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High-Tech Transportation Project Puts People Pods On A Solar-Powered 'Spartan Superway' At SJSU

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- Some forward-thinking researchers at San Jose State University are designing a new form of public transportation that's completely powered by the sun. It's called the Spartan Superway.

"The big idea behind the Spartan Superway is to create a public transporation system that is solar powered to create better and safer transportation than what we have now," said SJSU Mechanical Engineering Professor Burford Furman.

Professors, students, and recent Spartan graduates are working on the project aimed at solving one of the biggest transportation problems, which is traffic congestion at street level.

A network of elevated guideways to carry people in pods or so-called "bogeys" would be built above existing streets. Solar panel canopies above the guideways would provide operating power for the vehicles and link to batteries for storage and the grid for extra power if needed.

The "bogeys" would be programable for destinations and electronic sensors would regulate speed and keep safe distances between other pods.

"This is our version of a personal rapid transportation system. It's completely
scalable. The microchips that are sent in this system can be on a full-scale system
in the same way," said Gregory White, Engineering Project Manager.

The dream is to start with a single link between San Jose State's main campus, and its south campus athletic facilities about a mile and a half away and then build out
from there.

"This is not just some fancy monorail. It's actually a technology we can use today
to transport people," said Carlos Ortega, Mechanical Engineering graduate.

The students and engineers are now looking for sponsors and partners in business to
build full scale models of the system. They hope to someday create a new and sustainable transportation network for cities here and all over the world.

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