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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Technology Note: Travel Pod

Air Date: Week of March 22, 2002

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Living on Earth’s Cynthia Graber reports on a new system of public transportation – the travel pod.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Just ahead, bringing a Native American tongue back from the brink of extinction. First, this Environmental Technology Note from Cynthia Graber.

[THEME MUSIC UP AND UNDER]

GRABER: It's white, it's light, and it'll zip past traffic to get you to your destination. It's your own travel pod, part of a new public transportation system called "Urban Light Transport," or ULTra. Cardiff, the capital of Wales, is the test site for the ULTra pods that will be posted at designated stops along the city streets. Commuters hop in and program their destination into a computer. The pod, which fits four passengers, glides along at about 25 miles per hour. A computer system keeps it from colliding with other ULTras along a network of tracks that take up only about half as much space as a car lane.

When you reach your desired stop, the pod door opens and out you go. Designers say the ULTra system should cost about half as much as a conventional light rail system, while providing reliable and regular service. And since they'll run on batteries that recharge at every stop, the pods will reduce inner city pollution, along with congestion and the need for parking space. The first system should be running Cardiff by 2004. Advanced Transport Systems Limited, the company developing the pods, is already in discussion with governments around the world about bringing ULTra travel pods to other cities, maybe one near you. That's this week's Technology Note. I'm Cynthia Graber.

[MUSIC UNDER]

CURWOOD: And you're listening to Living on Earth.

[MUSIC: Jeff Buckley, "Hallelujeah," GRACE (Sony - 1994)]

 

 

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