Oct 7, 2012

Roads that move

Nowadays wherever you go there are traffic jams, petrol and diesel fumes, unpredictable travel time, and a lot of resultant anger and frustration.

If you look closely at the cars, jeeps, and vans waiting at a traffic signal you might just realize something very significant. Most of these vehicles use just 25-60% of their seating capacity. So on an average, a car with a seating capacity of 5 people will have just 2 to 3 people in it. Which means, that if 100 cars fit on a stretch of the road, only 250-300 people are utilizing that stretch, whereas 500 people could have done so!

What this boils down to is that on one hand we have traffic jams, and on the other, the people carrying capacity of roads is highly underutilized. This problem prevails in many parts of the world to a greater or lesser extent.

Even more critical is the limited supply of fossil fuels. There have been attempts the world over to use other forms of energy to run vehicles, but with not much success.

Now here is an idea:Why not have roads that move? Right now the roads are stationary and we have vehicles running on them. But what if the roads themselves moved? This concept is not so far-fetched, considering that we already have moving escalators and walking strips at places like airports and malls. But a moving road would be a true path-breaker; please excuse the pun.  

How would a moving road help?
It would:
·   eliminate the need for vehicles for many people, especially for distances that take upto 30 minutes to commute
·   reduce the current traffic jams, as fewer vehicles on the road (with their frequently underutilized capacity feature) would free the blocked space on the road
·   drastically reduce fuel consumption, especially the kind of natural fuels required by vehicles

Design: It could be designed like a conveyer belt, or something else. All you would then have to do is step on to the road, stand or sit till you get to your destination, and then step off the road, as required. There could even be lanes, with faster moving lanes on the inside and slower moving lanes on the outside for people to step on or step off. You could also have some seats on the roads at suitable intervals, for those who need to sit. Solar energy could be used to run them.

Of course there would be a host of practical problems resulting from the installation of moving roads, but then when has this not been the case with any new invention? What one needs to do is perform an analysis to evaluate whether an idea has the capability to provide overwhelming benefit for humankind.

No comments:

Post a Comment