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How would the rules and regulations look like?

Maybe, would there be campaigns to encourage broom travel, as it's pollution free.


Edited after the pointers from the comments:

  • Everyone can own brooms.
  • All the other modes of transport (which are currently available, would be available)
  • The world is just as normal as the present world. Modern day airplanes are not available. The state-of-the-art air travel at that time are Zeppelins
  • Characteristics of the broom: high speeds(similar to that of an average family car) and are difficult to control at high altitudes
  • Brooms are made of wood.
  • No witches. All are normal people. Just that, it is a world where a broom is another mode of travel
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    $\begingroup$ Look to air traffic regulations for inspiration. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Nov 16 '15 at 11:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Dawny33 that's where small private GA planes fly. But those regulations were made with the assumption that few airplanes are in the air at one time in a certain place. $\endgroup$ – ratchet freak Nov 16 '15 at 11:53
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    $\begingroup$ How many brooms? How hard are they to use? What other modes of transportation are available? How old are brooms as a mode of transport? What are the characteristics of this world? For example, you could say that this is our current 2015 world with witches just out of the closet. Anyone can use brooms. Or only witches can use brooms in a world where planes were never discovered--still around 2015. How fast do brooms go? What are their limitations? Please round out your question with these kinds of details. $\endgroup$ – Brythan Nov 16 '15 at 12:06
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    $\begingroup$ Are the brooms all the same size? or are there multi-passenger models? There's a reason OPs are usually huge on this site. $\endgroup$ – n00dles Nov 16 '15 at 12:54
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Urban Planning in 3-Dimensions $\endgroup$ – James Nov 16 '15 at 15:18
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You may find more people taking cars than you expect.

Consider that your broom reminds me lot of a motorcycle. Very fast, no crash zones, and very bad consequences when you do finally hit the pavement.

Accordingly, you may find that broom travel is about as popular as motorcycles are today (about 2.2%), decreasing your traffic issues by about 40 fold.

I would expect to see, at a minimum, the current air traffic approach of using altitude to separate lanes of traffic. One might seek to create a altitude mapping such that you are guaranteed to have 100 vertical feet between individuals going in opposite directions. If you made this mapping smooth, you could ensure we don't see very many dangerous crashes because most interacting individuals were all traveling in the same direction.

As an added bonus, the only legal way to get to your "lane" to go to work would be to spiral upwards, constantly going the "correct" direction for each altitude. I'd think seeing a broom-wielder spiraling upwards cackling maniacally at the poor gridlocked cars below would fit well with the mythos associated with other broom wielders.

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    $\begingroup$ I liked the cackling part. $\endgroup$ – AgapwIesu Nov 16 '15 at 21:48
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It would be grim.

First of all, there would be lots of deaths and severe injuries due to falls, midair collisions in crowded downtown areas, and also countless cases of frostbite due to moving through cold air at high speeds.

Public outrage over the mounting number of victims would steadily climb. Eventually someone would design a glass or plastic windshield, some more comfortable and safer seating (who wants to sit on a long hard stick after all?), better handles to grip and help direct the darn thing, a little screen for GPS, a warming element, windshield wipers, headlights and signaling lights, more seating, a luggage compartment, fly-by-wire steering, automated radio broomtraffic control with computers allocating aerial microcorridors to the millions of broomcar commuters, on-windshield heads-up-displays for easing the hurdle of staying within one's allocated air corridor, automated collision avoidance software for when you veer out of it anyway, airbags and parachute packs for when that too fails...

...Until a few years later it would look like a bladeless helicopter. Eventually, the rich would buy broomcars with 50 broom assemblages that can provide enough magical thrust to quickly launch one into outer space.

