From human-powered mass transit to space elevators . . .
Public transport systems offer many advantages over the personal alternatives when it comes to getting large numbers of people from A to B in style and safety – less congestion, less pollution and lower costs for starters. But while we certainly see plenty of impetus on the personal transport front here at Gizmag, fresh concepts for the future of mass transport don’t seem to enjoy the same level of exposure, despite the fact that many cities around the world are still saddled with public transport infrastructure that’s been in place for over a century. There are some radical plans in the works, however, and the 21st Century will undoubtedly bring with it a raft of people moving projects that redefine our notion of public transport. So just what will be pulling into the station in 50 years time? Read on for our pick of the most tantalizing concepts out there.
1. Superconducting vacuum trains
While fast, frictionless maglev train systems have been operational for decades, they haven’t exactly become ubiquitous – perhaps because of the cost of the systems, or perhaps because there is no compelling need to replace the already widespread and workable conventional railway infrastructure. Either way, the idea is not about to fade from our collective imagination and several maglev of the future concepts have been floated.
The Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) system envisions superconducting maglev trains operating in evacuated tubes at speeds of up to 6,500 km/h (4,039 mph) on international trips – that’s New York to Beijing in two hours! The proponents of this system say that ET3 could be 50 times more efficient than electric cars or trains.
Terraspan goes even further than ultra-efficient mass transport with its vision for a network of superconducting tunnels. As well as providing infrastructure for “Terraspan trains,” this network would also facilitate zero loss transmission of electricity to our homes.
A 500 km/h (310 mph) vacuum train project has also been proposed for Switzerland, but as the Swissmetro site outs it: “So a far-advanced technology of and for the next generation remains in the drawer.”
via Gizmag – Noel McKeegan
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