The Big Fleet

The ultimate goal of this undertaking

The ultimate goal of this undertaking is the widest proliferation possible, the soonest, of the most environmental, healthy, unique, beautiful, and practical, human/solar/electric-powered vehicles. Some of these would be for-hire, passenger, and wheelchair-carrying models. Others would be intended for personal use, and still, others designed to be used, primarily, to move goods. All of this is most suitable for dense urban environments since their speed would need to be limited, to maximize their safety for users and others. Making them no larger than they need to be, will permit more valuable space to be provided on often congested and crowded streets.

The expectation is, that as the public becomes completely comfortable with this needed transformation, the continuous acceleration of the process to replace the existing system, with one that is so much better, is assured. The durability of the objects produced must be of dependable and remarkably high quality. Their popularity, and the pleasure they provide, will make certain that nobody even pretends that they miss the old, deep-fake “ideal” system, that we had been convinced was our only alternative.

There is not enough room for the unlimited multitude of enormous trucks, buses, limos, delivery trucks, and private automobiles that jam urban spaces everywhere currently. Even if many of them were essential to our survival, they deny, rather than affirm, life. Adding fees has had a minimal influence on the volume of traffic. Even if some provide for needed services, while also representing a huge investment by their owners, they are, by and large, alienating, dangerous, bullying, toxic, homely, oversized, and out-of-place. To an infantilized population, all that activity may be fascinating and titillating, but the insanity of it is drowned out by its sheer volume and the zombie-like acceptance of all of this by the masses, propelled by media, all of which are addicted to the income earned by pushing consumerism.

The amount of time being wasted, the out-of-proportion helpings of food, and continuous noise, meld together and help to justify one another, to convince us that this is the only way. The disorientation that is the ordinary response to overloads of change, is to be expected. AI and the Pandemic are not just moving the goalposts, they are moving the poles. Horse stable owners at the turn of the last Century had the same problem. One had to do with sanitation, which biology rendered unsolvable. The other crisis had to do with the rapid increase in the scale of everything. Three-story buildings turned into 13, then 30, now 100+ stories. The success of cities is based on their ability to grow infinitely, giant black holes swallowing nearby stars, appearing to be inevitable. Unfortunately, this can fail to take into account the effect of all this change on ordinary people

Now that the effects of our common lifestyles are revealed to have been earned at the expense of the possibility of risking our survival on this planet, while also making an infinite number of other people miserable, recognition of the extreme danger that this distressing realization affords, is much closer. The remedies being offered to provide relief for this serious malady are very few and most are without sufficient effect to offer any hope of avoiding the worst of the looming alternative disasters. If the forests continue to burn, floods and droughts multiply, and the permafrost delivers enough methane to poison our atmosphere and render it unsurvivable, will the raising of MPGs by 2050 really matter? Even if it were 2040 or even 2030, this is the use of an umbrella in a hurricane. If there is a remedy here, it is going to have to arise out of the desperation of those many who realize the gravity of our situation and decide to devote some portion of their energies to meeting this serious challenge to our very existence.

There needs to be a wholesale re-evaluation of many aspects of our society, such as food, but the most pressing one is transportation, with its dramatic effect upon our climate crisis. Soon, a fortune will be spent upgrading some transportation facilities, but almost all of it will be an effort to fortify existing bad habits while comforting the voting population that they will not tumble off their bridge any time soon. The amount devoted to supporting meaningful change in our behavior, that might provide us with some relief from the onrushing catastrophe that we are facing, will be minimal. There is no lobbying group with any major influence, that is asking the public to give anything up. That is not how you gain people’s support.

For that reason, the idea of generating an entirely new urban transportation system, based on a lightweight, human, and solar/electric power, and, most importantly, creative energy, is so important. We are born ingenious but discouraged from employing this faculty or even appreciating it in others. Everything we would ever need is already here, we are told, and our role is merely to be a proper user, if possible by employing no more than a finger or two. We need to be careful that the new medium of virtual reality doesn’t become the final nail in our coffin, as we are convinced to abandon this imperfect plane, for one filled with ersatz majesty and unlimited possibilities, no matter how unreal.

Getting two hands and two feet fully back into the picture at this stage will not be easy. Designing and making things that work, especially at the highest level of the craft, requires serious efforts. Few people have the personal freedom to simply devote themselves to creating something, no matter how important it might be, and neglect their other responsibilities. Help has to be found to provide some assistance to those endeavoring to do this. This project needs a framework, to encourage the artists, engineers, mechanics, and others who can contribute to this process to step forward. Putting up rewards, prizes and the potential for acknowledgment will be needed, to gain attention and motivate participants. This must be done, hopefully, without selling the “branding” opportunity that supporting this project might provide, especially to those with sketchy environmental credentials, who could use this for the purpose of Greenwashing their ordinary activities. That “help” would undoubtedly trivialize this quest, even negate it.

If this all can be financed and promoted by individuals, genuinely interested, preferably smaller, businesses, groups, and relevant non-profits, even enlightened Transit Agencies, it can happen now, in many places at the same time, and be both serious in intent and joyous in spirit. It is notoriously difficult to launch efforts of this magnitude, without the cooperation and financial support of some large entity. The likelihood that it will be misdirected or exploited increases considerably though when there is an “overseer”, especially when the intent of this program is to initiate the widest assortment of designs and approaches, rather than consolidating influence and rewards in any one place. It might be somewhat more difficult to utilize a bottom-up strategy to gain needed support, but this is the same energy direction that a human-powered device like a bike uses, and maybe it should also be the one that propels the movement to expand its growth and impact.