Underground Autonomous Freight System Will Make Roads Less Crowded

A new way to move goods without increasing road and rail traffic.

Aug 27, 2022
Underground Autonomous Freight System Will Make Roads Less Crowded | A new way to move goods without increasing road and rail traffic.

Today, as cities grow larger, more goods are being transported from one place to another. This movement of freight means that there is food on your table and materials to manufacture anything you need.

The usual methods are by large trucks driving on highways and by freight trains, but this leads to congested highways and increased emissions. According to Interesting Engineering, the solution has been to build more roads and lay down more tracks but now there is a better way to move freight; taking it underground.

That’s exactly what Switzerland is doing by building  an autonomous underground freight transport system that will reduce the country’s dependence on building more and more roads and rails. In December, 2021, the parliament approved legislation to build an underground, eco-friendly freight system and construction just began in August, 2022.

Introducing cargo sous terrain
Cargo sous terrain (CST) is the name of a collaboration between many Swiss firms that are involved in transportation, retail, telecom, logistics, and energy. This collaborative effort saw the problem and came up with a solution that uses an automatic conveyor in tunnels to move freight to hubs in urban areas.

The connection points or hubs have vertical lifts that can load or unload goods in an automated system that is completely underground. The system uses zero emission electric vehicles that move at 18 mph (30 kph) – and that is considerably faster than a truck stuck in traffic – through tunnels that have diameters of 20 feet (6 meters) that are divided into three lanes, reported New Atlas.

There will be refrigerated pods to move food and cold goods. There will also be a smaller track that will move packages. The distribution will be planned in advance and deliveries will be coordinated from the hubs.

The nuts and bolts
The first section that is under construction will run from Härkingen-Niederbipp to Zurich and will have 10 hubs, according to the CST website. It is expected to be completed and up in running by 2031 with the rest of the system to be completed in 2045.

The automated freight system will run from Geneva to St Gallen and shorter sections will go to Basel, Thun and Lucerne.  When completed, CST while reduce the freight load on cities by up to 30 percent and will reduce noise and emissions by 50 percent.

But the best part is that the construction of the tunnels is designed to have minimal effect on city residents, reported New Atlas, because It will not be visible or noisy. This will be a big win for urban dwellers in Switzerland  and could be replicated in other urban areas across the globe.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.