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Clean Transport urban_mole

Published on August 4th, 2009 | by Ariel Schwartz

11

UrbanMole is a Sewer-Based FedEx

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August 4th, 2009 by
 

Even with increased numbers of hybrid vehicles hitting the road, UPS and FedEx trucks guzzle lots of gas. What if we could take them off the streets altogether? The Urban Mole system, developed by designer Philip Hermes, attempts to do that.

The concept design, which came in second place in the Bayer MaterialWorksVisionWorks contest, consists of a capsule-like device called the Urban Mole that travels through an underground pipe network that transports packages of all stripes–groceries, books, CDs, documents, etc. Each Mole comes with its own electric motor that is powered by rails, much like a subway system.

The pipe system acts like a road network–more congested areas have wider pipes, so more Moles can travel easily at the same time. According to Hermes, “A future scenario might look like this: you run out of the exotic spices that you need to complete your dinner and the next spice shop is on the other side of the town? It takes only 1 minute to order them and another 8 minutes until they arrive at the next Molestation around the corner. ” Molestations are designated delivery centers for packages–think your local post office.

It’s an ingenious system, but we probably won’t see Urban Moles zipping through our sewers anytime soon. It’s difficult enough to build an electric car infrastructure aboveground, let alone build an entire subway system for packages underground.

Via Wired

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



  • Jsav3725

    Well, from the comments I have read, and their negativity, this seems to be the real problem facing everyone today. The no it can’t be done attitude. A real shame this don’t you think. No wonder Exxon has been able to rob everyone blind for over one hundred years plus. Both a better light bulb and a 200 mile electric car now exist. Both just aren’t being used. Thus we have the mess we have. Jsav.

  • Lauren

    They might want to rethink the name Molestation…

  • Lauren

    They might want to rethink the name Molestation…

  • Carter

    Big cities stopped using them as when packages jammed up the tubes, which was not infrequently, big problems.

    And I’m not sure how this helps as far as getting more sizeable or delicate items delivered – I don’t want musical gear flying and bouncing through a tube.

  • Carter

    Big cities stopped using them as when packages jammed up the tubes, which was not infrequently, big problems.

    And I’m not sure how this helps as far as getting more sizeable or delicate items delivered – I don’t want musical gear flying and bouncing through a tube.

  • krissy

    They used to have these all over big cities but they started letting them go in the 80s.

  • krissy

    They used to have these all over big cities but they started letting them go in the 80s.

  • Jacob

    Sounds cool, but Molestation is not a good name…molesters…

  • Jacob

    Sounds cool, but Molestation is not a good name…molesters…

  • russ

    Kind of like the ‘British Post Office’ – the old air tubes. This guy is looking at history and calling it the future.

    What do I think – no possibility!

  • russ

    Kind of like the ‘British Post Office’ – the old air tubes. This guy is looking at history and calling it the future.

    What do I think – no possibility!

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