Taxi of the Future or Light-rail Replacement?
- From: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20020225/lf/science_travel_dc_1.html
British Travel Pod Makes Science Fantasy a Fact
By Toni Vorobyova
LONDON (Reuters) - A shiny white pod that began road tests this month may
well be the taxi of the future.
The pod, known as ULTra -- Urban Light Transport -- could make driver-free
transport a reality and not just the stuff of futuristic fantasy.
``It will be the first in the world,'' said Richard Treychenne, director of
business development at ULTra's makers, Advanced Transport Systems Limited.
The pod -- which seats up to four passengers -- is the brainchild of Bristol
University's Martin Lowson, who is no stranger to making science fiction
dreams come true. His past projects include the Apollo Moon-landing program
in the United States.
Wherever possible, ULTra will run along the ground, but some routes might
require tracks to be raised on pillars above roads, creating a truly
The first stage of the ULTra project will have 30 pods circling the Cardiff
Bay area in Wales by 2004 if all goes according to plan, Treychenne said.
Next, the pods would move to the center of the Welsh capital.
At a maximum of 25 miles per hour, ULTra may not reach cosmic speeds but
should still speed past cars and buses stuck in traffic.
The battery-powered pods will operate on a single five foot track -- less
than half the width of a single lane of road -- and recharge at every stop
to keep their energy levels topped up.
Resistant to vandalism, snow, rain and ice, the vehicles will be designed to
stop automatically if they sense an object in their path.
[Con't at URL]
- =v= Just PRT with another name.
> Wherever possible, ULTra will run along the ground, but=v= Yeah, like the "futuristic" El line in Chicago.
> some routes might require tracks to be raised on pillars
> above roads, creating a truly futuristic look.
- Jym replied:
>=v= Just PRT with another name.It's important to hit this head-on. Most promoters of
>> Wherever possible, ULTra will run along the ground, but
>> some routes might require tracks to be raised on pillars
>> above roads, creating a truly futuristic look.
>=v= Yeah, like the "futuristic" El line in Chicago.
new transit modes want to put them up in the sky. They
realize that you can't have driverless vehicles at
grade level (except in limited-access areas, maybe),
and it costs too much to build their low-capacity systems
underground, so the only option they see is in the air.
Really, we've had enough experience with elevated systems
NEVER to build one in a city again. Ask anyone who ever
lived near one. Go look underneath the ones that still
exist (most have been torn down). It's a disaster not to
be repeated. Putting the things on rubber tires only helps
(not solves) the noise problem. Nothing fixes the visual
- Jym Dyer wrote:
> =v= Yeah, like the "futuristic" El line in Chicago.It's soo quiet!
-- mark at geekhive dot net --