Boston saw over 100 inches of snow last year that essentially crippled the public transit system by covering rail lines with ice and causing subway cars to break down. The city's rail system is the oldest in the country, having been implemented in 1897.
The Boston Globe estimated it would cost over $7 billion to repair the transit system, writes Jordan Crucchiola for Wired. However, Cambridge, Mass.-based transit designer Emil Jacob says he could replace Boston's entire system for a little more than $2 billion.
His solution: An elevated network of electric train cars to replace today’s patchwork of subways, buses, streetcars, and commuter rail.
Without much emphasis on the “how” part of the equation, Jacob promises the electric motor in each 40-foot train car would need just the “the equivalent of about three golf carts” of energy and would travel at 50 to 100 mph depending on the use case. The cars themselves would be made of aluminum, composites, and fiber glass, Jacob says. A series of archways running over the streets would support the narrow tracks, which look more like cables than they do rail lines. To increase passenger volume, cars would run above and below the lines, and to address those harsh Boston winters the tracks would be heated to prevent accumulation of ice and snow.