Urban transport may not always be glamorous. The trip to work us something few of us think about regularly; but these transport innovations may be about to change that for good.

The daily toing and froing to work has become a part of the daily routine. We don’t tend to think about it too much. Yet, there are many new innovations in urban transport which might just make that trip to work the best part of the day.

Around the world, urban transport is changing. With self-driving cars becoming a definite thing of the near future and trains becoming faster and smoother, urban transport is undergoing a huge makeover.

These five urban transport innovations will change your trips, and make the boredom of traveling a thing of the past.

1. Maglev Trains

Maglev is short for “magnetic elevation”, meaning that these trains will hover about four inches above their tracks and will be motored by electrically charged magnets. China and Germany currently operate these trains.

They travel at 375 mph and are currently being tested in China to travel up to 600 mph. It is expected that Maglev trains will make their global debut by 2030. Riders have said that the trains are much more comfortable and a lot more stable, making the juddery trip to work a thing of the past.

With higher speeds comes higher frequency, therefore reducing delays and crowded carriages, making journeys much more pleasant. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to have a seat on every train!

2. Hyperloops

The brainchild of the urban transport mogul, Elon Musk, who first mentioned the concept in 2012, Hyperloops are a type of transportation much in the way of trains. These trains use reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on air bearings.

Proposed to travel up to 760 mph on a 350-mile route, Hyperloops will reach the destination in just 35 minutes. Hyperloops may not be the typical urban transport but are ideal for those who commute across long distances for work.

Rather than flights and hotels, you may simply be able to hyperloop to and from your commute. This innovation opens up the world of work in hundreds of different countries because it eliminates the lengthy commutes we all hate.

3. Elevated buses

Public transport systems were rethought by elevated buses back in 2010, aiming to solve a number of transport issues. Elevated buses are a concept from China, where congestion is amongst the highest levels in the world.

This new form of urban transport includes a bus system which ‘straddles’ the road traffic whilst still allowing cars to drive underneath. Not only would this reduce traffic immensely, but also ensures that public transport is more reliable because it will not be affected by road traffic.


This, in turn, hopes to increase the number of people who take public transport rather than road traffic, reducing pollution from cars and other motor vehicles. Although the Chinese concept has faced a number of controversies, it is hoped that it will spread worldwide in the near future.

4. Smart Roads

The term ‘smart roads’ refers to a number of urban transport innovations that seek to revolutionize road transport. Much of the urban transport innovations we hear about are in terms of cars and trains. We hear little about the roads they will actually be driving on.

Solar roadways have been a well-established concept for smart motorways, installing solar panels on glass roads. These renewable materials make repairs quick and environmentally responsible.

These solar panels will still have a safe stopping distance at 80 mph and can even melt snow and ice in low temperatures. The electrical needs of cities and towns can also be met with excess power.

Glow in the dark road markings are commonplace in the Netherlands and this small change intends to make night-driving safer by increasing visibility. These roads charge up during the day and will glow for up to eight hours every night.

Another Dutch innovation, interactive lighting is a new concept whereby streetlights will turn on when cars get closer and dim when the road is quiet. This aims to make roads safer whilst simultaneously reducing energy consumption.

From the same Dutch company that developed interactive lighting, an Electric Priority lane has been proposed. This lane charges electric vehicles by embedding magnetic fields emitting power to the car, consequently making long journeys much easier for electric cars.

The Netherlands is the key innovator when it comes to smart roads, but these innovations are expected to spread across Europe and US.

5. Self-driving everything

The most well-known urban transport innovation is that of self-driving vehicles. Currently in their testing phase are self-driving cars,China and Germany already have self-driving buses in operation. These vehicles are able to sense their environment and moving with very little human interaction by using GPS.


Self-driving vehicles free up much of our valuable free time when getting to and from work. This kind of urban transport expects to be on the roads in the very near future.

Urban transport is getting a new image. With these exciting new innovations coming up in the near future, traveling will never be the same again.


  1. https://www.jrailpass.com/
  2. https://hyperloop-one.com/

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