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  • $\begingroup$ Clever Serban made me laugh. $\endgroup$ – James Nov 16 '15 at 15:18
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    $\begingroup$ "Mom, why do we call these broomcars?" $\endgroup$ – Rein S Nov 16 '15 at 19:56
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    $\begingroup$ "EVENTUALLY someone would design a glass or plastic windshield"... I think I'd jury rig one before my very first flight. Who wants the extra protein on the way to work? $\endgroup$ – AgapwIesu Nov 16 '15 at 21:50
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    $\begingroup$ @AgapwIesu more likely you'd just wear a helmet. It sounds like a broom is basically a flying motorcycle, so pretty much the same equipment applies. $\endgroup$ – Benubird Nov 17 '15 at 11:52
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I am looking at this problem professionally ... the problem is basically 3D traffic management. There are two basic examples in use today on earth. the Air space controller system for aircraft. and flocks of birds. There would have to be flight pathways and rules established and training as we have in air traffic control. minimum transit altitudes, restricted areas, would have to be marked either as flashing restrictions or electronic highways. in general slower traffic would be at lower altitudes.

Birds navigate independently and as a group, with communication. Geese are a prime example. They take turns, leading a formation. this probably will not work with humans ... too many cowboys. Transponders, and navigation indicators, red= port or left and green= right or starboard. would be an absolute must and traveling with it off must be a serious crime and with serious punishment. violating the rules should result in suspended flight 'privileges'.

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Governments would build infrastructure to support it. In the same way that we allow people to drive 2 ton vehicles with minimal training and minimal local communication on marked roads, broom drivers would be given similar treatment.

As long as everyone follows the rules, then there need be no additional communication.

For instance, you might have 25 foot or 8 meter height divisions. At 0-25 feet you are to travel no faster than 15mph (24kmh) to facilitate landing and takeoff from any location. At 25-50 feet you can only travel within 22.5 degrees of north, at 50-75 north west, 75-100 west, and so forth. To launch you always start north, and then accelerate in a circle as you ascend to the direction you want to travel, and these initial lanes are fairly low speed. Higher lanes are similarly broken up, but with much higher speeds and much more space between differing directions to avoid accidents with people traveling in opposite directions. Minimum speeds will be necessary in all cases, because sight lines won't be very good and a fast moving broom could overtake a slower moving broom too quickly to avoid an accident.

In lighting isn't available, hand signals or simply body positions could be enough. Leaning back to slow, forward to accelerate, tipping the head one way or the other and up and down to indicate a turn and ascending or descending.

Markings on the ground could provide further special notices, lanes, etc. For instance there may be a special height that tracks into the city center in the morning that changes into a track going out of the city center. If you're at that height you need to be aware of the time, and you can only travel directly toward the city, regardless of your current location, during certain times, then cannot use it during a switchover time, then must only use it to travel directly away from the city in the evening.

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Must have - windshield. I have eaten beetles and ants, and believe me, it ain't no picnic. You do not want to be eating (or wearing) that many bugs on your way to a dentist appointment.

Also a must have - altimeter and computer controlled altitude. The computer controlled altitude is government regulated. The computer calculates the altitude as a formula of direction (degrees from true North) and speed, to maintain safe flight altitudes so people going in the same direction and speed are all travelling at the same altitude.

But hackers make a business of bypassing the regulated controls so people can do drag-races down the Grand Canyon, or the Redwood Forest or downtown New York.

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I'm going to make a couple assumptions:

  • Despite being able to fly, brooms have a capacity similar to bicycles
  • Brooms are a popular enough option to warrant some traffic regulation
  • People, for the most part, transport stuff safely, the rest being negligible

Initially brooms would have no regulation since their numbers wouldn't warrant it. After reaching or approaching the point where collisions are a more common concern they probably would adopt the existing regulation for horses, carriages, or cars, similar to how cars share the road with bikers. People would still operate outside the rules now and then, like jaywalking or biking through a park or parking lot as a shortcut, broomriders might skip over a block diagonally, and it would probably receive a bit more attention than its counterparts because of the increase in speed and hazarding.

If society were green, then yes there would definitely be campaigns promoting broomriding as a green form of transportation.

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