Traffic congestion is a problem for cities around the world, with some focusing on different mobility solutions, give it electric scooters ai underground tunnels. One company believes the solution is to build a 2.0 trolly network.
In a nutshell: driverless high-speed cabs that travel through cities suspended on a steel cable.
The trolly of the future: the test line is already open
In June, uSky Transport, headquartered in Belarus, has opened a 400-meter test trolly in Sharjah, bordering Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. From the outside, the electric pods are glossy white, while the interiors are designed to look like a small airplane suite with mood lighting, lounge music, and floor-to-ceiling windows. With two padded seats and two folding seats, each cabin can carry up to four passengers.
Some data on the performance of the uSky cable car
A fully implemented citywide network could support 10.000 passengers per hour, says uSky, with vehicles currently able to travel up to 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour, although for safety reasons, they cannot reach their maximum speed during the track test.
The Belarusian company says its goal is to free up roads and ground spaces that could be used for greenery, walkways and public leisure spaces.
The ground level is completely saturated and people are tired of the traffic jams. People are tired of emissions.Oleg Zaretskiy, CEO of uSky Transport
What about the costs?
According to uSky, while the construction of a kilometer of subway can cost up to $ 150 million, this system costs about 10 million dollars, one fifteenth. And by using fewer structural materials, the trolly of the future also reduces carbon emissions.
The company has also developed a trolley version designed for commercial transport: it carries around 48-ton containers at 90 kilometers (56 miles) per hour. Although “sky pods” are often compared to monorails or cable cars, they offer greater flexibility.
In a traditional trolly, there is a cabin and it always goes at the same speed. In sky pods you can use many different cabins on that particular infrastructure, such as those tailored for shorter trips in urban areas or for longer distances.Stephanie Haag, associate partner of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
It's not all easy
Of course, careful planning would be required to avoid congestion in a trolleybus that would affect large areas of a large city. But if we proceed in an intelligent and organic way to decongest all networks, organizing infrastructures such as this trolleybus and others for ground transport, uSky's could really be a widely adopted solution.
However, by the end of the year uSky plans to build a 2,4 kilometer (1,5 mile) line in Sharjah, which will allow it to operate passenger cabins at higher speeds and demonstrate how both these and cargo cabins can be integrated into the same network.
Second Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park which hosts uSky's test lines, the hope is that this special trolly will strengthen the emirate's strategy of becoming a sustainable and futuristic hub.
USky also looks beyond the United Arab Emirates. “The most promising areas for us are the Middle East and Asia, places where there is natural population growth,” says Zaretskiy. “But we have also received requests from the USA and Canada”.