When road itself moves instead of vehicles

Dhaka,  Sun,  24 September 2017
Published : 24 Aug 2017, 21:06:45

When road itself moves instead of vehicles

The moving roads can be like toy trains with their lengths as long as the distance between two points. The important thing is to put into practice the theory of conveyor belt which run on and on only to stop briefly to pick up or drop passengers, writes Nilratan Halder
Roads are static and meant for movement of vehicles. But what if roads themselves continuously move forward with passengers on board like vehicles? Sounds outlandish! Don't rule out the possibility of such futuristic infrastructure right in this capital. For this idea has been conceived by none other than a Bangladesh citizen who is quite renowned in his own right. But the area of his specialisation is far removed from civil or mechanical engineering. Adept in filmmaking of the independent genre, this man is Abu Sayeed. He has proposed for roads that will move and free cities like Dhaka from intractable tailbacks. 

Abu Sayeed's proposal seems to be highly tenable. Armed with creative imagination any person can put forward an innovative idea. Abu Sayeed's is one such proposal. It seems the man like many others has given a serious thought to the issue of Dhaka's hellish traffic jam. He now comes with a probable solution to the problem. 

His is a simple proposal. If he is not misunderstood, it involves dividing a road in several narrow strips on which there will be a long stretch of platform from one point to another. The road will run on small wheels following the rules of locomotive, conveyor belt, escalator and pulley combined together. There will be no heavy side structure. Light plastic cover will do. But the roads will have a permanent overhead shed with fans fixed there. Multiple road strips may have different speed, depending mainly on their distance. For short distance even footpaths may be used as such road strips. 

Since the light platform will run like a vehicle on a conveyor belt, the system will be almost an uninterrupted movement except for a break of a few seconds in order to allow commuters to get on board or get down. When there is a crossing, two or more roads will have different heights so that there is no clash. The elevation will be synchronised with the maximum height those will reach at the crossings. 

Unlike metro rail, expressway, the system will cost far less because it will not be required to move a heavy vehicle. Mostly the platform's weight will be the main concern. Although, it is not known what type of fuel Abu Sayeed has in mind. Clearly, if electricity is used for operation of roads, it will be highly beneficial on several counts. First, the moving road can gather a considerable speed between 30km and 40 km an hour. There will be no traffic signal or abrupt interruption of movement. 

People will know precisely how long it will take to reach a destination. They will not be required to get stuck in traffic jam. It will be economical for reasons understandable. With the minimum pedestal the roads will have seats on it. Running like a conveyor belt and stopping for a few seconds only, those will save people's time. 

Sayeed has suggested that even road space can be left for private cars, public buses and other vehicles to run side by side. Perhaps the concept of public buses running on road can be dispensed with. If commuters can travel on moving roads without confronting traffic jams, they are unlikely to be interested in travelling by such buses. Commuting can be more economical than it is now. Over time worn-out vehicles have to be dumped into junk yard. If the roads take their place, some repair work from time to time will do. This will drastically bring down the cost in the transport sector by doing away with import of costly buses.

Another big gain will be in the area of reducing environmental pollution. Vehicles spewing black smoke will be redundant in case the task of transportation is replicated by the proposed system. Such a system is expected to operate efficiently and even private cars will prove to be redundant.       

Now that the idea has been put forward, the need is to translate it into reality. Civil and mechanical engineers in particular will think deep how the system can be developed. The moving roads can be like toy trains with their lengths as long as the distance between two points. The important thing is to put into practice the theory of conveyor belt which run on and on only to stop briefly to pick up or drop passengers. Wheels like train will provide the momentum for such roads to move forward. 

The first thing would be to take up a pilot project for this. If innovative minds put their heads together they will definitely be able to develop a workable system. Once a prototype of this is made ready, others will come forward with newer ideas for its improvement. Once ready, the engineering marvel can be tested in some select areas preferably in places where the tailbacks are long and a regular feature. Dhaka city is gasping for breath. Commuters here have to undergo an atrocious ordeal on a daily basis. Some way out has to be found soon enough or this dysfunctional city will die out for sure. Moving road may indeed be a solution. 

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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