Mahesh Basantani

Solar + Hydrogen Power Interstate Rail coming to Michigan!

by , 02/13/08

international traveler, maglev transportation, magnetic levitation, solar powered transit, hydrogen fuel transit, transportation tuesday, green transit, eco transit, mass transit sustainability, sustainable transportation, green rail system

What do you get when you combine the innovation of MagLev technology with solar power, hydrogen fuel, and a futuristic aesthetic? The Interstate Traveler Hydrogen Super Highway, or the Traveler- a ground-breaking solar powered, hydrogen-fueled, zero emission mass transit system that would carry everything from people to cars in sustainable style and carbon neutral function. The construction is set to begin this year, and would connect Ann Arbor and Detroit.



international traveler, maglev transportation, magnetic levitation, solar powered transit, hydrogen fuel transit, transportation tuesday, green transit, eco transit, mass transit sustainability, sustainable transportation, green rail system

The highway is made up of a slew of systems called the rail conduit cluster and will provide a comprehensive integrated system of the public/private transit system and municipal infrastructure network. It would serve as public transport system AND distribute electricity, potable water, liquid waste, fiber optics, hydrogen, oxygen, and fuels.

The public transit component would combine high speed magnetically levitated (MagLev, which we’ve seen in wind turbines before) cars running on parallel magnetic rails, laminated solar cells, and the conduit cluster that would be used to distribute electricity, water, fuels, etc. (It has been projected that each mile of rail would produce about 844,800 watts of electricity per hour at peak time using the solar energy). As for fuel, hydrogen would be used in fuel cells, internal combustion engines, micro turbines and other energy conversion devices to generate power.

The entire conduit cluster operations would be managed by TCP/IP technology. The Traveler Stations would be built to provide easy access to the Interstate Highway, solutions to overcrowding, urban sprawl, public utility failures, traffic jams, car accidents, etc.

The Interstate Traveler Project is the brainchild of NEWTY Award recipient Justin Eric Sutton. The construction for the first phase would start in Michigan in 2008, and would link the cities of Ann Arbor and Detroit.

+ International Traveler

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55 Comments

  1. hybridwatercar July 24, 2011 at 1:35 am

    Get a Hydrogen hybrid Conversion installed in the SF Bay Area for $1600 for most cars and small trucks. These are HOD (hydrogen on demand) nothing is stored. Plus you get a tax credit for installing hydrogen upgrades. 35%-60% gains in MPG. Talk to @hybridwatercar on twitter or tinyurl.com/waterpowered

  2. lspreiss July 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I had this idea about 12 years ago and still have the drawings to prove it. With the present highway system in place it’s space I thought could almost eliminate air travel in the states. What a wonderful thought. It should be a system that rewards the citizens on a state to state level of equality though and not end up in the hands or control of private enterprise.

  3. VerdeLifestyles October 18, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    I live in Michigan and I can’t believe this! Public transportation in the motor city is unheard of lol. I would love to see this become a reality though, I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

  4. corbettkroehler June 18, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Mekhong’s statements portray an understandably incomplete grasp of the operation of the Interstate Traveler. As a partner in the Interstate Traveler Company and a friend of Justin Sutton’s, I appreciate the opportunity of responding.

    Justin Sutton’s original impetus for inventing the Interstate Traveler was to cure America’s rail transportation crisis. As a college professor and mechanical engineer, Justin examined ALL existing rail technologies. Deeming them ALL flawed to one extent or another, he sought to cull the best and discard the rest. The Interstate Traveler is the manifestation of that vision. It is superior to all other products for the following reasons:

    1) Because it manufacturers its own energy with solar (and/or wind as needed) and stores the energy in the form of hydrogen, it can be constructed and operated with NO NEED for new power generating facilities.

    2) Its operation is fully green not just because of its use of renewable energy but because of its ability to clean polluted bodies of water through its normal operation (the water needed to produce hydrogen can be drawn from most any terrestrial source, including Superfund sites, because of its Magnagas purification technology).

    3) The aerodynamics of each Traveler vehicle are based on an airplane wing. In motion, each car becomes a levitation body, thus providing upward lift through simple operation. One of the greatest challenges with conventional magnetic levitation trains is that as they travel faster, the downward force drives the engine into the rail. The Interstate Traveler solves this problem through the design of the fuselage.

    and

    4) Conventional trains often derail due to mechanical failure, human error or metal fatigue along the rail corridor. The Interstate Traveler does not suffer from these problems because the system is fully automated and self-aware, because the rail is tubular, because the rail is made of AL206 stainless steel and because the magnets virtually grasp the rail at the end the nacelles, as opposed to simply riding on top of them as convention trains do.

