Saturday, April 27, 2024

Solar Skyways™ for Automated Transit Communities

Solar Skyways – PRT/podcar/ATN system developer – was launched in 2020 with recent alumni of Spartan Superway™, an ongoing decade-long hands-on academic engineering research and development program at San José State University. This nascent commercial initiative is focused on creating a viable net-zero fossil-fuel-free solar-powered rapid transit network that can match the capacity of urban public transit through an engineering collaboration with Transit Control Solutions (whose software is capable of tripling the throughput capacity when compared to the handful of successfully deployed podcar systems around with world, while achieving a very high degree of safety), Swenson Solar (aesthetic, economical elevated solar canopies), and RodzMas Design Studio (robust mechanical systems for on-demand public transit). 

In parallel with its disruptive technological advancement, Solar Skyways is bringing together a team of established commercial and industrial enterprises to deliver project engineering, governmental entitlements, finance, construction, certification, operation, and maintenance. 


All podcar (PRT/ATN) systems on the market and under development deliver on-demand (taxi-like) service, separate guideways, small vehicles providing the equivalent of door-to-door service, congestion relief, and compelling economic advantages. Going one step further, the specific advancements of Solar Skyways™ are distinct in three special ways: Sustainability, Safety, and Scalability. 

Swenson Solar Canopy

Sustainability is achieved with a solar canopy running continuously above the guideway, with power delivered to every station, each of which in turn becomes a microgrid energy hub, charging podcars, providing micro-energy services locally, and feeding surplus energy to the local grid.

Solar canopies charge podcars directly, with surplus energy channeled to storage, neighborhood energy services, and local grid support, achieving a highly redundant, highly reliable energy supply for mobility.  


Kids are safe on the streets again

Passenger safety is achieved en route with robust safe mechanical design and the TCS state-of-the-art automated control system. Guideways elevated above streets offer pedestrian and micro-mobility users safety once cars are no longer required for local mobility.


Test Track Blueprint

Scalability requires low cost stations and guideways, plus advanced vehicle controls to maximize capacity with navigation software that has been proven with a platoon of small scale cars on a fully engineered track. 

Bogie weave

Community Development Support

In concert with its commercial and industrial affiliates, the Solar Skyways™ team provides a suite of comprehensive development services to guide communities through the process of design, entitlements, team-building, financing, constructing, commissioning, and operating a community-wide Solar Skyways network. Test tracks and pilot projects under construction in Europe and Asia will provide reference sites to mitigate technology risks and build support in communities ready to move beyond congestion, pollution, fossil fuels, intrinsically dangerous streets, economically stranded public transit assets, and crumbling mobility infrastructure.  

In creating a transformative mobility system, the Solar Skyways™ team is prepared to assist communities to organize local support, build strategic alliances, and begin the process to achieve sustainable mobility for the next generation.

The Solar Podcar Transit Research Initiative

With an alliance of solar podcar companies in the USA, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, The International Institute of Sustainable Transportation ("INIST") is sponsoring a multi-university research initiative led by Spartan Superway (San José State University) to foster academic teams in a wide range of research fields, including adaptive urban design with disruptive cityscape configuration drivers, financial planning and analysis, economic and community development, environmental impacts, utility infrastructure, elevated guideway advancement (in materials, foundations, deployment, and structural engineering), all-terrain deployment (migratory paths, flood plains, mountains…), renewable energy (solar canopies, power electronics, storage, microgrids), water catchment, artificial intelligence-based traffic management, user experience / human factors engineering, vehicle design, and more.The Solar Podcar Transit Research Initiative invites universities to join and participate in creating Automated Transit Communities.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Solar Skyways™ Stations Create Resiliency

We have begun building Safe, Scalable, Sustainable Solar Skyways™based on Swenson Solar™canopies which have been very well received since the first installation we completed in 2011. 

We place solar canopies continuously above podcar guideways running along urban streets and larger arterials, providing reliable energy for mobility. Each passenger station is designed to serve as an energy center, storing energy for cloudy periods and night time, delivering surplus energy to our neighbors, with sufficient storage assets (batteries and a variety of economical, safe stationary storage technologies) to deliver resiliency – managing daily operations and emergency conditions alike.

In this illustration, the solar canopies (from the left and right as well as above the station) capture solar electricity and deliver it along the blue lines to the storage block, from which the electricity is delivered along the green lines to the cabins for rapid charging while they are briefly in the stations dropping off and boarding passengers. 

In addition to managing station requirements – lighting and elevators, for example – the surplus may be used to charge (green) micro-mobility bikes and scooters, backup lighting, cell phones, etc. 

Surplus electricity can be delivered to the grid and any deficiencies may be recharged with power from the grid along the gray lines. 

