Swiss Company to Build an Intercity Network of Tunnels for Robotic Cargo Pods

How can we plan for a future where there’s more stuff being moved and our streets aren’t overwhelmingly clogged with semis and delivery vans (and the polluting emissions that come with them)?

If what we need is to get vehicles off roads, does it make more sense to shift transit of goods underground rather than transit of people? In the US, it’s going to be difficult if not impossible to wean Americans off our car-dependent lifestyles, partly because we’re so used to the convenience of having our own vehicles, but also because our cities aren’t built around public transportation the way many European cities are. Maybe it would make sense here as well to take the cargo off roads and make more room for humans (Elon Musk would argue otherwise, as his Hyperloop aims to do just the opposite—but we’ll see if any of these ever reach completion).

In Switzerland, meanwhile, planning is underway for the first section of CST’s subterranean transport network; it will run 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the Härkingen-Niederbipp hub to Zurich, and is slated to be operational by 2031. The estimated cost (including software, physical hubs—of which there would be 10 along this line—and underground and overground vehicles) is three billion Swiss Francs.

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