Cedar Rapids Gazette, March 31, 1974, Page 10

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette March 31, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - March 31, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 10A    T,1° Cedar R»Pids Gazette: Sun. Mar. 31, 1974 Personal "Car” In Transit Plan By Dale Kueter Roger Wymore is trying lo steer transportation away from the automobile. By the time his idea is driven past the public reviewing stand, it could be a revolution in mobility or one more notion headed for the junk heap. Wymore already has on paper the concept for a personalized, electric-powered, computer-guided overhead vehicle system which he is convinced will go a long way toward curing the ills of the automobile. “I’m really excited about it,” said Wymore, 43, who teaches mechanical engineering design at Kirkwood Community college, and before that spent seven years with Collins Radio Co. “Even my wife thinks its a good idea,” said Wymore, explaining her loving skepticism for some of his past inventions — like the foot-powered ferris wheel. The Wymore® live at 4612 F avenue NE. His two sons (the Wymores have six children) at Luther college have been talking up their father’s idea with fellow students and professors. “Everyone thinks it’s a great idea, but that it’ll never get past General Motors,” Wymore said. The overhead vehicle system (he calls it OV for short) would consist of an elevated track constructed above present street right-of-way, upon which single-seat vehicles would carry riders nonstop throughout the city. Safe, Reliable Some “The system is quiet, nonpolluting, uses less than a tenth the energy of the average automobile and could easily be the safest, most reliable form of transportation yet devised,” Wymore said. By the end of the year, Wymore hopes to have a fullscale prototype of both the vehicle and a rail section ready for viewing and demonstration. He has written Gov. Robert Ray and Sen. Dick Clark <D-Iowa) about the idea, and is talking to anyone willing to listen. So far, the most interest has been shown by J-TEC Aiijrsc Associates, Inc., he said, a    ° Cedar Rapids firm. It all began last summer for Wymore as he was putting together material for recruiting students to his Kirkwood mechanical engineering design class. “I wanted something to charge up students,” he said. “I try in my design course to come up with some project that can be worked on by a group, something that students might be doing in industry — where they have to cooperate. “I also wanted something unique, something students couldn’t just copy, and something with marketable potential. This energy situation was all around, and finally the idea hit me ” With that, Wymore and his students began to develop the concept, and how it could be adapted to the Cedar Rapids-Marien area. a two-passenger vehicle, and others want at least room for three,” he said. “Rut this brings us back to one of the auto’s faults — too many empty seats.” Overhead trolley systems like Wymore’s have been proposed before, but he says the idea of restricting it to a single-passenger carrying unit is unique. “The more seats in the vehicle, the bigger it must be and more {lower will be required.” For anything to succeed as the descendant of the automobile. it w ill have to be as convenient and efficient as the Detroit monster. Wymore thinks the OV is. He says it conservatively costs $1,000 a year to operate an automobile, figuring fuel, oil, equipment, service, and amortization. If 45,000 cars can be eliminated by the OV system, the annual savings would be $45 million. Wymore has estimated the total cost to the riding public of the OV system in one year would be $30 million. He proposed a fare of ten cents a trip, plus a penny a mile. Hence, a five-mile trip would cost 15 cents. Here’s how it would work: When you’re ready to leave, you dial a telephone number, tell the computer where you want to be picked up, and leave. By the time you get to the loading dock (no more than two blocks from any point in the city), one of the 19.000 carriers is waiting. Next, the passenger would dial five digits to correspond with the number assigned to his destination, and deposit the appropriate change. Or, Wymore is even thinking the fare part could be handled by magnetic credit card. The computer would guide you to your destination and radar sensors would protect you from colliding with another capsule. Wymore said the vehicle would provide safe transportation for young and old; in any type of weather; drunk or sober. “Its users will not have to worry about tires, batteries, oil, gasoline, or parking places.” Three Named To Head Bicentennial Projects l^jtg 'i*    > " r    v The OV wouldn’t eliminate the automobile, but provide an alternate. Remaining autos would continue to use the present street network as would commercial and freight vehicles. While Wymore’s system would not eliminate the need for maintaining the present highway system, he believes it would no longer be necessary to construct new highways. In cities like New York, Wymore envisions a stacking of OV systems to accommodate demand “I’m sure we would eventually see OV systems linking cities.” said Wymore. would be quicker to go by OV.” Wymore admits some