Carrying us along the way

Mass Tram ProposalThere can be a new highway in the sky.

The development of the ‘right of way’ is one of the overlooked functions of our economy. And forfeiting the ownership and management of these rights may be a costly giveaway that jurisdictions are failing to claim, control and capitalize.

We are accustomed to the ubiquity of the transportation industry. Its technology, huge budgets and large operations underpin our productivity. Transportation draws our landscape and becomes the rhytym of society. Yet these institutions rely on their right of way and the grant of opportunity that follows.

The transportation industry is historical technologies, dominant players, tremendous battles, including the strategic and economic factors of our defense and trade, and politics. But regardless the scale, these are first governed by the regions and communities where we provide transport a right to cross.

Current industrial and political culture may slow transportation development even with the claims to innovate and adjust to emerging conditions until a new political approach combines both technology and its conduit.

Until there is a ‘market of way’, regional and local development will be restrained to a narrow range of transportation options based on traditional conduits. Not unlike the sisterly arrival of bike paths that have stimulated a smallish transit boom, or the robust conversion of railroads to ports and landbridges, choosing new and efficient transport options requires a renewed appraisal of available conduit options.

In order to help diversify and stimulate the transport sector, there are several economic claims that cities, towns and rural regions can reserve as part of their community of assets. For example, “the air value over our roads is a trillion dollar frontier” that is seldom considered in the heat of great discussions about energy options, new types of vehicles, transit systems and the shaping of community development.

But perhaps fundamentals are reappearing. Worldchanging blogger Ethan Timm reports “Aerial Tram Leapfrogs Grids and Networks

“…could be the future of inter-neighborhood, inter-nodal transit.

“…efficient aerial transit could be to car-clogged streets what cell phones were to tangles of wires and switchboards.

“…areas which have poorly-developed technology or economic bases can move themselves forward rapidly through the adoption of modern systems without going through intermediary steps.