(Frequently Asked Questions)
What is the TriTrack?
What is the TriTrack?
The TriTrack is a dual-mode electric car. Dual-mode means it can drive both on the ground and on an elevated guideway. It is a personal car that you purchase and keep in your own garage.
How many people does it hold?
A TriTrack car will hold up to four 180 pound passengers, or the weight equivalent. The interior has two comfortable bench seats.
How fast does it go?
On the ground, the TriTrack is governed down to 25 mph, legally classifying it as a Neighborhood Vehicle. On the guideway, it will speed up to 180 mph. By moving quickly, you can get across town and do what you need to do in a reasonable amount of time.
Isn't 180 mph dangerous?
In a standard car, driving on the ground, yes, 180 mph is very dangerous.
However, while on the guideway, the TriTrack is computer controlled. Computers
ensure that everyone on the track is moving at the same speed, and if one car
fails, all other cars will instantly react to avoid a collision in concert.
The car is held onto the track in all directions and there is no way for it to
come off. The safety record of monorails is incredible compared to that of
highways, and there will actually be many fewer fatalities with the TriTrack
Why does it have to be that fast?
Some people are nervous that higher speeds are too dangerous, but that is mainly only true on the ground. The real reason for the speed is the increased capacity of the system at the same cost. As cities grow and more and more people need to get across town, the transportation infrastructure needs to grow at the same time. Each guideway has the capability of moving 9,000 people per hour, equivalent to 3 highway lanes.
What about merging? Doesn't that complicate things too much?
The only merging that the TriTrack does is on the ground. The car can only get on the guideway at the beginning and only get off at the end, and there are always multiple lanes of guideway for each line on the grid. Each lane is a different length, and the driver gets on the correct length guideway for where they want to go.
How do I know which guideway to drive onto?
When you get in your car you have two options:
How do you turn?
At 180 mph, you would need a 3 mile turning radius to make a comfortable turn because of the centrifugal force. In a TriTrack, you come down off the guideway, then get on a new guideway going the other direction. The guideways are at two different heights. One direction (i.e. North-South) will be at 17ft, and the other (East-West) will be 23ft. This eliminates intersections and lowers your risk of collisions.
What if someone doesn't drive onto the guideway just right? Is there any room for error?
There is a dedicated Merge Zone on the ground for transitioning from existing streets to the guideway. Once the driver crosses into the border of this merge zone, computer control takes over and accurately steers and speeds you to the guideway.
What powers the TriTrack?
There are actually 4 different Power Modes:
What sort of range does the TriTrack have?
Because the car picks up a fully charged battery pack with each hop, the range is virtually limitless. The grid is spaced ½ - 2 miles apart, so the most you would ever have go on the ground would be half the grid spacing. If you wanted to drive a TriTrack to a place that doesn't have a grid installed yet, you can convert it to a hybrid by attaching a trailer.
What if there aren't enough battery mules at the end of the guideway?
-There are several answers to this question:
How much does it cost to buy/drive? Is it expensive?
It costs about half as much as a traditional car to drive. According to AAA,
the average cost of driving a new car in 2003, which includes depreciation of
the car, financing, maintenance, gas, etc, is $.56/mile plus any tolls for
driving on toll roads. The equivalent cost of driving a TriTrack is $.31/mile
which includes a $.035 per mile surcharge for building the guideways. In 5
years, this $.035 would pay for the full cost of installing a grid in Austin.
How will you get the land for the guideway grid?
The guideways are elevated, which means they can be put in place on top of existing right of way that is underutilized. The piers that support the guideway each take up only 1 sq ft of ground space.
Who is going to pay for/build the infrastructure?
-The city and state who currently build roads and highways would build the
guideways. The guideway is fast and inexpensive to construct. With the
TriTracker, guideway can be extruded on site at a speed of 3 mph, and the cost
is $150,000/mile. For comparison, standard highways cost upwards of 10 times
How long has the TriTrack been around?
The car has been in the development phase since the first oil embargo. We really started focusing on it in the past 5 years, and we've been promoting it for the past 2 years.
Are there any cars in production yet?
We have built a full body shell that has been tested for strength, weight and corrosion resistance, and we have a 1/8th scale model for display. We expect to have a functioning prototype within a year from receiving funding, and cars for sale to the public within 4-5 years.
How much funding do we need?
In order to build a full scale functioning prototype car and 3000ft test track, we will need $1 million. We are currently looking for personal investors and/or corporate sponsors who can help with some or all of that amount.
What keeps the TriTrack from falling off the Guideway?
6 wheels grab on all 3 sides of the guideway, both in the front and back of the car. In addition, the body shell of the car wraps around the guideway so that if the wheels break off, the car will still not be able to come off the guideway.
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