Well, you can thank this week’s blog to my new hobby of “tweeting.” One of the other professionals that I follow made a “tweet” that led to a way cool website whose idea is worth mentioning. The future of this “pod in the sky” is likely “pie in the sky,” but it makes one wonder what the future of transportation could look like.
Pollution, carbon emissions, global warming, traffic congestion, green cars…these are all the industry headlines that plaster the Internet and your favorite trade publications every week. Well, a group of engineers and designers in New Zealand have created a mode of transportation that eliminates nearly all of the environmental concerns that are under such scrutiny today. No, it’s not a magic carpet ( how sweet would that be?). And it’s more primitive and environmentally efficient than SkyTran. Ladies and Gentleman, I introduce to you…
The world’s first human powered monorail, The Shweeb is “the most efficient vehicle on earth, the most inexpensive infrastructure of any proposed urban transit and one of the highest capacity systems available – potentially delivering thousand’s of people per hour in a very small airspace. All this with zero carbon emissions and no parking worries or cost!”
Six years in the making, entrepreneur and design team leader Geoffrey Barnett finally constructed The Shweeb in 2007 ” in direct response to the transportation needs of today and the future.” As of today, The Shweeb concept is nothing more than a ride at an adventure park in New Zealand. But Barnett and his team are convinced that The Shweeb is the way of the future. This is definitely a very cool concept that on the surface would solve many of the traffic and congestion and environmental pollution problems that we face today. It would also be an emerging engineering concept that possibly would challenge and excite transportation engineers of all types.
Environmentally speaking, this is a great idea, but Clearly Geoffrey and his team have their work cut out for them as they continue to push this concept of a human powered monorail system. Personally speaking, I am skeptical at best. The “pod” itself that one drives in has little to be desired in the way of comfort and the issues are infinite- what happens if the chain or the pedals break – would Triple A (AAA) show up? How would one travel with family or clients? And what about ventilation? Plus, I have no desire to show up for work or a lunch meeting as a soaking wet sweat ball! We would need Xzibit and the crew from the MTV show Pimp My Ride to develop some nice custom Shweeb vehicles to better suit our needs 🙂 !
Check out The Shweeb in action:
I read on Gizmodo.com, “Well, thank your lucky stars that the people who run our cities have at least some sense in their heads, because it would be highly doubtful for this to appear in the flesh anytime soon.”
Do you believe this engineering concept will ever come to fruition in any way, shape or form as an alternative form of transportation within our urban communities? Or is it merely a pipe dream that will never get beyond the gates of a Six Flags amusement park?