For those of you who have followed this blog for the past year and a half, you might have picked up on a couple of facts about me, your humble blogger. First, that I’m a bit of a transit geek and believe that one of the hallmarks of a world-class city is the extent and accessibility of its public transit system. And second, I grew up on a steady diet of science fiction films and TV.
And when these worlds come together, I get really excited – geekily so. Thanks to one of my favorite green blogs, Inhabitat I discovered a new technology for urban transportation. Getting people out of their cars and minimizing traffic congestion and emissions is becoming a common goal for every urban center across the globe.
But what if we could make it fun, too? Here’s a video about a new technology that moves people – literally, and figuratively – while also redefining the possibilities for what traveling into and out of city centers can mean.
Take a look at the video!
Can you imagine? Flying through a city to get from place to place, and doing so while supporting a system that isn’t sending atmosphere-damaging, respiratory-irritating C02 into the air. My inner kid, who grew up in the 20th century, with visions of life in the 21st century completely and utterly including jetting about with a high-tech backpack , is doing jumping jacks at the very thought.
My work here therefore is shuffling off my dreams of superhero geekhood for a second, to wonder about the practicalities of a system like this. For instance,
- What would the power source be for the batteries?
- What about legal implications where they apply to health and safety of riders?
- What about the insurance implications?
- What about luggage – shopping bags, strollers, small children?
- What about maintenance and the required mechanical expertise?
I’m sure there are other questions that many of you have, too (please list them in the comments section, and let’s talk!).
But, these questions aside I think the idea of having no-car zones is a good one. Cutting down c02 emissions is another. So is extending transit systems right into downtown cores. The technology above would depend on a huge network to cover major city blocks. All questions about the intricacies of the technology aside, I personally think that extensive integration of a public system that runs on clean energy is necessary for the development of modern cities into our century.
And this is the common denominator, this idea of full integration – between research and execution of new technologies, between system administration and city planning, and between public sectors and private sectors, too. For something like this to work effectively, a lot of barriers would have to be brought down. And many of those barriers are cultural, which are of course the most challenging barriers of all.
For more information about this technology, and other related technology when it comes to urban transit, check out kolelinia.com