A Dualmode Developer's Views


Jan Andress

As the developer of a dualmode prototype vehicle, which I call the Monomobile , I feel that the project is much more viable than most people think. Apparently my thinking is shared by others, as on Wednesday of this week (March 25, 1998) I am traveling to Detroit, to discuss the construction of the vehicle for use in developing countries.

There is so much work that still needs to be done before production begins, but the basic concepts are very sound:

-lightweight vehicles sold for under $10,000.

-reduce urban air pollution by over 60% and global warming by 30%

-mileage that is 800% improvement over the automobile

-track infrastructure costs that are 1/20 of highways

-capacity of 48,000 veh./hour on a track system that is only 22' wide.

This is not a dream. A prototype has been built and tested. A six month study of track structure and construction costs was completed at the University of Cincinnati School of Engineering. While the suspended track we use for the prototype tests is only 60 feet long, I regularly drive the Monomobile on public streets alongside regular vehicles. It has a top speed of 40 mph and a range of 30 miles.

For these reasons I do not agree with skeptics that claim that dualmode is too expensive or has too many problems. Sure there are issues that need to be resolved, but the opportunities of this new mode of transportation far outweight the obsticles. When the automobile was first introduced, some states passed laws requiring people to run in front of the car with a flag at intersections...times do change and solutions are found.

A common criticism of dualmode is that there is a need for inspection stations at each entry point. While there is some merit to this concern, it is not a serious problem. Based on estimates developed for the Aerospace Corporation PRT System, I conservatively estimate one vehicle malfunction for every 1 million vehicle miles. Because electric motors are so reliable, the incidence of vehicle breakdown is much less than existing automobiles. New types of electric motors promise to be even more reliable.

Even if there is a vehicle malfunction, the Monomobile system is designed with three tracks so traffic is simply rerouted around the problem area. Switches between the tracks make it possible to shift vehicles between the three tracks.

The use of a suspended track also has the benefit that the track connections are more protected from weather and road hazards. A dualmode system that runs on roads will have serious problems protecting the track attachment devices if they are on the bottom of the vehicle. This is one of the reasons that a dualmode system must be a suspended system instead of a supported system.

Another way to eliminate the need for expensive inspection stations at each entry point is to require an inspection of dualmode vehicles every six months by a certified group. Only vehicles with updated inspections will be allowed onto the track.

Rather than reproducing all the details of the Monomobile system I encourage readers to visit the Monomobile web page at http://www.monomobile.com   Someday a dualmode system will be constructed that will be surprisingly simple and inexpensive.

If you have any questions that are not adequately answered by this response or the web page, please e-mail me at ard@iac.net

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Last modified: February 10, 2005