of our habits would have to change. You wouldn’t be able to scoop the loop or drag up First avenue with an GV capsule. “You would still have to get the old man’s car for that,” he agreed. Who would be in charge of financing, constructing and maintaining such a system like Wymore’s? He said the OV could be established through granting by the public of a franchise to a utility, similar to bus operations in cities, or it could be operated by a public entity. Figures Income Cost: $63 Million Wymore has designed a $63 million system that would put everyone in the metropolitan area within two blocks of the OV system. It would circulate 15 OOO OV capsules in the city. They would travel an average of 35 mph. take an average of seven minutes for poirit-to-point trip completion, which, said Wymore, means an hourly capacity of 90,000 passengers. “I figure it would replace about half the automobiles in the Cedar Rapids area,” he said. “I suppose nearly everyone would retain at least one car for family outings or trips outside the scope of tin* OV.” ‘ What the OV would replace Is the hundreds of curs that travel throughout the city with just one passenger,” Wymore explained. One of the most frequent criticisms of his OV system, Wymore said, is that the transporting capsule would be designed for only one adult, a maximum of boo pounds. “Some have said it should tx* “Ultimately, we really wouldn't need an airport here except for sport flying. We could take an OV directly to O’Hare, (Chicago) completely computer controlled. In some cases, figuring ground time involved with air travel, it Using the system of a station every two blocks, costing $63 million, Wymore said annual gross income would be $15 million and annual expenses $12 million. After taxes, he computes a 44 percent return on investment for snareholders. Wymore said to construct an OV system which would provide a docking station on every corner would up the construction cost to $190 million. Wymore has included a can- —G*x*ttn Photo bv Tom Merryman opy over his elevated rail to provide protection from the weather, and give support to the trolley system. One of his concerns has been the aesthetics of the OV system. As a result, he has even talked to telephone and light company officials about including utility lines beneath the canopy of the OV system as a means of reducing poles and lines. Wymore has no idea where his transportation idea may lead. He has no agreement with Kirkwood at present covering any financial gain which might accrue from the OV proposal. “I would be happy to have the college share in any financial success which might come,” he said. Wymore’s interest in transportation can perhaps be partially traced to the fact his fa- : ther was a railroader for 45 years. One of the projects he and his students have worked on at Kirkwood was an internal combustion rotary engine. The design was completed, Wymore said, but the lack of money made it impossible to ! construct a prototype. That idea may stay perma- Find World War ll Straggler Pays Off for Japanese Youth By Barry Schlachter TOKYO (AP> — The young Japanese who found World war ll straggler Hiroo Onoda in a Philippine jungle la^.t month has become something of a super-star in Japan And a highly paid one Nor lo, Suzuki, 24, a college dropout who has .spent the past several years visiting Asian and Middle Eastern countries on a shoestring, can now travel in style. Since his return with Onoda Suzuki has been demanding and getting $5,(KW or more for an interview. Japan’s leading literary magazine, Bungei Shunju, said it paid Suzuki “lietween $17,000 and $34 (WO for an illustrated article by him What Suzuki did to become farnou: was to set out for the Philippine island of Lubang in pursuit of the elusive in Indigence officer. He had $1,600 saved from a construction job to finance the trip arid a general idea where Onoda was hiding from occasional sightings by islanders. Suzuki got Onoda to come to him. Quietly and with a minimum of conspicuousness, Suzuki pitched camp in lonely jungle clearings, sat back and waited. Then one day came a call “oy” — Japanese for “hey” — from behind a bush. “Are you Onoda?” asked Suzuki. The onetime imperial army officer snapped to attention and answered with a smart salute. “The war is over,” Suzuki told him. ‘ bor me the war is still on,” replied Onoda, who had spent the past 30 years carrying out an order to wage guerilla war and collect military intelligence He explained to the youth, who knew neither war nor the impor-tance of a commanding general's order, that he needed a rescinding order for him to quit his post. Despite the differences in age and outlook, they became instant friends and spoke long into the night — 15 hours straight Later, Suzuki was to contact! Japanese authorities who would locate Onoda’s immediate superior officer and have new orders issued. The Japanese press has called Suzuki a youthful adventurer, an “unfathomable modern kid,” and a skillful operator Rut Suzuki shrugs it all off and cashes his checks Those Post Cards The post card originated in Austria where it was introduced Oct. I, 1869 Picture post cards became popular by 1899 and were collected as well as mailed ROGER WYMORE, shown at left, holds a wooden model of how