Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Fast, Cheap, Simple Evacuations

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It seems to me that you could decrease the load on the highways if you were to use the railroads and a cheap version of an extra big commuter train.

Gondola cars are normally used to transport bulk goods, but, with a bit of plywood, 4 x 4's and plenty of mattresses they could be modified to carry people in an emergency. Simply divide up the area within the car such that in the event of a sudden stop or start, only one person would be thrown into the mattress in a given sector of a gondola car. The necessary supplies for the modification could be stockpiled near big railroad yards. The mattress could be ones otherwise headed for landfills.

This should speed up the evacuation process, as the cars can be prepped out of harm's way, and 100 cars each holding 100 people could move 10,000 people in 2 hours to at least 100 miles away from the disaster. This means 10,000 people every four hours for each train so set up. Ten such trains could evacuate a city of 1/2 million in less than 24 hours.

What do I have to do to call this concept to the attention of Homeland Security and FEMA ? Of course, since they didn't think of it first, and I'm, well, not a very good Republican, they'll probably reject it out of hand, as "not invented here."

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