The subway of the future puts stations at or near the surface


The design of subways goes back to the late 19th century. Tunnels have virtues, but instead of sending a giant train through them every 5 minutes, in the future we could fill the tunnel with smaller electric vans which go nonstop from station to station (changing lines) and even put their stations at or near the surface for quick access and energy efficiency. Imagine a subway like a modern elevator, where you indicate your destination station and it tells you which van to enter to get there in zero to 2 stops. And let the vans go past the end of the line on surface streets to serve more areas. You can actually have more capacity, comfort, speed and convenience, plus much lower cost.

Read how this can happen in a new Forbes article at The subway of the future puts stations at or near the surface


Do you know why something similar to this hasn't already been done somewhere? Apart from the idea of having the vehicles continue up on surface streets it seems to me that that the level of autonomous technology required to drive safely in sealed off tunnels has been available for quite some time. You don't even need modern battery technology if you charge the vehicles using a third rail.

Particularly in rail. After all, there are automated rail lines that still keep an operator on board (mostly from union pressure.)

Being the first to build this takes some courage of course. There are systems that move luggage and sort packages a bit like this, but they have had their issues.

I suspect they will need to see it in a test area. Elon Musk's Boring Company has built a simple system under the Las Vegas CC using some similar principles, but it's a brand new system.

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