53. Swift Tram - Next Mobility
The world will have 37 megacities of 10 million people or more by 2025.* Cities are running out of room for expansion of highways and transit at the same time that demand for accessible mobility is growing. Traffic is becoming increasingly intolerable in metro areas; rush hours are become longer and longer. In 2010, Americans spent a total of 4.8 billion hours stuck in traffic, wasting 1.9 billion gallons of fuel, at a total cost of $101 billion.Despite at-grade transit solutions such as light rail, commuter rail, and buses, traffic continues to worsen, along with associated emissions of toxins into the atmosphere. Carbon emissions cause climate change and are a primary cause of major challenges to public health, such as asthma. Rail systems have become very expensive to deploy due to extremely high costs of right-of-way; high cost of installing track in urban settings (disturbing gas pipelines, concrete, asphalt, electrical and water infrastructure), and the high costs of crossings.
The transit system for new urban areas needs to be above ground to allow for pedestrian traffic, to provide greater safety with automation, and to maximize public space. It also needs to be part of an overall architecture for mobility which includes high speed rail and smaller PRT systems, while allowing at-grade room for pedestrians and bikes. Transportation is critical to our economic growth, and a clean energy solution that provides smart mobility in our urban areas and allows freight to move easily is essential.
Swift Tram's new rapid transit system can be used for moving people or freight. It’s electrically powered, fully automated (driverless), and operates using intelligent drive bogies traveling inside an elevated fixed guideway. Suspended coaches in two sizes provide scheduled and on-demand service 24/7. Right-of-way costs are minimal or nonexistent for this small-footprint system. Guideway support construction projects are fast and inexpensive, minimizing neighborhood disruption in comparison to any at-grade rail system. Operating costs are lower than for buses. The system complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other emergency evacuation requirements.
Swift’s drive bogies are like small, fast electric sportscars that run inside the guideways, providing propulsion for the suspended coaches, carrying batteries and distributed “swarm computing” intelligence informing bogie performance as a function of the central and onboard control systems, and providing system diagnostics and maintenance services. Swift Tram provides smartgrid interactivity for demand management and cost control, as well as infrastructure for mounting solar PV, solar thermal, and telecommunications (fiber optics inside the guideway can provide additional system revenue by providing communications services).
Swift Tram is poised to dominate the $10 billion US light rail market by implementing a strategy of early loop installation of its minimum viable products, followed by buildout along major arterials, and at ultimate scale within the decade, whole regional networks. Swift Tram’s system will provide easy interoperability with first-mile/last-mile modes such as bikes and walking, existing transportation systems, as well as high speed rail and Personal Rapid Transportation systems of the future. Swift Tram is the safest, cleanest, most cost effective, and most energy efficient rapid mass transit system in development today.
The initial design and engineering is well underway. Final design and testing will be completed by 2016. Swift Tram will collaborate to jointly develop key aerospace and clean technologies with NASA that will benefit not only NASA and Swift Tram but also will impact the development of critical technologies across multiple industries. Swift Tram has formed industry partnerships with key suppliers to accelerate the innovation-to-production cycle, and will work with appropriate agencies such as NIST to develop standards for new transit systems and sustainable manufacturing.
Projects have been identified in Silicon Valley, at Denver International Airport, and along the I-70 corridor from Denver to Eagle / Vail. These projects are consistent with Swift Tram’s timeline. Our organization is a leader in developing public/private partnerships to promote new models for strategic investments in infrastructure such as clean transportation.
Why it should be recognized:
Investment in Swift Tram’s solution is a transformative investment in U.S. and global transportation infrastructure. According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2012-13 the US ranks number 14, behind Europe, Canada and Asia in transportation infrastructure.
Swift Tram's unique solution takes full advantage of advancements in technologies (sensors, robotics, materials, batteries, electric engines, and IT) and new manufacturing processes, spurring growth across multiple industries. In addition, it provides a transportation solution that is less expensive and more energy efficient than other systems, and meets the future mobility requirements of our growing communities. The hanging train is a proven machine-age concept; Swift Tram converges modern technologies to achieve a quantum technological leap on that concept: a relatively low cost, elegant, right-sized 21st century solution.
Capital investments for a clean energy transportation solution are sorely needed. Through the selection of the Swift Tram solution and the upcoming event, Sustainable Silicon Valley and NASA can engage the community to provide greater awareness for the need to make futuristic investments in our transit systems, and showcase new transportation solutions made available through the partnerships Sustainable Silicon Valley and NASA have created.