal or family vehicle is not a given.
Of course, but for worlds/nations of a certain density and distance, personal ground vehicles will be desirable.
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 06:17 AM
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Depends on the integration of public transport.

Some countries have them coordinated and networked on a national level, with an attempt to keep delays less than four minutes, but ninety percent run on time.

At some point, we'll have on call drone taxis, one target demographic being the elderly.
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Old July 23rd, 2015, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kilemall View Post
Of course, but for worlds/nations of a certain density and distance, personal ground vehicles will be desirable.
Absolutely

If you have a dense population like (say) the Southeast of England then the sheer traffic density makes getting around by car quite slow. Public transport - especially a well developed train system - is by far the easiest way to get around in London and parts of the surrounding country. This is also the case in various American cities, New York being perhaps the best example.

However, there are plenty of places in the areas around London that aren't in walking distance to a train station, and for these locations a car is still very useful. While there are still a lot of bus services, these often only run every couple of hours and then only into the early evening.

At the other end of the scale the rural areas of (say) Australia, New Zealand or parts of the U.S. or Canada are very sparsely populated. Even the cities can be very spread out. Public transport is much less cost-effective in areas like this, so cars will be prevalent.

Teaching someone to fly safely is much harder than teaching them to drive. There was a flying car that was brought to market sometime in the 1950s (there's plenty of video about it). Even then, it apparently needed about 8 separate sets of licensing and paperwork to operate. The bureaucracy surrounding flying will be much more complex than driving.

While Cr600,000 is quite a lot of money for an air/raft, it's not out of line with the $1-2m that a light helicopter (well, anything but a Robbie) might cost today.

I can see ground cars being a fixture of pretty much any technologically advanced environment. They might be powered by internal combustion engines, or some sort of air-breathing fuel cell arrangement at higher tech levels.

Auto-driving is unlikely to ever be mandatory, although cars might well have an auto-drive capability. Automated taxis might, however, be quite a cheap service in cities and probably fairly popular because of this.
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kilemall View Post
I'm reading that there would still be quite a need for cheap ground transportation even at the higher TLs- 600K Cr for an air/raft still makes it a working vehicle or rich plaything, and even if you say buy a TL9 air/raft at TL14 and incur the 50% TL 'exchange rate', that still works out to 300K vs. much more affordable wheels.

Or you could go hover which would allow for much cheaper grading and fixing of travel surface without the expense of maintaining a road to full safe/drainage levels.
I believe that there was a 10% discount for TLs over that, so a TL 9 air/raft would cost 60000 Cr and a TL 10 one cost 6000.

Unless you wanted to alter that and have a TL 9 one cost 300000 CR, a TL 10 one cost 100000 Cr and so forth. Makes getting higher TL ones a better idea, and gives in-game justification for a lot of worlds trying to up their TLs.
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