The Bicycle Lanes of the Future


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Drawing of the BTS Transglide 2000 bicycle transit system.

As energy cost continues to rise or stabilize at a high level, the search for alternative cheap energy is the only way out. For a long time Europe has used the bicycle as a healthy, clean, and cheap means of transportation. For example, Amsterdam is considered the bicycle-friendly city of the world.

In Amsterdam it’s interesting to see people formally dressed in suit and tie and executive briefcases driving a bicycle to work. You don’t see that in Panama. That’s for sure. Another rare view, is a beautiful woman with a clean cut dress, a pearl necklace and fashion shoes taking a bicycle ride to go shopping to a nearby shopping center. Pets and children are also carried by their parents on a bike.

Another city that’s in love with bicycles is Paris, France. In Paris you can rent a bicycle as easy as renting a car at any major U.S. airport. Renting a bicycle in Paris is cheap, because the service is subsidized by advertising. It is estimated that more than 20,600 bicycles are rented in the City of Light at more than 1,450 self-service rental stations.

A bicycle is cheap, doesn’t require a drop of gasoline, it’s good for your health and doesn’t emit greenhouse gases. If only we had special bicycles lanes where people could drive their bicycles without getting hurt by passing cars. That would be like a dream come true.

Let me tell you that this dream is possible. A company under the name of Bicycle Transportation Systems, Inc. based in Centennial, Colorado has designed a special bicycle transit system dubbed, BTS Transglide 2000. This clever system increases mass mobility in urban centers at a fraction of the cost of traditional modes of mass transportation (i.e., subways, buses, trains, metros, and so forth).

According to BTS, the advantages of its unique bicycle transit system are:

  • Speeds faster than light rail, buses, or motor vehicles.
  • New strategy for mass transportation matches the carrying capacities of rail systems at an affordable cost.
  • Lower capital and operating costs will generate large profits and not require continuous subsidies.
  • Constant powered air movement in direction of riding removes air resistance allowing average riding speed of 25 miles per hour.
  • Cycling inside the Transglide 2000 is 90 percent more efficient than normal cycling outside the enclosed airflow enhanced system.
  • A low-cost, low-tech transportation solution to meet the challenge of providing affordable effective mobility that offers an alternative to the environmental problems created by increasing levels of motor vehicle use.

They are currently looking for partners who are interested in joint venture projects to build and operate this clean mass transportation system of the future. If you happen to work in public works and have a decision-making position in your organization, I would recommend you take a look at this wonderful project.

I’m crossing my fingers that somebody in the Ministry of Public Works in Panama is reading this post. It would be an excellent project to lessen the urban transit problems that are currently suffocating Panama City.

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