An Appeal to Reason
Auckland is in the unique position of having some of the worst traffic, with possibly the highest per-capita cost in the world to fix it,
if attempted in the traditional manner.
has the reputation for making the biggest mistake in the history of infrastructure projects to solve traffic congestion. Simply put, a projected couple billion-dollar tunnel project wound up taking 20 years and costing $20-billion. It only makes way for 130,000 cars per day from one point to another, ignoring the rest of the traffic and parking problems throughout the city.
Assuming that they were in volume production, it would have cost a tenth as much and taken one tenth the time to simply give away 100,000 Tangos for free. In volume production, the Tango would cost about $10,000 plus a battery with 200 km range for an additional $10,000. Or, the battery could be rented for less than the monthly cost of petrol for a typical car.
Furthermore, giving away Tangos would not have caused any disruption due to construction during those 20 years.
Because it is surrounded by water, and suburbs are spread out over a large area, the current plan to fix the road infrastructure is projected to cost an unthinkable $68-billion over the next 30 years, that will have to be paid back by taxes, tolls, congestion charges, etc. It is predicted that after all of this expense, traffic will only be moving at 1/2 the current speed.
A projected $4.6-billion harbor crossing is just the beginning. It will only move 75,000 cars per day each way, from one specific location to another. Motorway lanes are naturally restricted to 2,000 cars per hour. Traffic engineers know that as you approach this limit, adding 10% more cars drops the average speed to half.
With foresight, Auckland has the ability to avoid a situation that could even dwarf the Boston "Big Dig" as the world's most flagrant infrastructure mistake.
There is an alternative. We are offering a solution that—for an investment (not a cost) of approximately $0.5-billion—will quickly solve traffic and parking problems throughout the Auckland area. It will also significantly reduce oil dependence, pollution, and CO2 production.
Roughly 90% of drivers, 80% of all workers, are single-occupant drivers, and are simply using the wrong tool for the job of commuting. The Tango is the right tool to defeat traffic congestion now and in the future. Further, the production model could
be built in New Zealand, creating the additional benefits of jobs and a growing tax base, and then be exported to the rest of the world.
I believe that Auckland has the greatest chance for improvement, with the least expense, of any city in the world. The Tango is a solution that can make Auckland the world’s greenest and most innovative city.
A View from Above
Please step back for a moment and take birds-eye view of Auckland, forgetting everything that you know. Just look at it with a fresh mind, and view it as if you'd never seen it before.
Now think about the following.
Auckland is made up primarily of suburbs of single-family homes that are spread out, so the vast majority will never have more convenient transport than personal cars. As it is virtually impossible to make other methods as convenient as cars, no significant number of people will give up their cars for commuting.
Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to make sure that those people living in the suburbs don't waste an inordinate amount of time and natural resources getting to work.
There are two solutions:
One, is to build more roads and bridges at a cost of $68 billion over the next 30 years, which may still not get traffic moving and will be extremely disruptive in the construction phase.
Two, is to simply invest $435-million and let the problem dissolve by itself through natural market forces.
The $68 billion option will not solve traffic congestion, will not produce less pollution, and will not help parking. It will leave people in a continuously more and more frustrating commute.
The $435-million solution creates a city that is not so petrol-dependent, frees congestion, and opens up parking, making life easier for everyone.
Rent a Tango for $15 a week
Even if the Tangos were given away for free, the value of increasing lane capacity from 2,000 cars per hour to 4,400 cars per hour is incomparable. The best part of our proposal is that the commuters themselves would pay the bill, as leasing a Tango would only cost them $15 a week (net cost over driving their petrol car). They would pay this small amount to drive to work in a car that is safer than their
full-sized car; faster, as they would no longer have traffic delays; more fun to drive, easier to find parking spaces for, and far less expensive to park.
$15 a week? How can that be?
We propose that the Auckland Council, with the help of central government, purchase 15,000 Tangos that would be built in New Zealand. The price would be $29k each, however, the total amount could be recouped over a 10 year period if they were rented out for $55.00 a week.
The average commute in Auckland is roughly 50 km per day, round trip. The cost for petrol for this daily trip is approximately $10.00. The same trip can be made in an all-electric Tango, that has a 200 km range, for only $2.00, if charged at night during off-peak hours. If only used for commuting, the savings would be $40 a week, leaving a net cost of driving a Tango at only $15.00 a week. The family car would no longer be used for commuting, and would stay in the garage, not using any petrol at all.
What do you think? Would 15,000 of the 60,000 single-occupant Auckland commuters that are jamming up the motorways at peak-time traffic take advantage of this offer? As the Tango can carry two 6'6" adults in tandem, or one adult plus a lot of groceries, briefcases, or other items, would 25% of automotive commuters during peak-time traffic be able to give up the passenger sides of their cars to get traffic moving?
Tangos are also very well suited for car share programs, as almost all users of such programs are single-occupant. Parking too is a huge benefit for these programs. For example, the space in front of the Town Hall southern door on Queen Street, can only hold 4 standard cars. It could comfortably hold 16 Tangos with plenty of room to get in and out of them, as they would be parked perpendicularly, and could be available for council members and/or parking for a car share program.
Project Microcar and Commuter Cars are requesting $1-million for an independent feasibility study. Commuter Cars will furnish Tangos for the study. Most of this $1-million will be spent in New Zealand, paying specialists in the fields of market research, transportation, etc. This could provide the ignition of a program to solve Auckland's traffic problems without cost to government, and only $15.00 a week net cost to commuters, to have free-flowing traffic. It could eliminate the need for most of the $68-billion in future infrastructure, or at least delay it for several decades.
“The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”
“The formulation of the problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be
merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill.”
“If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5
minutes thinking about solutions.”
― Albert Einstein
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