Saturday, March 11, 2017

Crisis Relief Mobile Refueling Station

Project Status: Draft


The Problem

When trying to evacuate an entire city, or large areas at once, there are bound to be difficulties in handling the logistics. One problem I see is that once traffic becomes stagnate standing vehicles begin to run out of gas. Once vehicles run out of gas they cause more strain on an already overwhelmed traffic system. This leaves many people stranded, often times in great danger because it likely happened during a natural disaster. These situations always clog the roadways, especially evacuation routes, which is why we should try to do what we can to help traffic flow.

The Idea

If I had the time and the money I would design a fleet of mobile crisis refueling units. I think tanker trucks which already supply fuel to gas stations should be equipped with the proper hoses, nozzles and safety measures to accommodate the dispensing of fuel to individual roadside vehicles. Imagine if traffic was at a standstill during an evacuation and someone was able to supply fuel to needing automobiles from the roadside.

The most difficult obstacles to be considered in making this a reality would be along the lines of safety and feasibility. Designing a refueling unit which is able to both carry a large quantity of fuel and manage the terrain is no simple task.


Safety

There are obvious problems with static electricity, fire suppression systems and defending against the weather itself (iced over roadways or rising winds and precipitation from inbound storms). Each of these will all need to be considered while designing the mobile refueling stations. What if something does go wrong? There must be an automatic cutoff system and an automated fire suppression system.

Feasibility

If you design vehicles that can handle driving on the shoulder of the road in inclement weather conditions with large quantities of fuel, is it still cost effective to use these units on a regular basis or do they sit waiting for their time to shine? Are there already military vehicles for this or a similar purpose that are not used for civilians but could be modified to do so? If they are agile enough to handle the uneven, unstable and narrow terrain they will be squeezed through will they ever be able to hold enough fuel to become useful?


I don't think the standard tanker trucks we have now could do a great job at refueling vehicles in standing traffic on the highways, at least not by passing traffic on the shoulder. However; there are clever ways of better utilizing the roadways so that these tanker trucks, with little modification, could do so.

One way existing tanker trucks could be utilized is by having them drive on the nearly empty side of the highway during an evacuation. This simply means setting them up as a mobile refueling station with much longer hoses in order to reach the far side of the highway.


Summary

I think that providing people with easier access to fuel stations during an active evacuation would help everyone in the situation. Of course this idea is only meant for when traffic has already slowed down to a halt, or almost to one. I should also mention that haven't looked around and have no idea if this is already being done, but if it isn't then someone needs to get on it.

What is a "draft" post?

This post is still in a draft state. Meaning that I have not done any or have done very little research about this topic. It also means that I hope to come back at some point and update the post with clearer descriptions and any applicable graphics related to the clarification of the idea.

I have basically only outlined my rough idea here until a point when I have time to come back and flesh this post out into something more useful to others. I went into a little more detail on another post about why there are so many pipe dream drafts on this blog.

It is notable to mention that the more views this page gets and the more interest it gathers, the more likely I will be to work on it before other drafts on this blog.