    In closing, the dozens of inventions and novel integrations of technologies inside the Interstate Traveler are the reason that the American Computer Science Association bestowed the prestigious Sir Isaac Newton Award on Justin Sutton for the Interstate Traveler. Likewise, they are the reason that the government of the United States is in active negotiations with Justin (through several cabinet-level departments) to catalyze installation of the Interstate Traveler throughout the United States and every continent.

    I encourage you to telephone me with any questions you may have. It would be my pleasure to speak with you: +1-407-855-8574.

  5. Dr. Woodrow Clark II June 1, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Nice site. can get my students on it and involved too. Teach at UCLA and UC Riverside.

  6. The next solar boom may... March 12, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    [...] However, Sundrop isn’t the only company working on hydrogen production with sunlight. Another we recently mentioned is Nanoptek, which runs electricity through water to create hydrogen; it got a $4.7 million investment. There’s a Penn State project to do more or less the same thing that’s still in development, not having reached a good enough level of efficiency yet. Then there’s an oddball project called the Interstate Traveler Hydrogen Super Highway that may be built in Michigan. [...]

  7. Mekhong Kurt March 4, 2008 at 1:59 am

    While I agree with those cho say that at the conceptual level this is a great idea, I’m not so sure it’s anywhere near a reality.

    Just spent about 45 minutes trying to find some information of Detroit’s official website. After considerable nosing around, I finally stumbled acorss a link to “Detroit People Mover,” but saw nothing there. Shortly after, I stumbled across another link to the Detroit Department of Transportation, and on that page, saw a link to a study of what to do. Clicked that; no joy. The link was to a video which never opened, even after numerous tries.

    I also read the news article another contributor provided, but it seemed rather short on specifics. (Many thanks for providing the link, however.)

    I will say that as great an idea as this might be, the economics of such a system seem to require considerable participation by a national government — *especially* in the very cradle of our automobile industry.

    Look at the world’s first operational maglev system: the one linking Shanghai’s business district with the [relatively] new airport in the Putong area outside the city. While it has become immensely popular (and successful), it’s doubtful, at best, it every would have gotten off the drawing board without massive central government backing, backing on all fronts.

    But these things can be done. Here in Bangkok we have a Skytrain and subway system, each independent but intersecting at two points. Both will be extended in years to come, and in fact, parts of the Skytrain are already nearing completion or under construction in the expansion phase. While these use more conventional technologies, they have visibly contributed to easing Bangkok’s notorious traffic. (Living in central Bangkok, I’m WAY too familiar with our traffic jams!)

    I’d like to throw out another thought for consideration. Japan, for instance, has a major automobile industry (though not oil, of course), yet in a field leader in both urban and long-distance mass transit, often employing cutting edge technology. Perhaps it’s a bit off to blame GM et al for the resistance to expanding transport choices beyond cars.

    Maybe Big Oil & Co. deserves even more “credit” than they already get for that. (Ditto our aversion to publicly funding in some way expansion of alternative energy sources, most recently exemplified in the recent failure in the Senate of a bill the House had passed that would have extended benefits for alternative energy providers. Sigh. Bush had vowed to veto it anyway.)

    BTW, in a number of forums I’ve read comments that if it weren’t for our spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the wars in Iraq (especially) and Afghanistan, we’d have the money to fund alternative energy development. In terms of the raw number of dollars that would still be in the national coffers, that’s true, of course. (I don’t want to touch upon the debate over whether those wars are merited, run properly, etc. etc. etc. here — those are entirely separate issues.)

    But *having* the money on hand is a far cry from being assured it would have automatically been directed towards alternative energy sources, reducing greenhouse emissions in other ways, and so on. For all we know, some of it might have been used to further sweeten the pot for Big Oil and other heavy hitters across the business spectrum (including outside energy and automobiles).

    Mahesh, a closing personal comment to you: I appreciate your story, and in no way am I criticizing or attacking you. I might have written it a bit differently, but that’s not important. Thanks for the article — and keep it up.

  8. AG February 27, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    It is overdue that something should actually be built to help solve our crises, than simply given lip service.

