As previously covered by Local Profile at the beginning of October, a new study found that Plano was among the best cities to drive in based on its high rankings in cost and safety. But when the study looked into the city’s access to vehicles, maintenance, traffic and infrastructure, Plano’s scores left much to be desired. 

At last week’s council meeting, Caleb Thornhill, the city’s director of engineering introduced a new concept that might help deal with this problem.

Earlier this year, the Regional Transportation Council launched a new policy called the Transportation Infrastructure Certification Program which encourages local governments to look into emerging technologies that might ease traffic congestion. In order to do this, these transportation technologies can’t use existing roadway or rail systems but instead create their own. 

Now, the city of Plano is taking look into one of the companies that received certification from the Regional Transportation Council’s program: JPods. As Thornhill explained during the meeting, at a first glance the pods look like a fair gondola ride which is exactly what they are. JPods proposes a fee-based, point-to-multipoint aerial personal transportation system. 

The way this system would work is people would take their own pod at a station, without the need of sharing the space. Once inside, passengers only need to enter the location they are trying to reach and the pod would directly take their destination without extra stops. 

Thornhill continued by saying that the aerial feature of this system would be an advantage, as it doesn’t take up street space or interfere with any roadways making it a safe way to travel through the city.

While this technology sounds taken out of a fifties science fiction book, it hasn’t been deployed anywhere yet and the city of Plano hasn’t made any commitments to the project.