Remember the Shweeb? It's the pedal-powered monorail transit system that won a million bucks from Google. It started in an amusement park in New Zealand, but now it's being proposed as a real transportation demonstration project in Niagara Falls, Canada.
Shweeb SkySMART is poised to be the sustainable transit solution that puts an end to gridlock everywhere. So why PRT you ask? PRT is the on-demand transit missing link between personal transportation and mass transit. SkySMART removes fossil fuel burning vehicles from our congested roadways and creates a myriad of health related benefits at a much lower cost. Unlike conventional transit which leaves on inconvenient set hourly schedules, Shweeb's SkySMART is an on demand service, meaning it leaves when you arrive saving you precious time.
The technology has been updated from the original Shweeb, so it now comes with solar powered electric assist. There is some Google juice added as well:
SkySMART will use Google "RoboCar" technology to manage the on demand pod deployment. Pods are ready when you arrive, so no waiting in long lines.
Steven Bieda of Shweeb-Can tells TreeHugger that "SkySMART may prove to one of the most disruptive technologies to be introduced this generation with huge implications for mitigating climate change while spurring along the cleantech economy through infrastructure building projects."
If you look at the Danes, the Dutch and other cycling based societies, you see tremendous mental, physical and economic benefits directly associated with active lifestyles. Just ditching your car and starting to cycle to work is not the whole answer however because bicycles take up a lot of surface level space and North American cities weren't built for bike lanes. SkySMART is better, because it is a 3D cycling-based monorail transit solution (up to 4 guideways 80 ft high) using wasted air space above boulevards, streets and sidewalks. SkySMART envisioned to be a national public utility also employs gamification to incentivize people to pedal. Those that pedal pay less AND travel 10 kph faster! The system can move up to 10,000 people per hour using clean renewable energies for creature comforts inside each fully teched-out two, five or twelve person pod. SkySMART is an on demand service too, so no waiting, it leaves when you arrive.
If you loved Solar Roadways, then you're gonna love this!
Now I have been dismissive of PRT schemes before, and have expressed concerns about putting bikeways up in the air. I have a whole lot of doubts about this proposal, but Steven Bieda's enthusiasm is infectious, and what's to complain about a transit system that's pedal powered, that keeps you dry and away from all those cars on the road? I will leave that to commenters. As Bieda notes, If you loved Solar Roadways, then you're gonna love this!
To get the project off the ground, Shweeb SkySMART has started an Indigogo campaign to raise money for land purchases and to push the $ 10 million demonstration project along. They have a ways to go before it closes on December 19. Contribute here.