  9. PaTrond February 24, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Lucky people in Michigan! Nothing happends here in Norway, we’re just inventing some very good green technologies, but our premier wont bother, but just tell uss to do something when we have Europes highest tax level.

    wished we had that railsystem here in Oslo.

  10. James E February 24, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    AJ……..your right.

  11. AJ February 21, 2008 at 8:55 am

    James E Says: Why all the negative comments?

    Its not that the readers oppose this idea, James, its just that this particular project seems to be fishy (for a number of reasons), if not an outright scam. I could not get past their cheesy website- its not even professionally done. And these are the guys getting millions of dollars to implement cutting edge technologies?

  12. Homer February 19, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Lyle Lanley: Well, sir, there’s nothing on earth
    Like a genuine,
    Bona fide,
    Electrified,
    Six-car
    Monorail!
    What’d I say?
    Ned Flanders: Monorail!
    Lyle Lanley: What’s it called?
    Patty+Selma: Monorail!
    Lyle Lanley: That’s right! Monorail!
    [crowd chants `Monorail' softly and rhythmically]
    Miss Hoover: I hear those things are awfully loud…
    Lyle Lanley: It glides as softly as a cloud.
    Apu: Is there a chance the track could bend?
    Lyle Lanley: Not on your life, my Hindu friend.
    Barney: What about us brain-dead slobs?
    Lyle Lanley: You’ll be given cushy jobs.
    [ Monorail lyrics found on http://www.completealbumlyrics.com ]
    Abe: Were you sent here by the devil?
    Lyle Lanley: No, good sir, I’m on the level.
    Wiggum: The ring came off my pudding can.
    Lyle Lanley: Take my pen knife, my good man.
    I swear it’s Springfield’s only choice…
    Throw up your hands and raise your voice!
    All: Monorail!
    Lyle Lanley: What’s it called?
    All: Monorail!
    Lyle Lanley: Once again…
    All: Monorail!
    Marge: But Main Street’s still all cracked and broken…
    Bart: Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!
    All: Monorail!
    Monorail!
    Monorail!
    [big finish]
    Monorail!
    Homer: Mono… D’oh!

  13. Jeff February 18, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    I am a HUGE proponent of Mass Transit and I am worried that elementary schemes like this do more harm for the cause than help. Although some of the ideas here are good (like combining infrastructure), I’d like to add a few critiques to the ones already stated.

    The solar panels should not be in the shade. No matter how “new” the solar technology is, PV’s work more efficiently when they are not facing north, away from the sun in MI, and when they are not in the shade of rails.

    I can’t seem to find a good explanation of your version of “maglev technology”? Maybe I just missed it because the website is juvenile. Are the tiny pods that ride on the rails little induction motors? The German maglev trains seem to need much bigger induction technology than that. Also, they generate their own power as they pass over magnets in the track. Can a “pod” that is 4 feet off the track do that? Furthermore, maglev eliminates the need for 2 tracks.

    Running separate cars on a single line is inefficient. I realize the tcp/ip stuff might make it possible but why? What is wrong with attaching cars together so that a minimum amount of propulsion can move the whole string? Trains are by far the most elegant and efficient way to move people and freight. That’s why they were successful 150 years ago when we couldn’t produce much power. Isn’t reduce the first of the three Rs?

    Putting an automobile in a bigger car seems to be the most ridiculous part of this. It’s especially poignant that it’s an SUV in the rendering. That speaks of an over-consumption enabling system. A state funded car chauffeur service for those who can afford it. Once again, trains can carry hundreds of cars and Amtrak already does this, but only over long distances. A commuter line next to an INTERSTATE does not need to carry cars!

    This whole thing panders to the auto industry in an effort to gain acceptance in Michigan. A better approach would be to continue to convince politicians that trains are not fundamentally at odds with cars. We obviously need both. Efficient cars are good for random short distances but suck for commuting. Trains are perfect for commuting but can’t go everywhere. We now have all our eggs in one basket and that is obviously dangerous. Commuter lines will reduce the number of cars on the overloaded interstates but GM can rest assured that most people will still buy cars.

    Finally, this whole plan reminds me of something my classmates and I would have come up with in our 2nd year of Industrial Design school. We would be embarrassed to advertise the project at this phase of development as “being built next year”. I would not be so publicly critical of this whole thing if it were presented as a concept and not a reality.

