THE BLOG
28/10/2013 10:04 GMT | Updated 25/12/2013 05:12 GMT

Getting City Commuters Out of Their Car and Into the Air - SkyTran Is the Future of Urban Transport

Traffic is too heavy. Rush hour is too long. Highways are too narrow and byways too slight. Our roads are congested, backed-up, over-crowded, and bumper to crash-proof bumper... The urban environment as we once knew it is gone.

By Jerry Sanders

Traffic is too heavy. Rush hour is too long. Highways are too narrow and byways too slight. Our roads are congested, backed-up, over-crowded, and bumper to crash-proof bumper...

The urban environment as we once knew it is gone. Most of the world now lives in mega-cities; cities that for one example begin in San Francisco and end 50 kilometers south in San Jose. And commuters in these new urban sprawls typically spend two to three (and sometimes four) nerve racking, stress inducing, non-productive hours each day going back and forth to work. Revealingly, these commuters prefer to spend their commuting time in the privacy of their own car and not in public transportation. Indeed - and despite all government incentives - the overwhelming majority of commuters will not even join a car pool, let alone use one.

A recent study by 2e2, an ICT services company showed that commuting costs UK companies over $4 billion dollars a year. The American Public Transportation Association established that traffic congestion costs the US over $63 billion dollars a year. And according to other recent authoritative studies, German motorists time in traffic leads to the loss of nearly $5 billion dollars a year, while Indian traffic jams and toll plazas cost that nation over $10 billion dollars a year.

These statistics and many others make it clear: if we are going to preserve our ability to move about our cities, alleviate congestion, reduce pollution, and make all of our lives more enjoyable by getting at least some of the commuters out of their cars, we must provide a transportation solution that combines privacy, speed and comfort.

So if we are going to preserve our ability to move about our cities, alleviate congestion, reduce pollution, and make all of our lives more enjoyable by getting at least some of the commuters out of their cars, we must provide a transportation solution that combines privacy, speed and comfort.

Some folks advocate electric busses. But these combine all of public transportation's worst features: they get stuck in surface traffic, follow (and usually miss) their own schedules, and are crowded in rush hour, and empty during the day. Others argue for subways. And, yes, subways do move below the traffic, and are generally convenient. But they are certainly not private. Subways also take a long time to build, and cost a lot of money. How much time and how much money? Well, one mile of New York City's Lexington Avenue line was over 10-years in the making and cost $2 Billion Dollars...

And so we come to SkyTran: elevated, high-speed, low-cost, silent and "green", personal rapid transportation.

  • Elevated: SkyTran flies above the surface traffic and roads. Flies - yes, flies. SkyTran is a unique velocity-based adaptation of passive magnetic levitation. To the uninitiated that means that SkyTran vehicles fly in a self-generated magnetic field using a magnetic wing. And they do so without generating harmful magnetic emissions.
  • High speeds: How does 150 MPH grab you? SkyTran is the only system of its kind that can connect the urban to the suburban to the ex-urban.
  • Low-cost: Less than 1/10 to 1/20th the cost of light rail systems.
  • Silent: As in "whoosh". SkyTran rides on a cushion of air: no rail-on-rail, no rubber on the road.
  • Green: SkyTran vehicles use less than ½ the energy of a hybrid car. And SkyTran returns energy directly into the grid, without resorting to inefficient batteries.
  • Personal: Get in and go. No waiting on bus or train schedules, no stopping at other people's stations, no intrusive commuters reading your emails.

Can SkyTran enable you to get from here to there? We think so. And we welcome you to learn more about us and join us in the campaign for smarter, cheaper, faster, public transportation.

Jerry Sanders is the CEO of SkyTran - Jerry@skytran.us - @skytran

Hear Jerry speak in London on the 4th November at "Smarter Mobility: An evening of debate", which is part of the Switched On series of talks and debates from Intelligence Squared, supported by Shell.

Follow the conversation on #iq2mobility