Environment: Big X for the Bay

It all sounds like something thought up by Stanley Kubrick for the movie 2001. The silent central control room houses giant twin computers that send dozens of sleek, 80-m.p.h. silvery aluminum passenger trains slicking sibilantly into stations at intervals as close as 90 seconds. Each train has only one blue-jumpsuit-clad attendant, and he allows computers to run the controls except in the event of an emergency. Even tickets are sold (in amounts up to $20) by machine. The buyer inserts coins or bills; after an electronic eye scans them, the machine gives forth a credit-card-sized ticket. Thereafter, the passenger merely enters...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!