  14. Paranaque Scandal February 18, 2008 at 5:33 am

    great post. i liked it… Like the Paranaque Scandal…

  15. Kamil February 17, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    I live in Ann Arbor, our area is in need of well designed public transport, in fact Mayor of Ann Arbor has been pushing for creation of light rail transportation for years. Unfortunately this story is not set in reality or facts and has been debunked by Ann Arbor officials. If anyone wants to see a working monorail, all you have to do is watch an episode of Simpsons featuring monorail in Springfield.

  16. Hydrogen-FC February 17, 2008 at 1:07 am

    We can say that with this integrated system all of renewable and clean technology will combined effectively. This system will perform our town and take care our environment. Could you send me some picture that show about this project contruction. May I could discuss with my lecture on Gadjah Mada University.

  17. Mike G February 15, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Well, sir, there’s nothing on earth like a genuine, Bona fide, Electrified, Six-car Monorail! Monorail! Monorail!

  18. Ian February 14, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    The idea of carrying cars from city to city is inherently non-sensical. The ‘dead-weight’ of the car plus the loading/unloading times and the additional cost of infrastructure with the capacity to support the loads all add to the logistical and cost problems.

    Why not simply carry passengers (and certain high value/low weight/low bulk freight) and provide membership of a car club or preferential access to car hire at the destination?

  19. Rex February 14, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    It’s great to explore how hydrogen as an alternative fuel can positively impact the environment. The National Hydrogen Association is supportive of creative projects such as this proposed solar-hydrogen powered transit system. Using hydrogen as an alternative fuel can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Combining this with production of hydrogen from solar energy through electrolysis creates a completely clean system – the only emission in the process is water. New ideas such as this are key to furthering our nation’s goal of a sustainable energy future, and we hope to see more projects such as this become a reality.

    Currently, California is currently leading the way developing the first hydrogen highway with other transit projects in progress. For example, the AC Transit system in the San Francisco, CA area has deployed 3 hydrogen fuel cell buses. You can even see the buses running in real time, monitor power usage and pollution reduction achieved by visiting their website bus stats page. Furthermore, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District is about the open a new hydrogen fueling station that generates hydrogen on-site via solar panels and electrolysis – the only ingredient that needs to be added is water http://www.smud.org/community-environment/evs/hydrogenfuelstation.html

    With the recent media exposure focusing on hydrogen cars, it is easy to overlook hydrogen’s versatility and how it can power different applications such as portable electronics and serve as emergency power. Millennium Cell, a fuel cell manufacturer, is preparing to launch a portable fuel cell unit to power small devices such as laptops: http://www.physorg.com/news118683361.html. Additionally, Motorola is preparing to rollout the first fuel cell powered cell phone by 2010: http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/15/angstrom-power-touts-hydrogen-fuel-cells-for-cellphones/

  20. Joseph C. Krause February 14, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    My concern involves the woman and man in the illustration of the passenger car who are facing away from the windows as it seems most passengers are expected to do. Are they positioned that way in this otherwise deserted car because that’s where they want to be or because it’s impossible to sit in the front seats where the windshield slopes down over where their heads are supposed to be, causing them major back problems while they try reading the newspaper article about how hydrogen economy is cartoon science?

    Are any cars fitted with lasers that go “PEW PEW”?

  21. Tanya February 14, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    The idea is fantastic – let’s hope it at least gets some creative minds working towards innovative options and out of the box thinking.

  22. James E February 14, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Why all the negative comments? bubble busters…….I live in the area and have heard talk of a rail system for a couple years now….The rail/conduit design makes me think of an oil pipeline…oil pipe lines seem to often come at great costs….does this idea really seem like a pipe dream people? I think such designs are on the right track……or rail

    Peace,
    James

  23. BIGJ February 14, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Someone wanted a local paper source – here it is 2yrs old. This apparently is recycled news.

    http://www.metrotimes.com/editorial/story.asp?id=9666

  24. Brendan Kuras February 14, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Well I have heard of a transit system from Ann Arbor to Detroit but it is still deep in the planning stages. I highly doubt the system will be futuristic like this. I have no idea where this information is coming from. The company’s website is vague and mediocre at best.

    http://semcog.org/AADD.aspx

    The SEMCOG website is a better source of information relating to the project since it is an official organization. This article should be presented as a “wouldn’t be cool?” instead of “looks whats coming!”

