Thursday, November 15, 2012

Space-age rapid transit to debut in Tel Aviv

Magnets pull skyTran vehicles off the ground.
If all goes as planned, within two years Israelis will be the first people to try out a futuristic rapid transport system designed by NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California.

The skyTran uses two-person modules that drive along a guide rail suspended from existing power lines. Magnets in the vehicle create a magnetic field around the metal coil inside the rail, causing the vehicle to lift up and glide 60 miles per hour on a cushion of air. The system uses very little energy and potentially could be powered entirely by solar panels.

“Our objective is to build a pilot project here so that we can make Israel the center of the skyTran world,” CEO Jerry Sanders tells ISRAEL21c.

The first route, on which construction could begin next spring, would run from the high-tech center in Atidim through the Tel Aviv University train station to the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Port. Another installation might be placed on Netanya’s congested east side and a third would take people into and around Ariel Sharon Park, a huge public “green belt” in central Israel.

Personal rapid transit (PRT) alternatives are in hot demand worldwide – especially in big countries such as China and India — as a means to relieve traffic jams and energy consumption. Underground solutions are expensive and street-level solutions just add more congestion.

“We are the most sophisticated PRT on the market … and also the least expensive, greenest and most efficient,” asserts Sanders. -- Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c

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