A few years ago, HOV lanes, cleaner-running engines and metro rail systems were cutting edge innovations to reduce emissions from an increasing number of cars on the roads. Today, however, it is apparent that yesterday’s solutions are not sufficient for tomorrow’s pollution problems. Green has become smarter, leaner and more aggressive. While we do not yet have cars fueled by water, such an idea is not nearly as far-fetched as it was a few years ago. Let’s take a trip into tomorrow and check out some great green transportation ideas that are in the works.
Imagine raising your sail, not to catch the winds, but to capture the brilliant rays of the sun and turn them into energy to fuel your vehicle. This idea is actually already in its trial stage, just not here on the terrestrial level. Solar sails of today belong to an experimental inter-planetary vehicle launched by the Japanese. Currently in use, IKAROS is an experimental craft utilizing thin solar sails to capture the energy of the sun and thrust the craft through space. Space travel might not be in your plans, but perhaps we could adapt the solar sail idea to something a bit more down to earth.
(Photo credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center)
Aruba will soon be home to the world’s first hydrogen-run rail system. The new streetcar system, set to debut in 2014, will allow Aruba to offer public transportation that fuels itself. Taking advantage of the island’s trade winds, which blow 10 miles-per-hour year round, the three streetcars will be completely self-sustainable. Of course, the system may be harder to establish in areas that have less predictable winds, but Aruba is setting a high bar for other countries to follow. According to Before It’s News, Aruba’s trending green public transit system is being designed and built by Los Angeles-based TIG/m Modern Street Railways.
If you think transitioning to a hybrid vehicle means giving up speed and performance, think again. Coming soon to an awestruck world is the 2014 La Ferrari. This hybrid car sacrifices nothing in its quest to bring green and speed to the altar. The 950hp engine is predicted to go from 0 to 62 miles per hour in less than three seconds and can make its way to 124 mph in less than seven. That is some serious smoking, especially for a vehicle that charges its batteries via the braking system and features two separate engines: one to turn the wheels and the other to run the accessories. Who says green has to be slow and boring?
(Photo credit: Romain Bihore)
Bike Transit System
What could be easier on the environment than a transit system that uses absolutely no combustible fuel and no motors of any kind? You may not have this in your city, but Chattanooga, Tennessee is one step ahead of the game with its Bicycle Transit System. Designed to cut down on commuter traffic and the inevitable pollution that comes with it, the bicycle system utilizes bike stations rather than train stations. Check in at a station and grab a bike 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The city has a membership program but makes available 24-hour passes for visitors to the city. Visitors can access the transit system’s website and download a mobile application to help them find a bike station and start navigating the city on two wheels rather than four. Wouldn’t it be great if every major city had an emission-free system like this?
(Photo credit: Elly Blue)
The city of Munich has a particularly innovative transportation approach, featuring their new “mo” system. An integrated system of bikes, cargo bikes, electric bikes, cars and public transit systems, users are allowed access to all types of transportation but are rewarded for choosing more eco-friendly versions with lower costs. While this is already underway in Europe, here’s hoping it will soon begin to catch on in more cities around the globe!