Traffic congestion causes irritation to and reduced productivity for those stuck in it, increased dependence on foreign oil, negative health effects, and environmental degradation. Why do we put up with it? Because until now there has been no solution. The SEGway is the solution to traffic congestion. SEGway stands for Smart Electric Guideway. SEGway is, of course, a play on the musical term "segue," which is pronounced the same and means "to proceed without pause from one musical number or theme to the next." SEGway provides such a transition, form trip origin to trip destination, without changing vehicles, and avoiding traffic congestion.

SEGway is a transportation system with four main parts:

  1. A battery-powered electric car which you own, lease, or short-term rent. The local street system which you drive on in the car between your trip origin and the nearest SEGway on ramp of the SEGway off ramp nearest your destination to your destination.
  2. Smart carts which you car rides on when on the guideway between on ramp and off ramp. The smart carts are powered by electricity and while on the smart cart your car's battery is being charged.
  3. The guideway, the structure on which the smart carts ride, is a network of bi-directional guideways stretching across the urban region. The guideways would share existing freeway and railroad rights of way and would normally be aerial structures.
The smart carts would not physically attach to each other when they are traveling down the guideway. They would run at very close intervals. Spacing and leaving and entering the main guideway would be controlled by routing algorithms.

SEGway uses clean, short-range electric vehicle technology on a guideway system that provides for longer, non-stop urban/suburban trips. The SEGway electric cars are kept charged by the system. Therefore, for example, there is no chance that an emergenc y in the middle of the night cannot be served because of a low battery charge. The electric car could, of course, be plugged in at other places when necessary.

At times when the system has excess capacity, the smart carts could carry containers of freight and mail to distribution stations, large companies, the airport, etc., and be used for just-in-time warehousing for manufacturers and large retailers.

Event ually urban areas might be connected with higher-speed guideways and smart carts. These high-speed smart carts would probably use the then-existing, lower-speed urban guideway networks in each city to access local stations.

SEGway is expected to operate at mph and with 30 ft spacing of smart carts. The maximum throughput would then be 10,500 vehicles/hour in each direction. Note, 10,500 vehicles is 6 to 7 times the hourly throughput of a congested freeway lane. The SEGway concept optimizes the combination of the developing technologies of electric cars, intelligent guideways, smart carts, billing systems, and network routing algorithms. It provides an alternative for communities with nonattainment problems, lon g commutes, and/or no rail public transportation available. It would be appealing to environmentally aware people who cannot give up the mobility afforded by owning a car and using it daily.

Initially, while the electric car fleet in the urban area is being built up, conventional vehicles could be carried, which would have an immediate positive impact by reducing tailpipe emissions and highway congestion.

A Typical SEGway Commute