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Under free markets, before government transport monopolies, every city in the US over 10,000 people had a privately funded street car system (wikiPedia list). Since governments consolidated the means of production, most have been eliminated. Governments adopting the 5X5 Standard restore liberty to innovate based on metrics. Since the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1916 began violating the Constitution’s “post Roads” enumerated limit, political influence, not efficacy, dominated policy decisions. eBook Climate Change Root Cause documents NASA finding that “Road Transportation Emerges as Key Driver of Warming” There is a great deal of “green washing” and very little done to address the real problems of traffic congestion, oil-wars, safety, Climate Change, debt, rising gas prices, etc….  Following are metrics for your consideration for identifying the Root Cause so effective actions can be taken. Recommendation: JPods recommendation for action in our niche is the 5X5 Standard, privately funded networks 5 times more efficient than roads pay 5% of gross transport revenues to deploy solar-powered transport networks over roads.

188 times greater Economic Work per Unit of Energy

Warren Buffett, “It {railroads} moves a ton of goods 470 miles on one gallon of fuel.”  This is 188 times more efficient than moving a 200 pound person at 25 mpg. Yet Federal highway policies have replaced 45% of freight railroads with roads.

Known Solution to Efficiency and Safety

Through grade-control or grade-separation (think freeways) tadically more efficient and safer transport networks are well understood:
  • 188 times greater transport efficiency has been know for 2 centuries. The 140,000 miles of freight railroads in the US average 470 ton-mpg. This is 188 times more efficient than moving a 200 pound person with the  25 mpg efficiency of the Model-T. This efficiency is achieved by grade-control to remove repetitive applications of power in start-stop traffic.
  • 3,000 times better safety has been well understood for a half century+. Grade-separated theme park thrill rides have 3.7 injuries per million versus 11,200 serious injuries per million on roads.
Walking a mile requires about 100 calories or 116 watt-hours.  Calculations of fuel efficiencies. Bikes are 10-20 watt-hour/mile. DOE Transportation Energy Data Book
Mode Passengers-vehicle BTU’s passenger-mile passenger-km FTE
Watt-hours Watt-hours
Freight Railroads 22 6 4 1
JPods 1.57 260 76 47 13
Performance Standard 1.57 954 280 174 47
Van pool 6.1 1322 389 242 65
Motorcycles 1.2 1855 545 339 91
Rail, Amtrak 20.5 2650 779 484 130
Rail, Transit (light & heavy) 22.5 2784 818 508 136
Rail, Commuter 31.3 2996 881 548 147
Air, domestic 96.2 3261 959 596 160
Cars 1.57 3512 1032 641 172
Personal trucks 1.72 3944 1159 720 193
Bus, Transit 8.8 4235 1245 774 208
Taxi, demand response 1 14301 4204 2613 701
Source on cost per passenger-mileCars are $0.592 per vehicle-mile according to AAA is adjusted by the 1.57 passengers/car reported by DOE.  The 1.57 Load is also applied to JPods costs of $0.04 per vehicle-mile. Example Ton-mile per gallon calculations (link):

10X is required to drive a paradigm shift

Cost Typical JPods Times Better Background
Capital cost of light rail $202 million/mile $20 million/mile 10X $million per mile to build (light rail verses JPods)
Capital costs of newcar ownership. $10,728 0 10X JPods provide Mobility As a Service.
Cents per vehicle mile traveled. 63.74¢ .04¢ 10X Graph above is per passenger-mile using government estimation of 1.57 people per car.
Traffic accident costsper American per year $1,035 $0.00 10X Morgantown’s PRT has had 5 minor injuries in 50 years. Roads have 4.5 million injuries per year.
Road injuries permillion people per year 11,200 0.9 to 3.4 10X Injuries per million using US DOT regulations versus ASTM F24 regulations.
Human Factors
Access Afford cars 8 ys and older 6X % that cannot drive/operate, under 5 years old
Congestion 48 5 10X Hours lost to congestion each year
Capacity, Cars 4800 28,000 6X *4 seats every 3 seconds for cars and .5 seconds for JPods
Capacity, Bus 600 28,000 10X *Busfive minutes apart with 50 seats verses JPods
Capacity, Trains 1200 28,000 10X *Trains 10 min apart with 200 seats verses JPods
*JPods can have multiple rails is same right of way
Pollution per passenger-mile ~.5 pound 0 10X See graph above converted from energy required per passenger-mile.
Land Use  2,642 29 10X Square feet per vehicle
Defense 492 billion Self-reliance 10X 1% the estimated cost of Iraq War
Trade Deficit 584 billion Self-reliance 10X 2006 Trade Deficit for cars and oil
Currency Value Cause Self-reliance 10X Foreign oil addiction weakens the dollar
Peak Oil Cause Self-reliance 10X US Peak Oil was in 1970
Climate Change Cause Self-reliance 10X Mobility within a solar budget

