The Ongoing initiative for building Helical escalator and moving walkways.

More at: Future of Transportation web site


Parallel Gravity Train

This documents propose is to explain my research assumptions for developing an urban transportation system for the cities of the future.

Gravity trains
Gravity trains is the general name for train systems that uses the gravitational field of the earth as their primary drive force. Once launched they accelerate and decelerate using Gravitation and typically carry no motor or engine.

Roller-coasters are well known example of gravity trains, the technology of roller-coasters advanced constantly during the last century and today they reach extremely high performances for velocities and geometries. An up-to-date roller coaster system has an excellent gliding rate and can travel 3 kilometers for every 100 meters of elevation. Applying these systems into the contemporary city is highly beneficial and has numerous advantages particularly in the field of energy consumption.

Parallel Gravity Train
The idea of getting the roller-coasters out of the amusement parks and into the city is old, but yet no one has managed to produce a valid and feasible solution for it. The main problem until now was the safety issues rising when riding a three dimensional curvature path, in roller coasters riders are restrain to their seats using safety measures which are clearly not suitable for urban transportation.

Combining urban transportation and roller coasters technology into a single system creates the necessity of keeping the parallel movement of the train-car to the ground at all times. A steady parallel movement will allow a safe ride and the development of particularly efficient transportation systems.

In order to prove my mechanical assumptions for a steady parallel movement I have conceived and constructed a model, the model was tested on various curved rail segments and with different loads where it showed excellent behavior keeping a steady and parallel movement to the ground.

Rail engagement
Choosing to experiment with a circular cut section rail makes the rail segments simple to manufacture transport and assemble. Tubular beams are widely used in architecture and structures for their properties and have countless references in reality.
The suggested rail engagement withstand all requirements of wheel surface contact and load bearings.
The engagement is also free at its top allowing the rails to be supported from above with any chosen structural method.

Rail structure
The rail structure plays an important role in the overall efficiency of the system, designing a light and supple structure will allow to use its displacement in order to add energy to the general cycle, and to compensate for the lost energy from frictions with the air and rails.
It is well known that the lighter a structure is, the greater its displacement will be. Structures are also well known for their movement under loads of winds, relatively low winds can bring a structure to self oscillate or to resonate to the point its absorbing large amounts of energy, these energies are powerful to the point they can bring a structure to severe mechanical failures and even destruction.

This research will show it is possible to take advantage of the wind forces upon the rail structure to plan and control the movements of the structure, with the aim is using this phenomena to add the energy needed to compensate for the lost friction forces and to move the train cars efficiently along their path.

The rail structure is probable to have a multidimensional wave form, a derivative of the structures movements and the optimal path found in the research conclusions.

Today’s high rise cities consist with many buildings effecting the city’s wind regimes, turbulence formed around building are well known and in many cases studied and measured, the study will show it is possible to use these forces as well to improve the efficiency of the system.
An additional research will be carried to explore contemporary tools for dynamic structural systems, with the intention of constructing a prove-of-concept model allowing the required movement of the structure and proving all above assumptions.

System design
In order to produce a valid transportation system for the cities of the future I intend to incorporate contemporary methods and conclusions for future urban transport. Large scale usage scenarios and advanced switching methods will determine the systems viability for the urban environment, a successful design will pave the way for new systems to rise in the multiple layered cities existing today. It is important to understand that the system intends to serve existing cities and to require minimum intervention in order to incorporate it in its existing buildings and infrastructures.

It will be preferable to incorporate various parties of the public sector and industries early in the design phase and to take advantage of their existing experience and knowledge.

A morphological design research will be carried to provide several goals, at first the design of a friendly and pleasant user experience, the design process will address issues as interface, ergonomics, general design of a single car and its effect on the overall systems appearance.
An aerodynamic study will be carried with the aim of reducing air friction for the single car and for cars arranged in groups.

System Architecture
The implementation of such a system in the existing city requires a wide research in urban planing and architecture. It will show the many benefits of using such a system in the sense of energy consumption, noise reduction, increasing capacities and their impact on the life and economics of the city.


Michel David / 2009


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