Friday, 21 October 2011


row houses typology

Taxi of tomorrow: The space-age pods with no driver, no fumes... just a 'start' button

Last updated at 6:22 PM on 17th August 2009

A driverless taxi has been unveiled which could make traffic jams, petrol fumes and crowded buses a thing of the past.
The futuristic pod has no driver, and no opinionated chatter to accompany your journey, but instead a button set in the wall with the word 'start' written beside it.

The British-designed personal rapid transport (PRT) system is a four-passenger vehicle which is being rolled out next year at Heathrow Terminal 5

A visitor tries out the driverless pod at the Science Museum, where it is on display before becoming part of the Heathrow fleet next year

Professor Martin Lowson, the inventor, seated inside
The four-seater cab was unveiled at the Science Museum in London yesterday and will be in use from next year taking passengers between car parks and Terminal 5.
The man behind the mission, Professor Martin Lowson, who has a background in space travel and worked on the Saturn V Rocket, said: 'They could have the same effect on transport this century as the rocket had on the 19th.'
He added: 'We believe that our PRT system can transform cities in the 21st century to provide the optimum form of environmentally friendly urban transport, relieving congestion and reducing emissions.'
The bubble-shaped taxis are battery-powered and passengers select their destination from a touch screen.

Once the destination has been chosen, the control system logs the request and sends a message to the vehicle, which then follows an electronic pathway.
During the journey, a passenger can press a button to speak to the controller if necessary.
Prof Lowson has been working on the taxis with Bristol-based Advanced Transport Systems since 1995.

Inside the taxi - the futuristic controls (left), and windows, which appear clear from the inside

Easy rider: A passenger tries out the driverless cab

A test run of how the cabs could work takes place in Birmingham
At Heathrow, 18 vehicles have been bought to transport passengers and their luggage from the Terminal 5 Business Car Park to the terminal, which will take between three and four minutes.

About 500,000 passengers are expected to use the Heathrow PRT system each year.
Bath and Daventry councils are considering ordering the cabs, and ATS has already received enquiries from America, the Middle East and India.

Drawing inspiration from science fiction? The Logan's Run car was a driverless pod

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Hi, just while looking up info for neighbourhoods have been coming across alot of things in relation to Freiburg, Germany especially Vauban thats mainly relating to Transport strategy, is on a smaller scale (city of 210,000 and Vauban 5,000) but basically it sounds like what they have been doing is similar to us in idea- communal garages etc, hierarchy for transport i.e. big car routes, public transport routes, play routes (similar to our 'green' streets in usage i think) etc, their smaller 'play streets' have a 3-5m wide pavement, 1m of which has a lowered curb so occasionally when needs be larger delivery type lorries can drive on it. They have also judging from pics got trams running on rails through the 'grassy' strip of land separating pavements from the car roads with trees between two which breaks up the wider streets a bit. I'm in neighbourhood group but think also links into transport for ideas.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Place Diagram

I found this diagram showing that a successful public space should consist of 4 things:
  1. Accessibility
  2. Activities
  3. Comfort
  4. Sociability
The picture helps to define how successful or not a space can be, depending on whether or not these factors have been carefully considered.