We need a personal rapid transit system offering private, on-demand, point-to-point travel. Imagine airport-style mini-trams on an elevated track or pods on overhead cables. No interference with normal transit. No routing system or schedule to learn. You walk to a stop, swipe your credit card, and request a two-, four-, or six-seat pod. The system’s computer knows the demand history and can predict how many pods are needed at which station and when. Grids would initially run along a city’s major arteries, but eventually major shopping centers or building groupings could subsidize “spur” loops.

Garriott is the creator of the Ultima computer game series. He recently spent two weeks living on the International Space Station. He lives in Austin.

(On the Web: a similar idea concerning giant pneumatic tubes from Allen J. Bard, a chemist at UT-Austin.)

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