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Improved freight transit Printer Friendly Version
This idea is directed at the USA but might have application elsewhere.
I am proposing an idea to our government to promote the creation of a nationwide, privately run, rail shipping system that could significantly affect the energy cost and number of interstate trucks. The idea is a cross between the Interstate highways and Federal Express. The infrastructure would be developed and paid for by both the federal and local governments just as the Highways were. Initially it would only connect major transport hubs. Over time it would be extended to cover the same sites our current interstate system covers, possibly by using land contiguous with the highways. A major rail yard being set up outside each transport hub. The trains would only carry truck trailers that would be picked up at the rail yard and delivered to their final destination.
Where the Fed Ex idea comes in would be in the charter under which the schedules were run. Trains would leave on-time, whether fully loaded or not. Delivery at the rail yard would be guaranteed by the private firm running the system. This private firm would gain the concession to run the service by bid from the Federal government. They would be held to their schedules, rates and penalties by the terms of their contract and federal law, the ultimate penalty being loss of the concession and a fine. Payment for the concession would be used for repayment of the construction costs. Private trucking firms would supply the delivery to final destination and from source to the rail yard.
I suggest this idea for two reasons, although it may have several others. After talking with some friends who were truckers but have left the business, I found they were driven out by rising fuel costs and flat charge rates. The rates set by the major trucking firms make it impossible for small contractors to compete. This is the way capitalism works and eventually, when the competition is reduced, rates will rise again. This proposal would reduce the amount of fuel used for long distance transportation while overcoming the chief objection to rail transport, untimely delivery. Secondarily, it would decrease the number of heavy trucks on the interstates which would increase the safety and structural life of those roadways. I would appreciate your thoughts both on the feasibility of the idea and a method of presentation that might gain some considered thought by our government.
Reward: Fewer trucks on the Interstate and less air polution. 

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 New Zealand
Sun Glare Printer Friendly Version
I have been sitting on this idea for a while now. I emailed the below letter to BMW’s online innovation website, but unfortunately they responded many months later with: “We have evaluated your proposal and unfortunately have to inform you that we do not see any possibility of implementing your idea.” Oh well. So here I give my idea to you. Any advancements or improvements let me know.
It seems no matter what a driver does, sun glare continues to make driving difficult. At one time or another we’ve all gone through the routine of trying to avoid the sun’s glare while driving, and we know that driving and sun glare can be a deadly mixture. Poor visibility due to sun glare is the suspected cause of many motor vehicle accidents. Of those surveyed, 97 percent said that they had experienced sun strike during driving. Several ways to reduce the affects of sun glare are listed below.
• Make sure your windshield is free of pits and is clean, not only on the outside but also free of any inside film.
• Be sure to carry a good pair of sunglasses to provide some shade.
• Anticipate slowing traffic ahead of you. Adjust your speed so that you're not suddenly reacting to a slowdown.
• If you do suddenly become blinded by sun, don't slam on your breaks. Instead, let off the accelerator and slow down gradually.
• If at all possible, try to avoid the sunrise or sunset time frame. Leave early or later.
These methods help reduce the sun strike, but are not always convenient for the driver. One new innovative way to reduce the effects of glare is the tint the windscreen using LCD (or similar) technology. The windscreen could be made up many pixels which will only darken in the areas necessary. In other words the darkened pixels will cast a shadow of the drivers and passengers faces, thus blocking the sun and allowing them to still see the road.
To achieve this two main pieces of information are needed. These are the position of the sun in the sky relative to the car as well as the position of the people heads inside the car. These are both quite simple to do.
Some modern airbag designs get input from ultrasonic sensors around in the cars cabin as to location of the occupants. This gives the airbag the information needed on how much to deploy. This same technology could be used for finding the position of the occupant’s heads.
Finding the position of the sun could be achieved with a small, inexpensive black and white camera. The camera could be positioned out of the way, in one of the head lights. With the aid of software the position of the bright object (in this case the sun) could be located. The camera could also detect the intensity of the light and adjust the contrast of the pixels accordingly.
Software would then put all the information together and tint the windscreen in the appropriate places.
Having this technology in a car would give rise to several advantages.
• You could do away with the sun visor, making the inside of the car smoother.
• The whole windscreen could tint slightly when driving in snow to help reduce the overall brightness.
• When the car is parked up, the windscreen could darken, which would protect the interior from the sun as well making the inside of the car cooler.
• Increased safety because of information the airbags receive.
This is a basic overview of this concept. If you have any further questions please to not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your time.

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