LightWay System

LightWay is a proposed system of roadways restricted to light, zero-carbon automobiles.  These cars would generally travel under completely automatic control on separate roads, mostly in tunnels.  At the beginning and end of any journey they would be driven on the streets like other cars.

Once a vehicle enters the LightWay system it would travel continuously, at speed, until emerging onto the regular road grid near its destination.

Private Ownership.   The vehicles would be privately owned but would have to meet tough criteria to be eligible to ride the LightWay.

  1. Light - unloaded weight limit.
  2. Completely automatic control while in the LightWay.
  3. Real-Time Safety Checked – communicated before each entry.
  4. Minimum mileage requirement.
  5. Carbon-free – owners/drivers would need to prove that they were purchasing their energy from non-polluting sources.
  6. All requirements could be tightened over time along an announced trajectory.
  7. Pushable.  Lose power and you are pushed out. No stopping in the road, ever.  Every car must be able to push and be pushed.
  8. No standard designs.  Within the operating parameters creativity could reign.
  9. Truly rapid transit - but we would still have our beloved individual cars.

Tunneled Roadways.  Most of the routes will be tunneled.

  1. Simple, cheap tunnels.  This is the most critical point to allow realization of the Lightway system.
  2. High speed, minimal headways, and automatic control require a separate roadway.
  3. This system is envisioned to be supplemental to the existing road grid.  With much traffic siphoned off into the LightWays, surface road traffic would de-congest.
  4. For safety, light LightWay cars need to be separated from heavy cars, SUVs, and trucks as much as possible.
  5. Real estate is expensive.  Tunneling under on an easement is cheaper.  And preserving the surface allows other uses.

Configuration

  1. Generally two parallel lanes, one for travel, and one for merging in and out. One lane only required for long non-accessed reaches.
  2. Simple, cheap tunnels.  The lightness of the LightWay cars means simpler pavements.  Tunneled means more stable roadways than surface roads.  Don’t need 100% watertight. 
  3. Automatic control based on car-to-car communication.  Minimize tunnel embeds.
  4. Maintenance at night.  Computer controlled grinding for smooth Ways

On and Off Points

  1. Cars coming on get traveling parallel and then are automatically sidled in. Must have proviso to prevent entry of unlicensed or defective cars.
  2. Cars leaving switch lanes and come out onto surface streets.  Must have areas to automatically pull over and stop vehicles that have become defective or the driver is not ready to drive.