I had this idea when I was stuck in traffic.
What causes traffic? It is a combination of several factors. But let’s be honest, without people there wouldn’t be traffic. The more people you cram into one area of road, the more congested it becomes. People merging onto that road only adds to the asthmatic snail pace you are already crawling to.
Another factor is this ripple effect where a car will merge from an onramp and the car behind it, slows down. The car behind that car slows down. So on and so forth until it gets about 6 cars down and we now have stopped. And that is just one car. Now add a consistent amount of cars during peak and this is why you are doing 10-20K/hr in a 100KM zone.
Another factor is that people can not merge. This is a known fact. I don’t even need to justify this with links for proof. Just go to an onramp somewhere, park near it and go watch people merge. Watch as someone doing 100KM slows down to let the person merge and then have the person who is doing merging slow down to let the car slowing down pass him so he can slide in behind him. And if that doesn’t cause you to have some kind of aneurysm or make you feel a little more stupid/ashamed to human, I am not sure what will. What will cause a little excitement in your day is if you go to that same spot and watch two ego fuckfaces battle it out. The guy driving his 2008 Holden Ute that he spent all weekend washing his car and drinking beer is not slowing down for the egomaniac in 4WD car (It is not brand-specific as I have yet to find someone who drives one that I think is a half decent human being) who has never taken it outside of ‘burbs is also not slowing down and both of them think they have right of way. This will cause an accident (although accident usually implies a bit of bad luck instead of what it really is: a circumstance that involves two dicks stupid enough to not know how to work out the merging system).

So I thought of a system. Which is would eliminate the need to make bridges over existing infrastructure and build new tunnels. The idea is not to take work away from the people in the field of jobs because we know it is the lifeblood for a lot of people. It is like a train system so it still requires many years of development but the end result would pay off. What you would have instead of cars is pods. A pod can hold 2, 3 or 4 people per pod. You can either type in an address (which will all be pre-programmed) or if you are going to an area which does not have a specified address (for instance you need to go to a remote area to dig a shallow grave for the dead body you have, you can type in a manual address. It would run on something like (but not necessarily) Google maps mixed with some form of specialized GPS system. Of course you would have to give it a thorough test before actually executing it to the public but make it so simple even old Nana’s can use it. On the menu, you could have suggestions of popular destinations frequently visited by people. Whether it be the city, one of the more popular pubs in the area or whether it be that Brothel, the Viper Room at Yeerongpilly.
Pods that run purely on electricity. Of course this would mean we then require more electricity grids than what we already have. But then we’d have less of a dependence on petrol and all the other associated car costs: petrol prices, car maintenance, car registration, car insurance, tolls, etc. We could have electrical cars but that still doesn’t fix the other problems: road infrastructure and traffic.
No one gets a pod except people who need special needs pods like a trady or a courier. Trucks get their own special lane so no one is inconvenienced by them. You just book it (like a taxi) and the Pod finds you with its GPS system. If there is one around the road available, it will be at your place within minutes at the very latest. Each area would have a deposit of pods closely available at all times. If there is a room to run out, the computer system sends for more. There will be a depot of these somewhere. Since this will take over cars, buses and trains there will be plenty of room to store shit when we find a place to stash all the other cars.
They run on tracks so you would need people to make tracks instead of bitumen road. Now in the beginning, this would be problematic but it would be beneficial down the line because if you have a new estate or suburb going in, you could just extend the line.
The pods would be various colours and styles and those who were making cars now make pods. Another benefit for this is you would pay to travel between places instead of paying for a car and all associated costs. The cost you pay to get from point a to point b includes maintenance and the whole package. It would be like buying a train ticket from your house.
What about the traffic problem? Well, any major road we have varies between 2 and 5 lanes. On a traditional road with say 3 lanes, you can actually fit 4-5 pods in the same space concurrently without it being too overcrowded. By introducing the computerized system, we take people out of the picture. Merging wouldn’t be a problem anymore because cars do the driving, not people. So when a wanker approaches the top of a hill, it will no longer brake because some dim-witted moron can’t see over the top of a hill and slow the traffic for EVERYONE. People have no control over slowing it down which is part of the problem. There is an emergency brake which overrides everything in the case of a system failure. Depending on how hard you press the emergency brake will depend on how quick the pod slows down.
Car companies wouldn’t have control either. This benefits everyone except for car companies. If you ever watch the doco, “Who Killed the Electric Car?”, it goes on to say that because an electric car was so efficient, it stopped making money for lots of people. You could only get an EV1 (General Motors) through lease only and no one ever owned one. The car was not very profitable and was part of the reason why it was canned. People wouldn’t have debts because of cars as they would cease to exist. They could spend on other things. The rate of car-related accidents would be next to nothing. Unless the system’s crash detection failed in whole areas, in which case it would be a really bad day for everyone (at least you have the emergency brake unless you fall asleep on your way to work in which case, you would die peacefully unlike the others in the other pod who died screaming). As long as the pod knows it route, it could lose connection to the server because all pods are on tracks and it just follows the quickest track to its destination which works the absolute opposite way to how a GPS works now (and a Taxi driver).
The people who were working for car companies now work for big brother. Big brother makes the pods, controls and maintains the pods so no jobs are lost. Except sales reps. Those guys either find another job somewhere else or turn into phone techs. WOO!

Now I know there are some problems.
The first problem is money to fund such infrastructure. If it costs $4.7bil to make the Airport Link in Brisbane, QLD Australia then to make this a reality, it would cost a ridiculous amount of money. Yes, if you span it out over the amount of years it would take to develop this, it would still cost a lot of money and no one is prepared to future-proof anything. Think of this: If they built the roads we need now back in the 70s, 80s or even the 90s, it would cost a fraction of what it does now. So, why didn’t they? It’s all relative. $100,000 these days is certainly worth a whole lot less than it did back then. But we still pay an inflated amount for just about anything.
The second problem is we all know Petrol companies ensure they will have a death grip over our means of just about every means of transport to ensure their abundance of money will ultimately be endless. It would be foolish for them to not to be planning something as I write this or already have a plan as it would be naive or arrogant to think Petrol will last forever. Why this would matter is petrol companies would have ties with anyone and everyone who has a say on whether something like this would be built and greed would prevail instead of thinking about a solution to assist the bigger picture: me stuck in traffic. Duh.
The next problem is there is currently no type of GPS system like the one I talk about. I am sure something like that would be relatively easy to implement. Just need some kind of server farm to hold the data of where everyone lives.

The thought would be that people would no longer have an excuse for traveling long distances as well. They would just get into a pod and away they go. They could sleep, read, play a PSP or Nintendo DS…whatever.