Thinking more about this post and letting my mind wander.
If LRT is like an elevator, what is the car equivalent of vertical transportation? I picture a number of steel cables running vertically through the floors of a building. Individuals would be responsible for the purchase, financing and maintenance of their own backpack-based “personal elevator” which would pull them up and down the cables. They could control the speed, which of course would be dependent on whether one purchased the high performance model, or the discount model from Costco. Of course they would be gas-powered.
Of course, the real beauty of the backpack elevator is the freedom. Unchained from the “commie box”, as the old elevators will soon come to be called, individuals will travel up and down whenever they want, not at a time specified by building owners or calculated to maximize efficiency. The cables (vertical highways) will eventually be placed all throughout the building, maybe one every ten square feet, in order to maximize freedom of choice and movement. A lot of usable space would be lost, but buildings will just grow taller to compensate.
Cities will require building owners to require acres of backpack elevator storage on each floor, free to backpack owners, but paid for regressively, through lower wages and higher goods prices.
Horrible congestion will result at the most popular cables, but the engineers will promise new thicker cables that will hold more backpacks and allow faster travel. Vertical travel deaths will go from near zero to the hundreds of thousands, but many people will be put back to work in the flourishing helmet and steel-toed boot industries. Architects will begin designing building without stairways and traditional elevators, thus further cementing the backpack elevators dominance as a vertical transportation mode. Giant new ventilation systems will need to be built in buildings to siphon exhaust fumes.
Randall O’Toole, I’ve got a new campaign for you: let’s ban the sweaty communal elevator from America’s public buildings. The result can only be increased freedom and economic prosperity.