the transporting capsule in his overhead vehicle system might look. The Kirkwood Community college mechanical design instructor and his students are about to begin work on a full-scale prototype of the system — which Wymore believes can replace half the automobiles. The adjoining sketch shows how his overhead trolley system would appear in an urban area. ncntly shelved now, for Wymore intends to devote full energy to his OV system. “I’m excited because it saves fuel, air and lives,” he said. Savings Of Oil In fact, he has it figured that if every city of over 2,000 population adopted an OV system, there would be a daily savings of 4.2 million barrels of crude oil. He said it would cut by one-fourth the nation’s consumption of oil. This time his pioneering itch might find soothing fulfillment. Maybe someone will be willing to look at it closer, critique it and adopt it into an undertaking that will more than scratch the surface of solving the automobile’s ills. If necessity is the mother of invention, the factors of safety, energy, pollution and cost in operating an automobile should help give birth to ideas like Wvmore’s. A Marion woman and two Cedar Rapids men were named Saturday to head the three “theme” committees of the Mid-America Bicentennial C ommission. They are Mrs. Russell Prince of Marion; Leo Peiffer, Cedar Rapids architect; and Robert I). Vernon, head of R. D. Vernon Co. Mrs. Prince, formerly Spanish teacher at Prairie and Marion, will head the Horizons ’76 committee. The committee will be involved in projects that will have a lasting impact beyond 1976. Theme of the Horizons’ activity will be "commemorating the past by looking to the future.” Examples of such projects would be the Grainger house which is being made into a historical museum in Marion, the Czech project to develop the Sixteenth avenue area, the city’s Seminole park historical project. Peiffer will head the Heritage Itions become involved in the |project,” Robert M. L. Johnson project director, explained. Ile emphasized that the commission will not be in charge of many of the projects hut will serve as a clearing house and a source of assistance to all groups interested in undertaking special projects and events. “As projects are formulated in each of the theme areas, the chairpersons and other volunteers working with them wall be available to guide and help organizations that suggest activities, “Johnson explained. Easter Egg Hunt Set by Jaycees The Jaycees and Jaycee Wives will sponsor an Easter Egg Hunt for mentally and physically handicapped children Saturday, April 13. The hunt will be from 10:30 a m. to noon at the Daniels park pavilion. The Jaycees are seeking mer-’76 committee which will in- j chants’ contributions for prizes dude such projects as renovat- the hunt. Those interested in ing old buildings, preserving old contributing should call the Jay-records and developing histories cee office at 364-5135. of the area and of organizations. Vernon, long-time chairman /^Qn Regretted Giving of the International Visitors    _ ~,    . D committee of the Cedar Rapids- Pet Turtle in Payment Marion Area Chamber of Com- SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — merce, will be chairman of the A man who always took his tur-Festival USA committee. It will tie with hun was riding a taxi concentrate on specific 1976 ac- when he realized he had forgot-tivities, including the project in- ten his money. So the taxi dicated in the commission's driver took the turtle. But life overall slogan, “Invite the without his pet Jurema became World To Visit Mid-America in unbearable for Marion Muniz 1976.”    Barreto, 21, and he went to the The Festival activities also police ami pled for help to will include such events as spe- find the turtle because he cial Cedar Rapids Symphony “could not live without it.” Po-and Community Theater pro- lice said it would be a difficult grams as well as other bicen case because there were so few tennial-centered presentations, clues. “Actually, hundreds of people    ---- will be working on projects as Looking tor more storage these three develop their com-space? Sell your don’t needs mittees and as other organize-with a want ad. IN CEDAR. RAPIDS ARE RIGHT ON TARGET. I mm • J    n. THE CAR WITH A FAMILY PLAN. DODGE CORONET Our Coronets give you family-sized room without putting the squeeze on your budget. We believe few cars offer you Coronet’s rare combination of good looks and mid-sized practicality. But judge for yourself. Come in. Try a Coronet "on” the members of your family. They’ll like the room, and you’ll like the: • front disc brakes • four-door convenience • 318 V8 • big 19.1 cubic feet of trunk space • Electronic Ignition. Dodge CHRYSLER •Mw* AUTHORIZED DEALERS SEE THE DODGE BOYS FOR GREAT BUYS IN USED Dodge chrysler AUJHORI/tD DIMERS handlers Phone 363-3521 Corner Second Avenue and 8th Street SE BOYS CARS, TOO! • DODGE • SUBARU • imperial • CHRYSLER • DODGE TRUCKS ;

  • Barry Schlachter
  • Dick Clark
  • Hiroo Onoda
  • Jaycee Wives
  • Leo Peiffer
  • Marion Muniz
  • Robert M. L. Johnson
  • Robert Ray
  • Russell Prince
  • Tom Merryman

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: March 31, 1974

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