Tram cars will be made from de-commissioned Boeing jets. To make one tram car, two retired planes have their tail, engines, and wings removed and are joined together to make a shell capable of traveling forward and backwards (see sketches). What’s left is a large, aerodynamic, fast public and freight transportation solution using no new materials.
Slightly more optimistic? The goal of using 100% renewable energy: solar power; wind turbines; and regenerative braking. The solar panels and turbines are located on the towers which support the rail system. Frankly, a cross-country high-speed monorail is green enough for us…but we’re not going to complain about renewable energy goals as well.
According to the Mass Tram website: “This system is the solution to America’s troubled highway system in so many ways: traffic fatalities, rising gas prices, road construction and weather conditions will not burden its passengers.” In other words, it would be another scalpel for use in carectomies.
Financing the project will be one of several sticking-points. Mass Tram is courting venture capitalists, government funding, and grants. So far, they’re having a bit of success marketing it as a commuter train on the west coast. The smaller footprint makes it more feasible than traditional rail.
Highlights of the project:
- No fossil fuels involved. In fact, Missler claims the project will be 100% pollution free. Taking production of solar panels, wind turbines, train towers, batteries, and everything else needed for infrastructure into account, this is not completely accurate. But his heart’s in the right place.
- Projected costs are on par with other similar projects being built worldwide. The difference here is that, once power systems are purchased, they will generate more power than is consumed and profit by selling excess power back into the grid.
- The Trams’ large cargo space would allow passengers to bring cars on board for local trips at the destination. Hey, at least we’re decreasing car usage here. Not a full Carectomy.
- Frees up ground space. Rails are suspended high in the air meaning there’s little structure on the ground. Could even lead to a decrease in asphalt.
- Fixed routes and tracks means that there’s little to no crossing traffic and high speeds can be maintained (estimated at between 100 and 200 miles per hour average speeds).
Mass Tram’s goal is to launch a prototype project by 2011.
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