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2060 Travel

When the going gets tough, the tough catch the bus.
 
- London Transport Corporation Ad Campaign (2056)


Overview

On a global basis, the various methods of travel used in the Sixth world are still the same as were used in the twentieth century, with a few notable advances in technology. With mankinds expansion into space, various new technologies previously used only in military or space applications have become widespread, such as dikoted windscreens (no longer made of laminated glass), and Semiballistic planes/spacecraft. The various transports used can be split into three basic types:

Air

During the 21st century air travel had a rocky ride. Although the total number of passengers per year increased steadily up to the Crash of '29; the chaos and confusion this caused in the western worlds advanced matrix based traffic control systems led to several crashes, the worst being a midair collision between a passenger aircraft and a cargo zeppelin over the SX Overspill in the UK, the wreckage landing in several suburban areas, causing great loss of life. Various airborne methods of transport are now used, the main four being traditional aircraft (jets or propellor driven), zeppelins, ekranoplans and semiballistics.

Planes and Helicopters

Planes have improved in a number of ways, these include advanced noise reduction systems on jet and turboprop aircraft, which allow them to be landed at night at airports which were previously restricted during the night.

Border Crossing

Crossing borders by air is no problem, if it is done legally. If a lone runner is trying to get across a border by air there are a few options; hiding, hang-glider, light aircraft, or fast-jet.
Hiding on board a cargo or passenger is a safe way of travelling across borders, but it is hard to stay hidden upon landing. Some runners have tried hiding in the wheel bay, and then jumping out when the wheels come down, relying on cyberware or magic to take the fall. This doesn't often work. Hiding within a cargo zeppelin is probably the best hiding method, as zepellins carry so much cargo that not all crates are searched thoroughly. The main disadvantage with zeps are that they take quite a long time to make their journeys.
Hang-glider is a good way, although slow. The small radar signature of a glider makes it less likely to be detected by older radars, and the slow speed means it has a chance of being squelched from operators radar displays on newer radars. Another advantage of a glider is that it is easy to disassemble and hide once the border is crossed.
Light aircraft or microlights are good for crossing borders, as they are easy to find, and a good pilot can land them almost anywhere. The slow speeds of light aircraft mean that they can be flown at extremely low level by any half-decent pilot with a VCR, which helps avoid radar. There is a much greater chance of being detected by radar, and arrangements need to be made for the getaway after landing.
Fast jet is not a subtle way of crossing borders. The idea behind a fast jet crossing is to blast across the border and into the country before the defence network comes to full alert. Again, flying low helps avoid detection, but a good pilot is needed if this is being done anywhere above 500 knots. There are many disadvantages to this approach, some being that a paved runway is often needed (unless flying in a VTOL aircraft), and as high speed is needed on entry into the country, an accelerating aircraft passing mach 1 is often noticed on radar displays.

Land

Land transport is similar to that used in the 20th century, although the support features within vehicles have increased dramatically, for example the simple parking aids and cruise control type computers have advanced into fully functional collision detection, crash avoidance and route following autopilots. Geneva has a fully automatic taxi system, where the passenger merely says where they wish to travel, insert their credstick, and the taxi drives to the location, avoiding traffic jams, high crime areas and any other area specified by the taxi firm. As congestion in cities rose to intolerable levels, many various new traffic calming/reducing schemes were tried, among them were the Deep Underground and Maglev systems. Bicycles have become extremely popular among wage slaves and other medium level wage earners, as the parking fees for cars have rose tremendously, and the new superconducting electrical motors have made small electric bikes economically viable, and light enough to carry up stairs easily (always handy when your office is on the 100 th floor, and security won't let you take your bike in the lift).

Train

Trains are used mainly for cargo carrying within nations. International rail networks are patchy, as some countries have rebuilt a lot of old track, and made it into Maglev routes, the longest Maglev route at present is the Pacific Coast route, where the Maglev line stretches all the way from Vancouver in the north, through to Panama in the south.

Border crossing

Crossing borders on a train is often an easy way for runners to bypass security. Generally, if the train is not going to stop in the country being passed through, then no security checks will be made after crossing, meaning that a cunning runner can jump off once over the border. Not all countries do this, Aztlan in particular take great care in searching every person and compartment on any train entering their country.

Sea

Sea travel is still the slow speed method of tranporting goods from continent to continent. The gigantic supertankers plying the waves bear only a passing resemblance to the supertankers in use at the end of the last century. Because of the risk of piracy, and stricter anti-pollution laws in many countries, tankers tend to be double hulled (The crude oil is stored in tanks within the hull, as opposed to just having the hull plating between it and the sea) and quite heavily armed. Most tankers now have a trained gun crew, with two or three heavy machine guns placed above decks, and sometimes a small missile launcher. Other ships with expensive or potentially hazardous cargoes (such as depleted uranium carriers) are extremely well armed, they also tend to be capable of high speeds, and the captains are trained in techniques to repel boarders.

This page was written by Matt Wilshin. Any feedback appreciated.


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