Company explores monorail possibilities

Computer-controlled cars ride rails of copper

By Bob Freund

Conventioneers flow a few blocks from their downtown hotels to events at Mayo Civic Center.

Doctors and other Mayo Clinic staff members board a continuous parade of shuttle buses between Saint Marys Hospital and the downtown Mayo campus on work days.


Daily commuters park their cars in lots away from the downtown core and take public transit to their jobs; others might like to avoid parking in the congested downtown area if a quick, convenient ride were to be available.

How about a monorail? An automated people mover?

A Twin Cities company has designed a system generically known as "personal rapid transit." It's in the sky, but, from a technological standpoint, it's not pie-in-the-sky.

Taxi 2000 Corp.'s SkyWeb Express could travel above the street at speeds between 20 and 40 mph. Passengers summon its small cars, which are magnetically propelled. The computer-controlled cabs travel non-stop to the passenger's destination.

The company now is seeking a site for a full-scale test track. Neither the city of Rochester nor Mayo Clinic are actively considering a SkyWeb Express system, but at least one Minnesota metropolitan area has placed itself in the running.

Who knows what the future holds? Maybe someday, inner-city traffic will be moved along on copper-plated magnetic rails.

What To Read Next
Get Local