JPods was started in 1998 by Bill James, a West Point graduate and infantry veteran to end US dependence of foreign oil. At that time it was obvious that oil-wars since 1990 would continue so long as oil-dollars funded the growing capabilities of Islamic terrorists and the US highway network depended on foreign oil. The concept to solve this problem was to combine the efficiency of freight railroads with the on-demand personal service of the Internet, to create the Physical-Internet®.
Radically more efficient and safer transportation networks are well understood. Networks are the key:
- Efficiency: The 140,000 miles of freight railroads in the US average 476 ton-miles per gallon. This is over 130 times the efficiency of moving a ton to move a person on the highway network.
- Safety: The Personal Rapid Transit (PRT or podcar) network built in Morgantown, WV as a solution to the 1973 Oil Embargo has delivered 110 million oil-free, injury-free passenger-miles since opening in 1975. In that same period 1.6 million American were killed on the highway network.
JPods combines and improves on these two types of networks by emphasizeing:
- The Prime Law of Networks. The value of a network increases exponentially based on the number of interconnected nodes. The highway network is more valuable than the freight rail network because it connects more places people and goods are to where they need to go. Typical passenger railroads lose 80 cents of every operating dollar because they do not connect enough points for people to willing pay the full cost of traveling on them. The NYC subway only loses 20 cents per dollar of operating costs because its 31% density is sufficient to attract enough riders at the price. JPods concentrate in networks economic communities were we can exceed 31% network density of moving people and cargo. Examples are:
- Feeder networks and cross connecting existing passenger railroads to increase their value by increasing the number of nodes.
- Airport economic communities, connecting hotels, to terminals, to car rental, to parking, to trains, etc....
- Ports where individual containers can be individually routed between ships and inland trains.
- Packet Size. Free markets clearly demonstrate the car is the right answer for moving people and cargo in a city, 85% of trips in the US are by car, 55% of trips in Europe are by car. But the highway is the WRONG network. The correct size packet for moving people where they which to go is 1 to 4 (maybe 6).
- Energy Self-reliance. To be sustainable the energy to power a mobility must be integrated into it physics. JPods cuts the energy required to move people and goods in cities by 90% and uses the distributed nature of the network to harvest the solar energy to power the network.
- Economic Lifeboats. JPods can build economic lifeboats, durable against rising gasoline prices and supply shock. The lifeboat paradox is that if every community had one, they would not be needed.
JPod's baseline technology was completed in 1999, combining the efficiency of freight rail with the on-demand service of the Internet. Patent #6,810,817 issued in 2004 for the use of distributed, collaborative computer networks that move physical packets, the Physical-Internet®. In 2006, a 20 foot operational demonstration was completed and demonstrated in many cities in the US and Canada. Thousands of people have gotten into that small network, touched the "Home", "Mall", "School", or "Work" buttons and moved up and down the rail to that location. The enthusiam of people was incredible. Instantly many exclaimed "We are going to be the Jetsons", referring to a cartoon where people traveled on-demand without having guide or park their car.
Here in an image from 2014 of a network setup in Atlantis Energy Systems factory in Poughkeepsie, NY.
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