Can cities reduce traffic congestion and emissions with a private transit network?
The best way to describe JPods, a new form of public transit soon to be tested in New Jersey, is “something out of the Jetsons.” At least that’s how one city official described the solar-powered pods, which are a combination of light rail and self-driving car suspended above roads. Imagine something like a ski lift running above our existing streets and you’re getting close to the right mental image.
But there’s one sticking point: The JPods are a private transit system. Will investors be willing to fund a network of pods that compete with light rail, buses, subways, and other current public transit options? And if the capital was there, would municipal governments let this happen?
More than 30,000 drivers from London, Paris, Madrid, and Berlin have blocked access to airports, shopping districts, and tourist centers, hoping the demonstrations will convince regulators to apply stricter rules to Uber. The biggest turnout is in London, with an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 drivers of black cabs and private hire cars converging on Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, snarling traffic in a "go-slow protest."
On the other side of the globe, taxi drivers in Rio de Janeiro are also disrupting traffic to protest Uber ahead of the World Cup.
Getting around San Francisco just got easier, at least if you don’t mind a little bit of wind in your face. The Scoot Network and its fleet of electric-powered scooters just announced that it was expanding, adding five new locations for riders around the city for a grand total of 17 Scoot hubs.
What is Scoot, exactly? Think a CitiBike or ZipCar membership but for green-friendly, Vespa-like mopeds. Since launching 16 months ago, Scoot claims its members have treaded over 50,000 miles, and have kept 62,000 pounds of CO2 out of the environment.
Little pods that shoot you from your door to major transit hubs are a staple of science fiction, and plans to make them reality have often failed. But a new venture in India aims to be the first fully operation PRT system in the world.
We might have planes, trains, and automobiles, but nature has a monopoly on creatures that can move around as quickly and efficiently as possible. Now everyone from car designers to city planners are looking to the natural world for inspiration in better ways of getting us from point A to point B.