Daffodil International University

Faculty of Engineering => Civil Engineering => Transportation Engineering => Topic started by: momin.ce on February 24, 2020, 01:11:59 PM

Title: What is the future of transportation on earth?
Post by: momin.ce on February 24, 2020, 01:11:59 PM
There are two different technologies I’d like to mention that I think may quite possibly be at least part of the answer to what future transportation on earth looks like.

The idea is to combine some of the best features of private cars and collective tracked transit into one package.

The concept here is to make electric cars, but with a slit down the middle that allows the cars to ride on, and charge from a triangular cross-section elevated rail for longer hauls. This would give you many of the best features of trains combined with many of the best features of private cars:

The vehicle would start at your doorstep, and go directly to your destination with no need to change vehicle.
You’d still be able to own your own private vehicle and would not have to share space with strangers.
You’d not be limited by the schedules of public transport.
The limited range and relatively slow recharge of electric vehicles would no longer be a problem.
While on the rail the vehicle would be self-driving, you’d be able to check the news, read a book or watch a movie.
On the rail the vehicles could form “trains” where they drive with zero distance, this reduces air-resistance and increase the capacity of the rail. It’s been estimated that a single rail would have capacity comparable to 4-5 lanes of ordinary traffic.
You’d not need a very fine-masked network of rails for the technology to be useful, because the vehicles are still capable of driving like ordinary electric cars for the last bit of the travel from the last rail-onramp and to your home or whatever.
Accident-risk would be low on an elevated rail.
Fully electric vehicles WITHOUT needing gigantic battery-packs would be good for the environment.
Rubber-wheels on smooth steel- or alu track powered by electric motors are a lot more silent than IC-powered cars cutting down on traffic-noise in cities while at the same time giving street-level space back to pedestrians, bikers and other soft traffic-participants.


For longer hauls the currently dominating technology is airplanes. They are very noisy and burn a lot of fossil fuels which is a problem for the environment. They’re also not all that fast, especially not for medium hauls.

The problem is that airports are huge and noisy, and therefore need to be located way outside cities. Oslo and Bergen are 305km (190 miles) apart, but if you want to go from downtown Oslo to downtown Bergen you need to:

Travel 50km by car or train to get to the airport.
Arrive at least 45 minutes prior to departure to leave time for checking in, going through security and reaching the gate prior to boarding.
Board, taxi and prepare for takeoff - 15 minutes.
Actually fly for 25 minutes. (this is the fast part)
Travel by car or bus for 18km to get into Bergen.
By the time you’ve done all of that, you’ve spent at least 2 hours, despite the actual flying-thing taking only 25 minutes.

The most well-known evacuated tube plans at the moment are Hyperloop, they imagine capsules moving through very thin air inside of a steel pipe at velocities of up to 1200km/h (760mph). Being underground there’s no reason the hyperloop station can’t be downtown, so with a direct hyperloop-line, you could conceivably travel Oslo-Bergen in less than 20 minutes.

NYC-SF would still take 3.5 hours though. And although this is better than planes, it’s still pretty slow. Luckily there’s no fundamental reason we’re limited to “only” 1200km/h with evacuated tubes.

The theoretical maximum is given by the curve of the earth's surface. At a velocity of 7.9km/s (or 17000mph!) you’d be in orbit and the passengers would experience weightlessness. At that velocity, you’d cover NYC-SF in about 10 minutes.

(If that’s not good enough for you, then I’d like to point out that if you REALLY want to get somewhere like right now, you could at this point simply rotate the capsule 180 degrees and then continue acceleration only now you’re driving not on the “floor” of the tube, but instead on the “roof” of the tube.)

Being in near-vacuum also helps with reducing drag, so such trains can have quite modest energy-requirements while at the same time being fast as greased lightning.

More Reading regarding this: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-future-of-transportation-on-earth