    There just isn’t enough information. Besides this article just copy/pastes from the Interstate Traveler website. Lets be realistic about this,

  25. Frank Westerlund February 14, 2008 at 11:14 am

    The articles are very difficult to print (correctly) in Firefox (I’m not sure of Internet Explorer). Why is there no “Print View” button option – or at least the ability to have the print look anywhere CLOSE to the actual page?

  26. Romag February 14, 2008 at 2:01 am

    It refers to those half circle cargo canisters as “international air cargo canisters”. They aren’t: they are SAA cans, they fit smaller aircraft like the 727 and have pretty much been replaced with the bigger AMJ cans. Neither the AMJ nor the SAA can is shipped ‘internationally’ because they are fairly easily stolen by locals, and turned into houses in 2nd and 3rd world countries. Cargo companies ship international cargo on large aluminum pallets that resemble cookie sheets.

  27. Jack Flanders February 14, 2008 at 1:31 am

    Ah, so this is completely fake. The idea that this will ‘start construction’ next year is made up. If a system like this anywhere in the nation actually existed, it would be front page news every day in the local paper (like light rail and street cars are in Seattle). Can someone give a link to a local Michigan paper where they talk about this project, the funding, construction information, editorials, etc? No? Because it doesn’t exist. If something like this was real, even close, Popular Science would have devoted a whole issue to it. And that web site was basement homebrew at best….not a real construction company site.

  28. Eric Boyd February 14, 2008 at 1:02 am

    I’ve seen several schemes like this before, most recently I reviewed one which has entered the Automotive X Prize:

    Roane Inventions TriTrack.

    It’s a lot more feasible than this scheme, because the vehicles are dual-mode (they also travel on the streets at NEV speeds: 25 MPH), and they are light enough that the elevated tracks are much simpler (read cheaper) to install.

    But it’s probably still pie in the sky :-(

  29. Andres February 14, 2008 at 12:54 am

    It seems like no-one took the time to actually read the description of the design before they began to attack it.

    Regardless of whether or not you think its practical, it says nowhere in the article that this design will actually be implemented.

    How can we move on to better ideas when we all seem so desperate to tear each other’s down?

    It will take true inspiration and a combined effort to solve the dilemmas of our energy crisis.

  30. Omar February 14, 2008 at 12:22 am

    Give me a break. This has been pie in the sky for years and will go nowhere. The principals in this maldeavor are mired in high-school science fantasy (right, fantasy, not even fiction) mode. Furthermore, there has been no announcement of neither approval nor actual construction schedule. NONE. This will NEVER be built in Michigan, nor anywhere else, for that matter. Poorly conceived, designed, documented and publicized. Mahesh Basantani would be well served to check his facts rather than act as a shill for this group of daydreamers.

    The fantastic sums of money required for this boondoggle could support a very decent multi-tier public rail/bus transport network throughout Southeastern Michigan for years. Heaven forbid that we pursue simpler solutions first.

  31. matt February 14, 2008 at 12:11 am

    The thing about mass transit in Detroit, the Motorcity, is that it must involve moving cars as well as people. The reason ideas like these are so rare in MI is because the automakers have lobbied against them for years, as they believe people would stop buying/using cars and their profits would be affected. As a metro-Detroiter myself, I’d love to see this!!!….buuut, I’ve never heard anything about it until now. Until I see it in my local paper, it’s bogus.

  32. Jimmy in michigan February 13, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    I have met with the MagLev people in Penn, they have great dreams and zero realities to speek of.
    I work in ann arbor and travel around the state as a salesmen, I have yet to go from ann arbor to detroit in a single run, there is nothing connecting the two cities together, although you do have to pass the airport. did anyone find the press release for this?

  33. Jay February 13, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    It’s a Kilowatt hour… Kilowatt x Hour not kilowatts per hour.

    A kilowatt hour is a sustained draw of a kilowatt for one hour. e.g. 10 x 100 watt lightbulbs = 1 kilowatt (total draw). Leave ‘em on for an hour and you’ve just burnt a kilowatt hour.

    To be pedantic, energy is measured in joules, and watts measure power (1 watt = 1 joule per second)… so if you want to talk about total energy used, you gotta multiply power by a time term… hence KW x H.

