Source: The Economic Times, July 27, 2017
NEW DELHI: Mass rapid transportation technologies such as hyperloop, metrino and pod taxis could soon be a reality in India after Niti Aayog cleared half-a-dozen proposals of the transport ministry exploring options to improve public transport.
Following the go-ahead, the transport ministry has formed a six member committee, headed by a former top official of Railways, to study safety parameters associated with these technologies and global practices.
A senior government official at Niti Aayog told ET, the think tank approved the proposals of the transport ministry with a condition that the ministry conducts trial run of all these technologies and puts in place safety measures before starting commercially operation.
“These new technologies are path breaking and can alter the way of intercity travel in the country. Since we don’t have any such thing in India, we need to know the global safety standards and ensure that these technology companies are following it,” a senior transport ministry official said. “Even for the pilot project, passenger safety is paramount,” the transport ministry official added.
The ministry of road transport and highways sought the approval of Niti Aayog to experiment and introduce six latest mass rapid transportation technologies. These technologies include metrino, stadler buses, hyperloop, pod taxis, hybrid buses and freight rail road.
The new technologies are being explored as current public transportation is unable to resolve the increasing traffic crisis in the country. Besides, some of them are more cost effective than the existing ones.
Once these safety parameters are tried and tested and the pilot run is successful, some of them including metrino, could be up for running by next year’s end. “Something like metrino (pod taxis) is almost one tenth of the cost of the metro, so there’s a cost advantage as well. However, technologies such as hyperloop can take some time but we would like them to come to India,” the official said, adding land has been proposed for the hyperloop project.
Under the hyperloop transportation mechanism, a pod-like vehicle is propelled through a near-vacuum tube connecting cities at speeds matching that of an aircraft while under the freight rail road proposal, elevated corridors would be built with rail lines where freight trucks can be placed and then they would move on rails at high speed, reducing freight time and increasing freight quantity.