Gallery: Solar-Powered Personal Urban Transit System of the Future


Michigan-based designer Dave Owsen, has conceived of a futuristic transportation solution that provides for private urban transportation via a system of rails and transport cells. In his design, private “cells” or transport cars move on tracks throughout the city, and individuals or small parties can choose their exact destination. Inspired by living plant cells, which are both autonomous and powered by the sun, each cell in the transit system contains photovoltaics to generate renewable energy.

Each individual cell contains two seats facing each other and is large enough for two adults and cargo, or an adult and two small children. One side of the narrow cell has a sliding door that opens to let the passengers in and out. The opposite wall is stationary and contains a touch-screen interface to select the route and destination. Two monorails parallel each other, which enables moving cells to bypass cells that are arriving or departing from a stop.

The “Community Transit” system would also enable local shipping from business to business with cargo cells, which have the same size openings as a shipping container. As Owsen says, “Cargo cells create incentive for small business peer-to-peer shipping that stimulates local business cooperation.” The windows of each cell feature an organic dye developed by researchers at MIT that concentrates light to the window’s edge, where it is converted to electricity by solar cells bordering the surface.

+ Dave Owsen

Via Green Muze


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  1. Sean Benghiat February 6, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Hi Bridgette Meinhold is there a possibility that you have an origin link for this work as I have a project we are undertaking at University for my Masters in Civil Engineering and we are looking at different ULTra PRT Systems and the development of these systems

  2. net_worker April 12, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Moving track systems are like large flywheels with circumferential bearings … I.E. Kinetically inefficient. Mag-Lev would solve some of the question of efficiencies, however, it would make the system depicted in this sketch susceptible to grid-lock. multi-trunk main thoroughfares will be necessary.

  3. Eric Hunting April 8, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    This is one of the smartest PRT design concepts I’ve seen in a decade. It neatly solves all the classic issues of PRT design; mixed passenger, utility, cargo use, support for varying cab forms and sizes, support for automated cargo transfer, transition between suspended and supported transit, transition between vertical and horizontal transit, bi-directional guideways, disabled user access, architectural integration, street-level access, minimum guideway construction cost, minimalist cab design for easy mass production. This design is just plain brilliant all around. If this thing isn’t prototyped in 5 years, every civil and transportation engineer in world needs to hang their head in shame.

  4. alexjameslowe April 5, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Really really cool! I can’t wait until someone actually builds something like this.

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