  34. Jim Blevins February 13, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    This plan is so flawed that Bush might just go for it. Forget that the so called Hydrogen future is just a myth. It takes a huge sourse of energy to create free hydrogen. The sourse of that energy is currently from fossil fuels or nuclear. There is little chance that solar and wind energy will produce a fraction of the power needed to replace our transportation system. Yeah…it is possible to get hydrogen with a windmill from water….and in about 10 years you might get enough to run your car half way to town. Get Real. Children, go back to school and learn your math. Three or four zeros and decimal places don’t sound like a big obstacle unless you understand math. Ideas like this sound so wonderful, but are totally bogus. The zeros and dollars just don’t add up. This stuff belongs in a comic book, not put up to be taken seriously. You are giving the internet a bad name pushing fairytales like this.

  35. mike February 13, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    @ Will and Andros: You probably know already, but newer amorphous solar panels, don’t have a steep drop off in efficiency with overcast skies or partial shading. It’s possible they plan on using this newer technology. With older panels, partial shading could render the panel essentially useless. The amorphous panels–with a 10% reduction in solar irradiation– would drop electrical output by around 10%. Solar is still possible in northern climes. The cold is actually an advantage.

    @ Paul: Power companies charge in kilowatt -hours. It’s not divided by hours, it’s multiplied by hours. Since a watt is already a rate (divided by time), multiplying by time cancels out the time that is part of the watt.

  36. Sellers February 13, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    Well, Ann Arbor is the shining star of Michigan right now, so Detroit would benefit from the connection to this booming college town. Couple this with the plans for rail from the northern Ann Arbor cities into Ann Arbor and you start to create a mass transist system in michigan, not seen since the inter-urbans were bought out by General Motors.

  37. anonymous February 13, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    I met these guys before. I was working some place that these type of people ended up all the time. I don’t want to go into that any more. BUT, think about it. Why Michigan?! They want to build it from Detroit to Traverse or something like that if I remember right. Ok. Detroit proper has less than 1 million people. Traverse has far, FAR less. Toronto via Detroit to Chicago would make sense…

    When I talked to these guys it was about 2 1/2 years go. They couldn’t answer any of my questions then, and it doesn’t look like they got any further.

    I love the idea, but…

  38. spacemission February 13, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Umm yeah, I live in Michigan and have never heard of any of this crap. It’s not going to happen in even 20 years, not while Detroit still calls itself Motor City.

  39. Fred Snertz February 13, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    I live in Ann Arbor and commute to Detroit, as I have lived here all my life.

    I cannot stress how much this smells like a scam.

    Detroit and Ann Arbor absolutely NEED a reliable passenger rail system connecting the 2 cities – indeed, such a line should also include Detroit Metro Airport, and ideally be extended northward into Oakland and Macomb counties. There’s been plenty of talk about a conventional light rail system that has a good deal of support. Likelihood of execution of such a line skews low, what with all the tax and funding issues on the line in this dead-last state economy.

    I barely trust the various government officials in places of power to execute a standard light rail system. For something like this? This? This is nothing short of a pipe dream that wreaks of scam and/or government waste from any angle.

    Construction to be set to start this year? With nary a mention by any local news outlet? It’s an outright lie.

    Solar and hydropower? The auto companies would sooner jump on that talent pool before this venture could ever get off the ground.

    As much as I’m for interurban rail in SE Michigan, this ludicrousness of this story actually ANGERS me.

  40. paul February 13, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Due Rail! Due Rail! Say it with me now. Does this really sound like a good idea for Michigan. With a city lke Detroit fallling apart from mortgage foreclosures. This just sounds like a wierd simpsons episode. Good luck though. I love early adopters. Makes me want to go try it out if they build it. I get some freah berries there too. They have great Bluberries there. Size of a small baby’s paw, I tell you.

  41. chris February 13, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    “watts per hour” is what your power company uses to charge you for your usage. Better known as kilowatts per hour or kw/h

  42. andros February 13, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    lol except there is one thing everyone is forgetting, MICHIGAN HAS GRAY SKIES.

    lol i would be surprised if they get more than 60% of their predicted ammount of sunlight to hit these things.

    also, what about snow and ice? are they going to have someone scraping off all the snow/ice when it comes down and coats these things?

    its a nice idea but michigan weather will just shit all over this thing.

  43. MAM February 13, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    What electromagnetic fields would people be exposed to?….

