Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Airship based mass transit

Wire guided public transport system for a high rise city (using airships)
  (+18, -1)(+18, -1)
(+18, -1)
  [vote for,

First posting to this site so go easy (particularly if this idea has come up before)....

A high level nework of cables connecting tall buildings around a high rise city. Gantries would hold the wires away from the buildings and act as access points from 'stations' where people could get on and off - say at floor 20 or 30. Helium airships would be numerous rather than large with each holding 15-20 people.

The individual units float along below the wires so that the wires can support the car in case of deflation.

Great for congestion and for a sustainable edge you could probably make the airships solar powered

The structural engineering of the gantries needed to hold the wires away from the buildings would need some thingking and these would need to be made of pretty light weight materials, but the cables would not be supporting weight (except in emergencies) so should not be too hard to support.

brained, Jul 11 2005

For the Search impaired Groundbound_20Airsh...for_20High_20Travel
Not entirely the same idea, you'll be pleased to hear. But blimps and dirigibles are, understandably, an old favorite of this site. [DrCurry, Jul 11 2005]

For extended distances http://bz.pair.com/fun/electricAero.html
[Worldgineer, Jul 12 2005]

Suspension Buildings Suspension_20Buildings
Brought this to my mind. Shamelessly. [daseva, Jul 14 2005]


       You might want to read up on why using the Empire State Building as a dirigible tower was abandoned independently of the Hindenburg disaster.
DrCurry, Jul 11 2005

       I work on the 25th floor of a high rise building in London. I have no need to travel to any of the other high rise buildings in the city. Most people travel from their house, to work, and back home in the evening..
Minimal, Jul 12 2005

       thanks for your comments - I take your points though the idea of the network would be to travel to another building, then down to ground level, avoiding all og the ground level congestion between the two buildings. Musing on the subject though I think airspace is probable the biggest sticking point for this proposal.
brained, Jul 12 2005

       //Musing on the subject though I think airspace is probable the biggest sticking point for this proposal// Not to mention the fact that the buildings will have to be larger or be tha same size and have reduced paying floor-space to accomodate all the extra elevators.
coprocephalous, Jul 12 2005

       This could be great - You could have a tower reaching up from each mass transit station containing elevators/escalators that brought people high enough to use the tethered airships that would take them to other node-points throughout the city - it's no different from going on the underground, just in the opposite direction.
zen_tom, Jul 12 2005

       I really like this idea. With airbags carrying most of the weight, the guidance cables could be used to make these little blimps much faster than normal ones. Multiple levels could be used to make the whole thing more space efficient, and it would be much easier to rerig the network if the most-used routes changed for any reason. Maybe we could all have personal blimp-assisted flying cars which flew free outside the city and then got funnelled onto the wire network! Yay! This is what the 21st century was supposed to be about! When do I get my silver beanie and steak pills?
moomintroll, Jul 12 2005

       > I work on the 25th floor. Most people travel from their house, to work, and back home in the evening.   

       Then perhaps a flying fox for the trip home?   

not_only_but_also, Jul 14 2005

       I would say any ideas involving airships automatically get my vote, but the boundless imagination of someone here will probably contrive something that' s also gross.
nineteenthly, Jul 14 2005

       I have to admit, Airships don't float my boat.....
Minimal, Jul 14 2005

       Bring back dirigibles!   

       The gas bag goes above the cable, the seat goes below, and the cable is pinched by a grip mechanism between them, a sort of aerial cable car. There's enough slush space between units to allow brief stops. That way there need be no power generation aboard the conveyance itself, only a gripman to operate things.   

       Should a gasbag fail, there's enough strength in the cable to suspend the load to the next stop, passengers are all removed, and the empty car runs to the end of the line for repairs.   

       What's bad about this? It's visually poetic, redundantly strong, quiet, relatively inexpensive to install (stout posts and stations, terminus cable drives), sounds like a genuine winner! [+]
elhigh, Jul 14 2005

       A nice twist on the airship/dirigible theme - logically, wire guiding is about the only way an airship will ever be safe around tall structures. I like the way the gondola hangs below and the gasbag goes up top. Why not shape the gondola like a croissant? It would be a convenient and pleasing shape.   

       See you around [brained]!
wagster, Jul 14 2005

       it sounds like one of those amusement park skyrides.
-wess, Jul 14 2005

       [moom]'s outer limits roaming modification sealed the deal for me. [+]   

       Could you pass people? I'm thinking opposite forces, charges, balance both vehicles on opposite side of the cable, perhaps, even three can be bunched onto one space at a time.
daseva, Jul 14 2005

       I'm wondering about one thing. The gondola is designed to hold thirty people but the gantries and cables are not designed to support them - they don't have to because the airship will. What happens when those thirty people all get off and the airship is pulling upwards with a force equivalent to the weight of thirty people? Maybe you will need a system that will transfer helium between the airship and a cannister of compressed helium as people get on and off so that the net force on the cable is always at zero.
wagster, Jul 14 2005

       Constantly recompressing the stuff would be way too costly. Instead, perhaps a system of weights at every tower that loads a weight every time a person gets off and unloads a weight everytime a person gets on. Each weight is 150lbs or something... Or have dynamic weights with a system that detects the user's weights and loads/unloads/ a sepcific weight to keep the boat perfectly balanced at all times.
daseva, Jul 14 2005

       Apparently no one chose to follow-up on your suggestion, Curry.
waugsqueke, Jul 14 2005

       I didn't realise that [DrC] was serious, but it appears he was. Cut 'n paste:   

       "It was determined that the air drafts from the height of the building, the danger of explosions over a city, as well as the infeasibility of tying up a dirigible by a single rope caused the mooring mast on top of the Empire State Building to be unusable."   

       But then again, using the ESB as a mooring point for dirigibles was a fairly halfbaked idea in the first place and would have done well here.
wagster, Jul 15 2005

       airships in literature, "The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Fforde.
dentworth, Jul 15 2005

       // using the ESB as a mooring point for dirigibles //   

       Nonetheless, this is illustrated in "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow". (Yet another reference point of origin for this idea...)
waugsqueke, Jul 15 2005

       [wagster] & [waugsqueke] at the same time!, So it's true!
I also looked up what [DrCurry] said and found it fascinating.
Zimmy, Jul 15 2005

       Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC and you will understand what wind can do to balloons floating by.
MrDaliLlama, Jul 16 2005

krelnik, Jul 16 2005

       [Zimmy] - What's true? Me and [waugs] are different people, just ask [bliss].   

       [brained] - You have had your passport stamped by [krelnick], you may now proceed to customs.
wagster, Jul 16 2005

       In reply to [wagster] and [daseva]: water would make an easily transferable ballast. Just pump it in and out of the gondola as needed.
BunsenHoneydew, Jul 16 2005

       I have in a book (Lighter Than Air, found it Kroger of all places) an excellent picture of, I believe, the Akron standing on its nose at its mooring tower. Terrifying. Might be a numbered Navy ship.
elhigh, Jul 18 2005

       This system can and should be implemented. My city (Lahore,Pakistan) is not vertically oriented but has number of parks which can be used as stations. Brained have you run any numbers on the viability?
hasanmian, Oct 14 2007


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