A group of engineers and dreamers are hoping to ease Tel Aviv’s notorious traffic by making the First Hebrew City the first city in the world to host a mass transport system of magnetically levitating pods.
The city recently hired US consultancy Jenkins Gales & Martinez to get the ball rolling, or pod sliding, on the project.
The futuristic-looking system of pods tethered to monorail tracks, which uses magnets to reduce friction, was co-developed by engineers from NASA’s Ames Research Center and the privately held SkyTran company, which is aiming to place what it calls a “Physical Internet” in the city.
SkyTran CEO Jerry Sanders told Bloomberg recently it would take about $50 million of initial funding to install four miles (six kilometers) of track between the Atidim high tech business park and Tel Aviv University.
According to the planners, the SkyTran will provide a cheaper, faster, environmental friendly and comfortable alternative to cars and buses, which are the main cause for congestion and pollution in the country’s metropolitan area, designboom reported. No timetable has been reported for the project.
The system will ferry passengers in personal pods around the city, much like a taxi, but will charge a fare closer to that of a bus, according to Sanders. Passengers will able to order rides via a smartphone application.