- Published: 09 November 2022
The concept of a smart city is talked about frequently and it's mostly about connectivity in various aspects, one very relevant of which is transport. Saudi Arabia is planning to take this concept and fuse it with something straight out of Blade Runner. The country has plans to erect a city in a straight line across a length of 170 km, called The Line. The 'smart linear city' in Neom, Tabuk will be designed to have no cars, no streets or carbon emissions.
The Line will be a $500 billion project and the city's plans anticipate a population of 9 million. As of October 2022, excavation work has started along the entire length of the project. While it is extremely fascinating, the project faces criticism over its impact on the environment and the current population of the area, as well as doubts about its technological and economic viability.
What we're most intrigued by is the fact that there will be no cars or motorcycles. If the plan falls in place and the technological viability is sound, The Line will pretty much be the end of cars and bikes and those who love them. And that includes us and you.
No personal transport would mean the people logistics within The Line city would have to be impeccable. Everything from point A to point B and last-mile and doorstep pickup and drops. And all of this would have to be so flawless that a resident in the city never misses the freedom of being able to drive on their own to go to wherever they want, whenever they want.
It is rather a tall order. The plan is stack the city towering 500 metre and divide it into nodes. It is said that all daily services will be designed to be reachable within a 5-minute walk. So, is The Line only for the very physically fit? Didn't you ever take the car or the bike out for a five-minute walk distance because you'd had a long day or had a sprained ankle?
The transportation layer of The Line will include a high-speed rail system, which is claimed to allow people to go from one side of the city to the other side in 20 minutes. Without accounting for stops, this would require an average speed of 512 km/h, which is faster than any existing high-speed rail at the time of announcement. It will not be surprising at all to see driverless pods across this city.
Considering that the plan was first announced in January 2021 and the excavation work has already begun, the country is serious and The Line will happen. Whether or not the plan will work is a wait-and-watch. There have been many giant projects like the Forest City in Malaysia that didn't turn out to be what they were intended to be.
We're sure there's a giant army of engineers that will hopefully consider the sprained ankles. Plus, the city will be monitored by AI (artificial intelligence), using predictive and data models to improve matters like transport. The city will also pay its residents to collect and share such data.
Yes, the future is electric and self-driven. At least, that's what humanity is working towards. While it may sadden some that they will not see the sky full of flying cars or a hologram telephone, we're lucky to be born in a generation where we can go on motorcycle rides in the morning and treat our cars as our second home. So please, enjoy it while it lasts.
Quelle/Source: , 01.11.2022