Future Of Transportation For Megacities? The Train. - Forbes
It’s easy in America to think of trains with lots of nostalgia and little else. We are so firmly grounded in the culture of cars that when we envision our future of transportation, we can’t see the humble train breaking free of its roots in the past. But the train is going through a reinvention that will make it even more important to the future of transportation than it already is.
How to get around a megacity
The number of megacities – cities with over 10 million people – rose from 14 in 1995 to 29 in 2016, according to the UN. And it’s still growing. By 2050, around 75% of the world’s population will live in urban areas.
With so many people crammed into our cities, individually owned cars are likely to become rare; the future of transport will shift to mass rapid transit systems like trains. But here’s the challenge: many of the world’s fastest growing cities are located in Asian and African countries, where little to no metro rail infrastructure currently exists.
While more developed metropolitan areas will need to upgrade and expand existing transportation systems, newer cities will often be starting from scratch. But that clean slate can be a blessing in disguise. Upgrading existing infrastructure without disrupting city life is incredibly difficult – just ask New York City.
Transit networks need to be flexible
What these emerging megacities need are transport networks that can be built quicker than conventional rail systems, at a lower cost. Which is exactly what Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) systems offer.
Unlike conventional trams and trains, these systems use rubber tires on paved surfaces rather than rails. This means AGT vehicles can travel through tighter curves and up steeper slopes than traditional rail, allowing for higher flexibility in route planning.