Gallery: AIRBIA: Awesome Suburban Airships Take Flight

 

What’s lighter than air, soars through the sky, and stands to save our suburbs by breaking the shackles of car culture? The answer is Airbia, an incredible fleet of high-flying airships that aims to create an efficient and eco-friendly alternative to smog-choked suburban commutes. Designed by Alexandros Tsolakis and Irene Shamma, the airship infrastructure system ferries passengers quickly and easily from their suburban homes to urban city centers, and we imagine that gliding through the clouds at the break of dawn each day would make for a heck of a morning commute.

Today most suburban commutes involve long hours spent sitting in smog-choked traffic behind endless miles of idling cars. Add to that the costs of maintaining road infrastructure amid the ever increasing sprawl of suburbia and you’ve got a murky environmental quandary on your hands.

Tsolakis and Shamma’s Airbia stands to change all that by offering commuters the opportunity to sail through their morning commute aboard a system of high-flying eco-friendly airships. The sleek fleet of dirigibles use helium to hover and require only a limited amount of infrastructure (just overhead loading platforms). Each one is capable of carrying 400 people and travels at an average speed of 93 mph at heights between 100 to 1,640 feet above the earth.

The Airbia system will cover a set of nodes scattered throughout the suburbs, creating connections to the edge of the city on all sides. Tsolakis and Shamma say that “This network would potentially replace the use of cars and trains as transportation between the suburbs and the city centers.” Each node consists of just staircases, lifts, and ticket spaces, which makes the system is extremely flexible – pick up an drop off locations can be easily placed almost anywhere in the city.

Airbia is one of 20 incredible finalists in our ReBurbia competition to redesign our suburbs – be sure to check out the other inspired finalists and vote for your favorite!

+ Airbia

+ Re-Burbia Competition

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5 Comments

  1. kducoing January 3, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Does anybody know why we don’t make small airships as regular public transportation? What are the drawbacks? Can’t they just land in big parks and people could hop on and off like a bus?

  2. Taxman December 10, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Hydrogen, has got to be one of the most plentiful forms of energy known to man, surely there is a way to capture this resourse, use it, as we like, that is not hugely costly.

    Airships float above the ground and winds push, easilly tied to one place and easy to move on, come on brains get together and make a better way to travel across the great Oz at six miles an hour ten feet above the ground, out of the way of danger at a snails pace, now thats travel.

    John

  3. The Campus TV August 13, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Why is there never any mention of the financial feasibility of the numbers associated with these deals? Not being negative – just realistic. How much do these cost? What ticket prices? reliability as the first guy mentioned? Sure – visually exciting presentation but if it doesn’t make financial sense that’s all it is.

  4. flyingpigs August 12, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Airbia airship is a fun fantasy, but Tsolakis and Shamma probably have never flown in a dirigibles. I am one of the lucky few that has. Recently as I got to ride over the San Francisco in a commercial airship. It was a lot of fun, but a very unreliable method of travel. We were lucky, out of the 6 flights planned for that day we flew on one of the two that did not get cancelled. Some of the other lucky ones we met on our flight said it was their third try after being cancelled twice before. Airships are generally a fair weather way to travel.

  5. flyingpigs August 12, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Airbia airship is a fun fantasy, but Tsolakis and Shamma probably have never flown in dirigibles. I am one of the lucky few that has. Recently as I got to ride over the San Francisco in a commercial airship. It was a lot of fun, but a very unreliable method of travel. We were lucky, out of the 6 flights planned for that day we flew on one of the two that did not get cancelled. Some of the other lucky ones we met on our flight said it was their third try after being cancelled twice before. Airships are generally a fair weather way to travel.

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