If any particular station loses power in a large network, the other stations will have sufficient capacity to maintain an adequate state of charge for the entire fleet of vehicles. Unlike a grid-supported network vulnerable to any of several possible single points of failure – central power plants, transmission lines, brown-outs or black-outs – the Solar Skyways™ MicroGrid is always on, resilient to even extreme conditions such as flooding or fuel shortages. 

Monday, November 21, 2022

Solar Powered Mining and Logistics by Futran Milotek Swenson Solar

100% Solar Powered Mining and Logistics is market-ready through Futran, Milotek, and Swenson Solar.

The 1 km oval test track has proven the mechanics and control system for mining and logistics.

This half-megawatt Solar Canopy has proven performance over a decade.   

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Transportation Systems Engineering

System Engineering: Decision Making in Systems Engineering and Management

Gregory S. Parnell, Ph.D., Editor
Patrick J. Driscoll, Ph.D., Editor
Dale L. Henderson, Ph.D., Design Editor
"In fact, one of the most significant failings of the current U.S. transportation system is that the automobile was never thought of as being part of a system until recently. It was developed and introduced during a period that saw the automobile as a standalone technology largely replacing the horse and carriage. So long as it outperformed the previous equine technology, it was considered a success. This success is not nearly so apparent if the automobile is examined from a systems thinking perspective. In that guise, it has managed to fail miserably across a host of dimensions. Many of these can be observed in any major US city today: oversized cars and trucks negotiating tight roads and streets, bridges and tunnels incapable of handling daily traffic density, insufficient parking, poor air quality induced in areas where regional air circulation geography restricts free flow of wind, a distribution of the working population to suburban locations necessitating automobile transportation, and so on. Had the automobile been developed as a multilateral system interconnected with urban (and rural) transportation networks and environmental systems, U.S. cities would be in a much different situation than they find themselves in today.
What is important here is not that the automobile could have been developed differently, but that in choosing to design, develop and deploy the automobile as a stand alone technology, a host of complementary transportation solutions to replace the horse and buggy were not considered.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Envisioning Solar Skyways in Silicon Valley

At the request of the City of San José's Department of Transportation, the General Transportation Fund, Rodzmas, INIST, Spartan Superway, Southern Illinois University, and Swenson Solar have collaborated to present a vision for Solar Skyways in Silicon Valley.

We envision an unobtrusive guideway above the streets with small podcars for you and your family, friends, or colleagues. We offer to liberate the landscape at street level for people, pets, flowers, and sidewalk cafes.

Riding high above the streets!
Riding high above the streets!

With many stations, small and large, we can get you there quickly, right where you want to go.

Station at the Shark Tank
Station at the Shark Tank

Authorized riders will be able to take a podcar right to their office or high rise apartment building. With offline stations, folks en route to other destinations will go right past the building without stopping.

Station on the upper deck of a Landmaker highrise
Station on the upper deck of a Landmaker highrise

Where freeways have cut through neighborhoods, separating former neighbors, podcars can restore connectivity without the expense of high overpasses.

Getting around town at night, riding under the freeway
Getting around town at night, riding under the freeway

This map shows how the podcar network navigates the streets to quickly get you to your destination.

Navigating the maze so you can slip under the freeway
Navigating the maze so you can slip under the freeway

Though it's not the first choice, where at-grade barriers are too daunting, it is after all possible to build the guideway over freeways.

Going higher and higher to cross over the freeway
Going higher and higher to cross over the freeway

Automated cars invading our cities, creating even more congestion, noise, and danger at every turn? Or a smart city restored for people -- the technology for our transportation system to rise above the streets is now at hand -- and the choice is ours again.

Our formal presentations to the City of San José Department of Transportation can be seen here:

 Stay tuned for more!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Superway | Daily Planet

Soon to exhibit at the annual Maker Faire in San Mateo, the Spartan Superway team is in the news!

Even though big cities have rideshare programs, buses, and trains, we all know it can still be hard to get to your destination. Enter the Spartan Superway from the engineer students at San Jose University! Daily Planet airs weeknights at 7E/4P only on Discovery Canada!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Urge to Green

Design professionals recognize the sterility of the modern city; they want to embrace the natural world's appeal. And yet it is so hard for them to challenge the dominant species –  not humans but the automobile. Their street is incomplete without cars at grade.

Student Landscape Architecture • one of 88 designs
So instead of inexpensively transferring mobility services to a narrow guideway above the ground, Mexican designers here have created a costly walkway for people which would be safe – and accessible at grade – resulting in pedestrians still subordinate to the automobile.

Mexico City’s busiest avenue returning to residents as a stunning elevated public park
YouTube Animation

Even where natural spaces are envisioned for the street at grade, designers still feel the necessity to create intersections between people and cars. (Note the street at the center.)

Hammarby, Sweden