A crossbed that combines the mobility of automobiles and the efficiency of rapid-transit systems, StaRRcar may hold the answer to urban-suburban transportation of the furure.
Here’s how it works. A commuter takes from his garage a compact three-seat StaRRcar – rented from an operating company. By inserting a charge into a slot on the dash, he activates the starter and signals a computer center he is on his way.
StaRRcar is then driven conventionally until it reaches the nearest entrance ramp to a guided track. Once on the track, the engine cuts out, and an electrical power pickup takes over. The commuter dials his destination exit, picks up the morning paper while traveling 60 mph and relies on automation for rest. Upon reaching its destination, the car automatically whisks off on a spur track without decelerating – or holding up to other cars.
The inventors, William L. Alden and Martin Gilvar, both of Boston, claim their system “can handle as many people per hour as public transit and 12 times as much as a lane of highway”.