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I-380 Eco Bus System

 

Do you wake up in the morning dreading your commute to work?

There are too many distracted drivers, commuting delays are on the rise and you cant ignore the environmental impact. Its time to turn the I-380 problem into a safe, relaxing, eco-friendly experience.  We can also convert 1-380 commutes into opportunities to get needed exercise. The goal of this post is to start a conversation about the problem and propose a possible solution.

The Problem:

  • Single-passenger commuter traffic on I-380 grows with economic growth, resulting in:
    • more accidents and commuting delays
    • more carbon greenhouse gasses that impact the earth’s carbon cycle
  • Extra lanes will continuosly need to be added to improve traffic flow, adding to the IA DOT budget
  • Commuting time is wasted time
    • Time away from people we care about, which can become a driving distraction
    • Time that can be used for exercise
    • Time that can be used to do work
  • Commuting adds stress to commuters lives
  • Employers have to pave precious Iowa land for parking which makes flooding more likely

I-380 Eco Bus System – The Solution:

System components and success factors:

  • Commuter loading stations
    • Success Factors:
      • Ample solar and/or wind power for bus charging stations
        • Parking lots/ramps covered with solar PV
        • Super center roofs covered with solar PV
        • Wind turbines where there is enough room
      • Mass transit connections accessibility
      • Commuter and recreational bike route access
      • Bicycle storage so commuters can store their bikes when they arrive at stations
      • Bicycle rental stations for commuters who don’t own a bicycle
      • Locally sourced produce and grocery options near
      • Restaurants, dry cleaning and other service-oriented businesses near
  • Electric buses
    • Success factors
      • Need to be reliable during commuter driving times (5AM – 10AM, 3PM – 7PM)
      • Non-stop routes, metro area stop to metro area stop
      • Need to be secure mobile hot spots so commuters can work/play during their commute
      • Have cameras that capture when drivers drive in the 3rd lane illegally
  • A 3rd lane to I-380 for eco buses and vehicles caring more than 3 passengers
    • Success factors
      • Trucks and passenger vehicles are fined $1,000.00 if caught driving in this lane
      • The speed limit in this lane is increased to 75 mph so commuters get to work faster (rider incentive)
      • The new lane will be the far left lane so it matches how other cities have implemented commuter lanes

Benefits over carbon-fueled buses and light rail

  • Economic – More local stakeholders can be part of a zero emission commuter solution, thus they could advertise how they are part of the solution if they provide funding
    • Insurance companies have a way to remove distracted drivers from I-380
    • Host businesses for loading stations and nearby businesses would gain foot traffic
    • Iowa solar contractors would be put to work building and maintaining solar-powered charging stations at loading stations
    • Commuter loading stations would become demonstrations and marketing channels for Iowa solar contractors
    • Bike shops would gain new customers who may not have purchased bicycles
    • Businesses along bike routes would gain traffic as more commuters start biking back and forth from commuter loading stations
    • Businesses along mas transit routes would gain traffic as more commuters start utilizing mass transit
    • I-380 corridor chamber of commerce teams can differentiate the corridor to attract businesses to the area
  • Economic – Cost savings
    • Stretch the time 1-380 needs to be widened – IA DOT savings
    • Eliminates expenses for fuel, oil and other consumables that carbon-fueled vehicles require
    • Businesses would bid to become loading stations
    • Less accidents on byways for emergency response teams and IA DOT
    • Less traffic patrol – Police Dept. savings
    • Employers can reduce paving expenses and lessen their contribution to flooding events
    • Healthcare savings by commuters through reduced stress and more time to exercise
  • Legal – No need to fight for rail right of ways