Cost of Traffic

Yet Americans spend $2.76 trillion/year to sit in traffic jams and wait for mass transit.

Family Car Costs

Each car:


  • Even in the cheapest areas, fares now cost $2 per mile or more. In El Paso, Texas trips averaged $2.10 per mile in 2023 dollars, making it the most affordable U.S. city for Uber passengers, according to research by Netcredit. Detroit took a close second at $2.11.
  • However, fares ran higher in larger urban centers, especially northern ones. Riders paid $2.56 per mile in 2023 dollars in Los Angeles, $4.32 in New York City, and $3.25 in San Francisco.

Injury Rates per Million

Injury rates per million people (details):
  • 11,200 serious injuries per million people on roads using DOT standards.
  • 3.7 injuries per million on theme park thrill rides using ASTM International F24 standards.
    • Morgantown PRT has had 5 minor injuries since President Nixon sent his daughter Tricia to open this first grade-separated network of self-driving cars in 1972.
    • Wuppertal suspended train (grade-separated) had one fatal incident since it opened in 1901.

Life Requires Energy, Disposable Energy

Disposable Energy measures how much energy people can buy with their take-home-pay. How much energy can people afford to pursuit happiness. How much energy can labor buy to apply to building economic momentum.

Parasitic Energy Ratio

This is a simplified way to measure relative waste of various modes of transportation. Divide the Gross Mass by the Payload Mass and multiply by the number of start-stops on a trip.
  • Gross Mass is the 4,000 pound car or 6,000 pounds of train/bus per passenger plus the 200 pounds of the passenger.
  • Payload Mass is the 200 pounds of the person.
  • 10 or some number of stations or stop light experienced on a trip.
Moving a two tons to move a person in repetitively start-stop traffic is very expensive, wasteful, and polluting Steps to put this metric in personal terms:
  1. Park your car in your driveway empty of gasoline.
  2. Put in one gallon into your tank.
  3. Get 5 of your strongest friends (watt-hours per persons).
  4. Drive until you run out of gas.
  5. Push your car home. It will take you between 3 (very hard working friends) to 7 (normal person) days working 8 hours a day.

Economic Work as measured by Costs per Passenger-mile

The following graph uses MassDOT data to compare cost per passenger-mile and pollution per passenger-mile for various modes of transportation. Solar-powered mobility networks have no operational pollution and much lower cost of operation.
  • Mass transit buses produce more pollution per passenger-mile than cars.
  • Mass transit trains are nearly as polluting as cars.

Net Energy

Economically useful energy per unit of energy required to obtain that energy. Oil used to be 100:1 but has depleted to 3:1. Solar is 25:1 for wind and 20:1 for photovoltaics. Very good 18 minute summary of Energy Economics.  Candidates and policies that support improved Net Energy will create jobs from surplus energy.

Energy Security

Life requires energy. Risks to energy supplies are currently not measured. A metric is needed for Thomas Edison was correct when he observed in 1910 that:
“Sunshine is spread out thin and so is electricity. Perhaps they are the same, Sunshine is a form of energy, and the winds and the tides are manifestations of energy.” “Do we use them? Oh, no! We burn up wood and coal, as renters burn up the front fence for fuel. We live like squatters, not as if we owned the property. “There must surely come a time when heat and power will be stored in unlimited quantities in every community, all gathered by natural forces. Electricity ought to be as cheap as oxygen….”

