Friday, January 8, 2016

Mexico City's Pod Proposal

Los Angeles and New York get a lot of national grief over their respectively nightmarish traffic experiences. Indeed both could use improvements in how to address issues of congestion and bottle-necking. Despite all the bad press lower Manhattan and the 405 get, however, neither towns can begin to compare with the insanity that is being a commuter in Mexico City.

Number two in TomTom's traffic index behind Istanbul, Mexico City's residents are trapped in traffic between and home and work that makes their trips 55 percent longer than average. This is not merely a problem centering around the automobile, as 61 percent of residents take public transportation already, and only 16 percent drive individual vehicles. Clearly, the sheer number of population means no one transportation method can fix this, and even a combined network needs to consider alternatives that think outside traditional infrastructure models.

The city's transportation department- Seciti- seems to have arrived upon a consensus on one possibility: gondolas. Lightweight, considerably cheaper to install and maintain than more subway systems, gondolas would actually directly serve the majority populace that does not drive while also providing a rather enjoyable commuter experience. Each pod would hold two people, and move on tracks over traffic routes, hovering over already existing gridlock. Even more innovative, passengers can program a direct path to a destination platform. This may pose certain issues of bunching (one would think tourist-heavy stops would demand more individual pod queues than others), but a carefully analyzed map could create "exhaust valve" routes to bypass any potential crowding risks, just like added lines on existing metro systems.

Seciti's recent proposal was unveiled at a press conference, complete with an animated video (above) showing how the concept will be applied. Although funding still needs to be sought after from both private and public sources, the ecological, locally-manufactured project could serve as a template for the growing global city of the 21st century.

Donal Thoms-Cappello is a freelance writer for Rotor Clip Company.

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