Michael McDaniel, Frog: Rethinking Solutions For The City
Michael McDaniel believes that in order to adapt urban transportation infrastructure to the changing needs of the 21st century, we must take a radically new approach. At PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO, he introduced a proposal developed at frog to update existing urban transportation networks with a system of gondolas that could inexpensively and efficiently replace our current model of public transport.
McDaniel first points to the inefficiency of roads as a principle issue facing urban designers; since they were built according to the old-fashioned standard of five horse widths, roads are generally too narrow to feed the density of a developed urban center. As a result, many people look towards rail as a viable alternative since trains are able to carry large amounts of people with relative efficiency. However, railways require a sizable amount of dedicated real estate, and building the infrastructure can be extremely costly – $35m per mile for light rail, $132m per mile for elevated rail, and $400m per mile for subway – which makes it an impractical solution for most cities.