Quality of Service

Food Metrics

A typical person needs about 2,000 food calories, or 2,000 kcal per day with little physical activity. This equates to 2.33 kWh or 1 megawatt-hour per year. People who are physically active it may be significantly higher (30 – 150% more).

Energy Consumption

The typical American uses 88.5 megaWatt-Hours of energy per year. Cutting all energy use 45% would put the average American at 48.7 megaWatt-Hours, or roughly the same as the 47.2 megaWatt-Hours used by the average German.

Economic Work

energy and transportation should thought of aspects of creating and delivering economic value.  The physics definition of work is force applied to mass. The economy is a momentum artifact, a flywheel of labor applying energy to produce, store and distribute energy. Life requires energy.  If I had a choice, money would be back by energy, not debt or gold. Ref:  “Is the technology off the shelf ready?” The technology to power our lives within a solar budget are mundane. If you can ride vertically in an elevator, why should you not be able to go horizontally by similar mechanism? JPods are incredibly simple mechanics and clever software programming. You can see similar technologies:
  • At Kiva Systems ($33 million investment from Bain Capital in mid-2000s and sold themselves to
  • The Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) network built in Morgantown, WV as a solution to the 1973 Oil Embargo has delivered 110 million oil-free, injury-free passenger-miles (link to video, Congressional Office of Technology Assessment study PB-244854, audit and letter from the Mayor of Morgantown).
  • Hyperloop and ET3. Why are governments funding magnetic levitation of a thousand-ton train when a 400 pound pod can be deviated in a vacuum tube and travel using 1/50th the energy.
Metrics for Sustainable Infrastructure are:
  • Disposable Energy
  • Net Energy
  • CO2 per Passenger-mile (per unit of Economic Work)
  • Economic Work, Cost per Passenger-mile (per unit of Economic Work)
  • Parasitic Energy Ratio

Real Estate Consumption versus Green Space Recovery

Gas Prices as Unemployment Forecaster

US Oil Production As Metric of Economic Security

“Energy resources are the reserve account behind currency. The economy can grow as long as there is surplus affordable energy in that account.” Art Berman The energy behind the US dollar is depleting at the rate of 1 million barrel per day per year. The Law of Supply and Demand has been clear since US Peak Oil in 1970. As US oil fields depleted gas prices ratched higher at an average of 7.3% per year, 14.1% since China and India became significant importers in 1998. Note that US Federal debt increased in tandem with oil imports. It is likely gas prices will jump much higher as the dollar loses its monopoly in the world oil-trade. China is to force the Saudis to start trading in the Yuan. To change the energy behind their economies: Changing the lifeblood of American from oil to ingenuity will create millions of jobs, save families a car payment per month. The risk in America is that the crisis of 2008 will repeat by between 2017 and 2020 as gas prices crush jobs. Since Peak Fracking in June 2015 the US has the equivalent of one 1973 Oil Embargo less energy. By 2017 this will be three. It will be a nightmare. Steps to take:
  • Recognize Illicit Energy, dependence on energy outside self-reliance. Federal support for Illicit Energy from foreign oil repeats the Path to War of Federal support for Illicit Energy from slavery.
  • Face the brutal fact that US Peak Oil was in 1970.
  • Leverage transportation as the catalyst for changing energy systems

Transportation, the Catalyst for Changing Energy Systems

Transportation has always been the catalyst for changing energy systems:

  • Paddle a canoe, build a water wheel.

  • Sail a boat, build a windmill.

  • Ride a horse, harness a horse to a plow.

  • Railroads in the 1860s allowed the extraction industries to scale from $100 a barrel for oil to $3.

  • JPods and other solar-powered mobility networks will result in displacing fossil fuels with solar.


Clever Uber youtube of the foolishness of moving people in two-ton boxes. Ad from CSX shows what is known to be practical Transportation as a Service can be provided if access to the airspace over public Right of Ways is governed by the 5X5 Performance Standard of:
  • Exceed efficiency of current approved transport modes by 5 times.
  • Pays 5% of gross transportation revenues for non-exclusive use of Rights of Way.
Uber, Lyft, and urban scooters are just the beginning of how Transportation as a Service will develop.
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