Shweeb, bike sharing and compact bike parking would be 20 times cheaper for an urban commuting network

BMW has proposed networks of elevated roads exclusively for e-bikes and scooters.

The elevated road is simple and modular in design, economical to build as a result, and provides a fast, direct link between key traffic hubs, making it the perfect alternative for commuters traveling up to 15 km.

The E3 Way would have ramps and sluice systems to handle merging. Video surveillance and artificial intelligence would monitor the flow of traffic, because what kind of future would it be without constant surveillance and AI? Most of the network will have a roof.

London had a proposal for a 137 mile network of elevated bike network for a cost of $10 billion.

It could handle up to 12,000 riders per hour on a cycling superhighway 50 feet wide. It would have 200 on- and off-ramps which, according to Foster + Partners’ estimates, means nearly 6 million people will live or work within 10 minutes of an entrance. Without all those cars to weave around and lights to stop for, travel times to and from work would be reduced by up to 29 minutes.

Bikesharing, Bike Parking and Shweeb would be far cheaper and faster to implement

Back in 2010, Google invested $1 million in Shweeb, an elevated recumbent cycling system and made one on their campus. Making the pod system on poles would be super light weight and low cost and fast to build. It would be used to take people over highways and other rough areas for bicycles. We now have common bike sharing.

People could ride their own bikes to a Shweeb or ride sharing station. Park their bike. Bike parking could be made far more compact using an adapted dry cleaning conveyer belt system.

Shweeb would be used to get over highway blockages or other bad traffic areas. When the person exits they get use a bike sharing system.

Using Shweeb is easier and less tiring than using bicycles.

Riders have achieved speeds of over 50km/h on a tight track, but on a longer, straighter track they should be able to achieve 70km/h (that’s faster than an Olympic cyclist.) The point is that the Shweeb is extremely efficient. Schweeb runs hard wheels on hard rail which greatly reduces rolling resistance. Its specialized transmission system transfers power from the pedal to the rail with minimal friction losses.

On firm, flat ground, a 70kg man requires about 100 watts to walk at 5km/h. The power required to move a Shweeb along a rail at 20km/h is only 33 watts.

A Shweeb track can handle high capacity due to two key factors: Firstly, stations are off-line meaning that, when someone wants to stop, they can switch off the main line and go into a station without affecting anyone else. As such the mainline is always moving at the desired speed. Secondly, unlike road transport, Shweeb pods require no stopping distance between them so can travel back to back. In theory, a single rail could move 10,000 people through a 1m2 airspace.

But obviously capacity is restricted by station throughput. Where maximum capacity is required, pods will be released from a station in groups (or ‘pelotons’). A station can have any number of embarkation pods awaiting riders, depending on the length (and number of) platform(s). Given that it takes about 30 seconds for someone to board a Shweeb, a station with one platform of 10 pod lengths could release 10 pods every 30 seconds. This equates to 1,200 per hour on a single line going in one direction.

All Shweebs have 600mm buffers (shock absorbers) protruding forwards and backwards, This creates a 1.2m buffer zone so that the momentum of a fast moving rider colliding into a slow moving or stationary rider is gently converted into forward motion. The recumbent position aligns the body along the force axis, so there is no jarring or whiplash.

Can disabled people ride Shweeb?

There are a few options for people who are unable to pedal themselves:

i. Sit in a standard pod and be escorted along the track by a pod behind.
ii. Sit as a passenger in a 2-seater pod.
iii. Shweeb can design hand-powered and/or electric-assisted (or fully powered) pods.

A Shweeb transit network relies on recumbent bicycle technology to power pods suspended from monorails. According to Shweeb Monorail Technology, the intent of their proposal is to “create a solution which provided the user with the same flexibility and comfort offered by the car but without the consequential costs.

Shweeb at Google Campus

Dry Cleaning Conveyer belts could be adapted for compact bike parking

Bike Sharing over regular surface roads and paths