  44. Richard G. February 13, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    In a “do everything” system like this, there are a lot of security issues. With so many utilities in a single, long conduit, it could be a prime target for terrorism (e.g., a well placed Ryder truck). Also, having so many systems on a single network (if I’m reading that right) would allow any hackers to do a lot of damage (e.g., de-energize a section of rail while a train is moving on it).

    I hope that any such issues would have been thought of but, as recent experience indicates, it should not be taken as a given.

  45. John February 13, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    If this happens, it will be amazing. Michigan, Detroit in particular, has been in need of a good mass transit system of some kind and this would be great to pave the way for more development for the city of Detroit. Hopefully we could also build similar systems going to the north and south instead of just west. It seems too good to be true, but I sincerely hope this happens.

  46. oakling February 13, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    At first I was disappointed that this was so far from me, but upon reflection I think it would be awesome if this started out in the middle of the country… so much eco-stuff starts on the edges and just sits there and doesn’t spread.

  47. Tim February 13, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Although this looks and sounds like a fantastic idea it does look more like a Uni project rather than a viable solution that has actually been thought through. Has anyone actually checked to see if this is a ‘real’ development?

    Something of this scale would surely have more information and better imagery than a few hand drawn sketches and random claims!?!? There would have to be a prototype somewhere that has been tested for durability, maintenance issues, safety, build costings and efficiency…just to name a few! I also find it bizaar that all the designs have single carriage schemes rather than multiple! I mean if that was a good and efficient idea we’d see more trains like that right now!

    That being said I would love to see something like this actually built and running. I seriously doubt that would happen in the above format….ever.!

  48. lars February 13, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Folks, this looks like a scam. If they start building this in 2009 I’ll eat my pants. Investors beware.

  49. brian goldner February 13, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    this sounds cool, i hope it gets funded
    btw, there isn’t such a thing as “watts per hour.” You probably mean that it would generate 848,000 watts during peak time. Watts is a measurement of power, which is merely energy per time. so saying watts per hour is like saying energy per time per time…

  50. David February 13, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    I’m all for futuristic mass transit ideas, and this takes the cake in my opinion. I’m more however inclined to believe electric powered cars, getting power from the street (sort of like a slot car), is far more realistic and likely. Electric highway lanes could be street level and partitioned – so people don’t get fried on the electrical pickup. Less costly and an easier transition on and off the lanes.

  51. sylrayj February 13, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    I probably read it wrong, but oh, what a wonderful idea, to drive your car up onto an overland ‘ferry’ to go from city to city… Use a more efficient means of transport to deliver you and you vehicle between cities, while you ride in a coach and maybe doze or work on your laptop. It’d be particularly useful for someone who regularly travels between cities, or someone planning an extended vacation using their own car.

  52. peteathome February 13, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Where did you get the information that an actual award has been made? I looked around and could find no notice of what would have to be a HUGE award to develop, test and integrate an entirely new system.

    I checked the Interstate Traveler site and the only product I could find were some short animations.

  53. James February 13, 2008 at 11:16 am

    what’s cool about the info conduit being in the elevated rails is that could enhance accessibility for repair and upgrades.

  54. Hugo February 13, 2008 at 4:51 am

    I don’t know about this project, very risky and, in my opinion, doomed to fail. At least in the intentioned idea. If one looks at the filling of the highway during rush hour, one can not solve this by putting these cars in boxes the size of houses (a even bigger jam will occur).

    Furthermore, a maglev experiment in Germany showed the advantages of magnetic rails, but this experiment used this magnetic levitation as propulsion for the carts, switching magnets on and of, creating a wave in which the carts move. A relatively simple, “green” and efficient propulsion if maglev is intended to be used anyway.

    I think this project is fawlty in design, an investment of this magnitude can buy you a way better system of transport with bigger advantages, more prestigious and more sustainable (especially regarding the livecycle of the system). An investment like this should create a standard on which the rest of the country (world) should adapt.

  55. Will February 13, 2008 at 4:34 am

    Wow, nice looking scheme. Sort of ‘big’ personal rapid transit – the same raised guideways, off-line stations, automated pods and so on … is this really going to get off the drawing board this year, or would it just be nice? I am surprised that we have not heard about it before, as usually it takes YEARS to get the necessary planning / test the design of a new system like this. Especially if you’re going to integrate the conduction of services (which is a very sensible idea if it happens).

    The solar panels look very improbably placed – surely the guide rails will shade them for a good portion of the day?

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