How do mass transit, automobiles, and SkyTran compare in their effective social properties?
|SPEND TIME (indiv.)
|wait/ride with strangers
|alone + at destination
|SPEND TIME (family)
|together with strangers
|in pairs + at destination
Instead of spending time waiting with strangers or attending to the job of driving, you can work or make phone calls while riding !SkyTran. A family riding together will be in separate cars linked by video, which is less immediate and social -- but they will have much more time at home and their destination.
Both mass transit and SkyTran tend to produce clustering along the transport lines, because once you exit the line you are much less mobile (unless you park a car in the station). However because !SkyTran lines and stops are much cheaper and less disruptive to install, they will spread more widely and produce a fairly even distribution at a large scale. Automobiles encourage even development at both scales. Because you can drive all the way into your garage; it doesn't matter exactly where it is. One positive result for suburbs may be a preference for "smart growth" villages or strips of dense housing along SkyTran lines with open space in between, rather than the continuous carpet of subdivisions automobiles encourage.
A bidirectional SkyTran line can carry as many passengers as a 6-lane freeway; yet it is high in the air and nearly silent, supported by just a single row of utility poles every 30 feet (10 meters). You can stroll under it or cross it easily; young children can play without fear. Unlike a freeway, it will not divide neighborhoods or require acres of parking lots in prime areas to handle the cars it brings.