Collection of Comments about the CarTube proposal – slightly edited by J. Schneider 12-12-16
CarTube website URL is:

All such infrastructure-heavy “solutions” are nonstarters. For the most part, we don’t need new transportation infrastructure. We just need to make better use of the infrastructure we have.

“Cartube” only works for electric cars, and those are likely to be the exception rather than the rule for many years. The claim that cartube requires “comparatively minor capital investment” reminds me of hyperloop, which Musk said would cost $7.5 million a mile and is now expected to cost $75 million a mile.

It has been clear to me for years that this concept is the future of urban transportation. Some observations:

"Car" should be interpreted loosely. The system works well with 3-wheeled electric motorcycles.

At 50 km/hr, a single-ocupancy car needs 31 kW per person; a commuter train uses 6.5; a streamlined motorcycle 0.64. If the system is operated at 50 km/hr, it is considerably faster than any existing form of urban transportation.

A 10-15 kg battery is sufficient for urban vehicles weighing less than the riders. Light batteries can be swapped robotically, ending range anxiety. The bank of batteries needing recharge enables wind and solar energy. The entire system can run off renewable energy.

The concept of an underground tube being married to the most inefficient mobility technology (4 wheeler) appears bizarre...only for car users? 

The world is indeed fixated with the 4 wheel system trying to move 1 / 1.3 persons...unfortunately the hype promoted by automotive companies has completely eroded the conception of reality ie. the possibility of a travel group of a size >1.5 is <10% statistically - duly proven from any urban car occupancy surveys around the world. It simply does not make sense to cater to the 90% of the eventuality and build a solution around an over hype.

Going underground is expensive. Life cycle cost of a system like this even with automation & platooning technologies is going to be way higher than the same cars on the road at grade per passenger km attended.

Also the entire fleet to be electrical may be too much of an ask unless owned by a single entity and used as shared assets by people.

Prima-facie does not enthuse ROI wise. 

Environmental advantage - Yes

Economic Advantage - Maybe

Commercial Advantage - No

Socio economically virtually no mode shift from other modes can be expected, for realistic / better returns on investment

Apart from nice graphics, "silly" is the word that best describes CarTube.

It is just another ludicrous example of the engulfing corruption entirely caharacteristic of the
pre-Brexit/Trump milieu of endlessly dull European Union policy frameworks for investment
research, dishing out funding for hopeless projects encircled by desperate hangers on trying to
validate their ascension into the realms of "za (undeservedly awarded) eliterie"... pardon my pig
French but pidgeon English is incapable of describing the sheer stupidity of CarTube!

If pigs could fly!

Such projects are driven by Grant application writers and media spin dilitantes and the
politically twisted award criteria determned to eliminate individuals and foster talent free teams
where social equalisation is the desired outcome more than identifying genial leaders with ideas
worth seriously looking at.

Socialism is the most destructive force unleashed on humanity.

CarTube demonstrates the ultimate intention of socilalism to destroy the individual and loose him
(or her) in the crowds of the desperate. Anything is better than this! Pooooph!

CarTube shows no potential in reality that free market fundamentalists (like me) anchor in real
business potential for realising what will in fact actually work in reality.


It is beautifully done, as you say. In principle it follows TEV micro tunnel concept so it is much the same concept as TEV in urban areas. There is virtually no technical detail. 

The best part is that it adds to the convergence of technologies into a genuinely different and better electric transport. Gotta love it.


First impressions.

The car tube concept features a number of laudable approaches.  

Among them:

1]  The introduction of a new elevation allows continuous traffic flow by avoiding the maze of present infrastructure on the surface.  Two level underground interchanges enables the underground path to propose a very useable grid system without incurring traffic flow interruptions. 

2]  The use of new technology allows autonomous vehicles to platoon and thus greatly increases capacity.  Electric motors or belt drives reduce, among other benefits, underground tunnel ventilation requirements.

3]  The emergence of automated "Uber/Lyft" concepts greatly reduce the not-to-be-underestimated "parking" costs in expensive areas.

4]  The realization that modest - 40mph - but uninterrupted transit would be a major advance for the vast majority of world travel is to be applauded. 

5]  The system eliminates large vehicles and thus decreases real estate requirements.  The required needs of trucks have made urban freeways impossible.

On the other hand:

    Tunneling - especially in an urban environment - is extremely expensive.      It will be highly instructive to compare the projected cost of a"CarTube" system compared to that of proposed elevated concepts.  

    An elevated system does put one additional requirement on the vehicle and that is to be light.  Additionally an elevated system is a visual addition to the urban scene -- perhaps clutter to those who object, adventure to the traveler.  For reference, and some cost analysis, see:   "The Third Generation Roadway"  [Roger A. Davidheiser . 2011  WindCanyon Books,  or Amazon].


An interesting idea…

I have tried to promote a common road traffic tunnel here on my island for 25 years..

The safety rules here are though practically forbidding them – costs are killing.

In Norway however they have a great tunnel experience and they are about six times cheaper to build than over here in Sweden.

Drilling tunnels is also becoming cheaper – the pictures of the drilling head looks very strange to me though.

Wonder what the access spacing might be?

The crash scenario is almost too awful to contemplate.

Can you imagine trying to extract vehicles from an underground tailback stretching back to the most recent entrance?

How do you get rapid response emergency services to the crash site?

Fire would be a serious issue too.

The other alternative that has been thought of, is “going above it all”. Small, light vehicles can make do with surprisingly low-cost elevated guideways. One of the wicked problems with road capacity, is that congestion is all about small, light vehicles, but the cost of road space is all about engineering for 20-ton vehicles. Even your suburban street has to carry the weight of a fire engine (which is a lot higher than a moving van, the other obvious need).

The beauty of these systems, is that the vehicles can use existing roads anyway, and the elevated guideways are effectively “bypasses”. And a high speed inter-city mode.

It has some great features.It is 3D in the city.  It is computer controlled.  Dual mode although not shown driving on the street more than a few inches in the PhotoShopped images. 

It has some negatives--

It costs too much

Cars shown are too big and heavy.  Perhaps those UPS bike electric assist pedal vehicles.  

Tube accidental air flow is going to waste energy.  

It does not provide for the percentage of the population that claim to be irrationally afraid of containment.

Isn't this a Masdar rerun?  In the picture they show the lower level as one level.  I suggest if they want it to work that they go multi level.  Right turn only shown may be optimistic for getting to your destination.


Last modified: 12-13-16