The ideal transport

What’s the ideal mean of transport? This seems like an obsession of mankind the last two centuries. There are heavy debates on the perfect way of transportation, whether it’s by car, bike, plane or train.

Before that, there wasn’t much to get obsessed about. Either you were on foot, by boat or if you had the money you could ride a horse.

Faster and easier way of travel came in the 19th century

  • Trains (invented in 1804)
  • Bike (invented 1817, modern bike in 1885)
  • Car (invented in 1886)
  • Plane (invented in 1903)

These are the big four of modern means of transportation. During the 20th century, they all became faster and more comfortable. But which one is best?

The answer is none.

They all have their charms

Of course, each mode of transport has its charm. Reading and dining in a train, while viewing how the scenery moves, is great. The bike is a cheap and sporty way to move around in the city. Cars are an individual and free way of transport in a cool package. Planes are elegant and the fastest way to bring you to places otherwise out of reach.

But like its charms, every mode of transport has its flaws. Trains are not an A to B way of travel. You always need to go to a station first, and you often need to change trains. Then you need to wait on a cold and windy platform (if the train comes on time anyway). And you always need to travel along other people, watch how they eat and listen to their conversations on the phone.

Planes have similar downsides. Usually getting to the plane and through the customs takes longer than the flight itself. Seats are cramped, there is always someone in front of you who does the chair too far backwards, and there is also always a kid screaming near to your seat.

Finally, alone in the car with the radio aloud. You can have a lot more luggage with you than in a train and plane, and you can really travel from a to b. It’s perfect… until you meet some idiots in cars, you hit traffic jam and can’t park anywhere. Also, it’s not so fast as you want to. Especially on long distances. Besides, cars are expensive and doing everything by car makes us fatter and fatter.

So shall we take the bike than? Now, with a bike, we can have some exercise. Go into small streets and park it anywhere in the city center. As long as it doesn’t get stolen... Fortunately, it’s still there, but how to bring all those stuff you cycle back to your home? How to travel long distances? And of course there is always a strong headwind. And it’s cold and wet.

Our current ways of transportation

The Hyperpod

What if we could combine the advantages of the big four modes of transportation without many of its disadvantages:

  • Travel from A to B
  • Exercise when needed
  • Be warm and dry
  • Travel independently and individually
  • Travel fast on long distances
  • Go to the city center and park easily
  • No traffic jams
  • Have room for luggage
  • Read a book when you want

Meet the Hyperpod

This pod behaves like a normal pod in a city area. An example of such a pod is the Podbike developed in Norway.

A podbike (https://www.podbike.com/)

The Hyperpod caries a battery and has a range around 100 miles. Top speed within the city is around 32 m/h. Thus, within a 30 miles range you can get everywhere within an hour. You can drive to work in a battery mode and get sporty on the way back. When it’s cold and wet, no problem. In the back there is enough room for luggage.

What’s missing in current day infrastructure are decent roads for such pods. We have sidewalks, bike lanes and freeways. Speed-pedelecs, e-scooters and pods don’t have specific lanes yet. Still, it makes sense, because they are small and don’t need much space. I wrote on this topic extensively in a previous blog on bicycle highways.

Thus, such pods are ideal for short ranges, to travel individually in a comfortable way or in a sporty way. But they are also excellent to go in train-mode. In this mode, a pod is becoming part of an automatic transportation system. In the city it can move through metro tunnels or smaller tunnels like created by The Boring Company. Instead of slowly driving through a tunnel in car:

The pods can move a much higher speed through the city. The pods automatically form a train (or swarm) and the system can individual pull pods in and out.

On longer distances it can use Hyperloop systems to travel at plane speed. The wheels are extracted in the pod (like an airplane), the pedals are extracted as well. Now it goes through the vacuum like a bullet.

Final note

Let’s say, I am leaving my home in Amsterdam. Directly from my home I travel to a loop, there I am ‘shot’ to London in a half hour. I go to my work. In the evening, I travel for 15 minutes to Paris to eat with friends in the city center. Then I go back, read the Times in my pod and in Amsterdam cycle the last miles to my home. Sweet home.

Current pods:

Check here for part 1:

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