Electric Car Road


As soon as he reached cruising speed he took of his seat belt, left his central front control seat, sat in the right rear work seat, then swung it left. The left rear seat had been removed and a work station fitted into that position. The trip was going to take an hour, so, all his phone messagers could be returned. There would be time to check the web site and winnow out the dross. The vehicle check prior to connection allowed time for a rest break with a snack and a drink. He had not used his vehicle for some weeks so a full check had been made. The hundred hour time was nearly up so he permitted the full inspection. He connected the work station to the vehicle inspection log and verified the tyre checks, the refueling the six motors power usage, the slide brush re-newal and the total time the vehicle had been on the trackway.

The amount of ground time to trackway time was less than twenty per cent and he was pleased with that figure. The speed he was traveling at was just less than a fifth of his air car's speed, but that vehicle needed total concentration and a safe place to park and land. There was also the need for tie downs, service and security. As he was on the longest trackway trip, from one side of the metropolis to the other, he had the top shelf, three levels up. The wait for a clear run on the track was less than thirty seconds. The slow climb up to the launch spot took most of that time. Red, yellow green and the sudden acceleration still took him by surprise. One hundred kilometers per hour in just under three seconds, so that at full speed he was thrown forward onto his seat belt. He connected the right side pick-ups to the central power supply, checked the vehicle was running dead true, then disconnected the launch pick-ups on the left hand side. The steering was now locked onto the central spine of the three levels and the speed would not deviate one tenth of a kilometer per hour.

The vehicle was on a completely automatic cycle. The view from the top at seven metres was a different perspective on suburbia. Each level had a roof extending from the track above, except for the top level which had a roof bridging the two opposing tracks. Each track running in the same direction on that side of the central spine. With three tracks each way at one hundred kilometers an hour the traffic carried non-stop was impressive. The central spine had posts far enough into the ground that power companies could run aerial cables above the trackway. Phone links were part of the service and the road adjacent for service also carried water, gas and the new cooled under-ground power lines. The three metre height of the first level allowed a sheltered walk-way and recreation thru-way.

The trackway was based on vehicles with a central front control seat and two seats in the back. Not more than five feet wide with a carbon brush- copper slide feed for electricity. The copper slide was at wheel top level and incorporated a rib for the wheels of the self steering mechanism. The side framing of the trackway shelves shrouded any radio interference of the neighbours electronic equipment. Hydraulics controlled the power feed and steering connection. His phone calls had been returned, a few bills checked and paid,some money investments reviewed and a wonder the we 6 site had a minimum of waste. He left the work station, pivoted the seat front on and went back to the control position. The amount of room each side of this seat gave a good feeling of space. He had by-passed four left hand exits because the power feed and steering were locked to the right hand side so he went right on , straight ahead. The trip was at the eighty kay mark so he had time to admire the scenery and bring his organizer up to date. He phoned ahead to reserve a parking station spot and then verified his meeting was a full house. The last exit before his, had just passed, so he reconnected the left feed and steering. As soon as the green light came on he disconnected the right hand feed. When the power strip went left off the shelf, so would his vehicle and himself.

A chime began counting down to the exit, the fifth louder, signaling an imminent left turn.

He was now on a parellel track to the top shelf and descending. His speed did not decrease until after a hard banked left turn. He was now on a fan shaped ramp, getting wider as it went lower. The feeds had automatically disconnected at the top of the ramp. He had steering and power control at his discretion. With little traffic on the ramp he kept left to enter the parking station. The on board power storage was full from the power feeds and the reduced ground speed gave a good range. With full fuel and storage he could get back to his start, but at ground level speed. The power cost of the trip was on the dash screen, a cheap run.

A thought made him bring up the trip record, he wanted to make sure he had not touched the brake pedal on the down ramp. The three levels of red lights on the vehicle rear, started at the bumper bar. A micro-switch lit those up at a touch of the brake pedal. Pressure lit up the middle level lights and a panic stop the lights on the roof line.

The main problem of the whole system was not to brake on the down ramp but to clear the exit as quickly as possible. The ground area made it easy, so any brake light showing earned a ban from the trackway. As he had not used the trackway for some weeks he wanted to make sure he had not touched the pedal. Better to check now rather than fmd out later. He was in the clear, his training had stood him in good stead, feet on the foot rests.

The last chore, he phoned a booking to re-use the system at a time he was sure he could achieve. He received conformation of minimum vehicle inspection and to enter the top level ramp on arrival. He thanked the controller and logged off.

Copyright © Jack Beresford