Masdar City UAE to Ban Cars, Welcome Pod People (video)


On-track to be completed by 2020 in the United Arab Emirates, the Masdar City project’s developers aim to do nothing less than create a 100% carbon-neutral luxury village which – they hope – will change the international image of an entire nation, push the envelope of renewable energy technology, and represent the current state-of-the-art in “green” city planning.

100% carbon neutrality is a lot to ask of any building project – regardless of the budget involved – but Masdar City’s planners have a novel idea to help the reach that goal:  they’re going to ban personal automobiles.

Instead of cars, Masdar City’s residents will travel around in autonomous electric pods.  Called “Personal Rapid Transit pods”, these vehicles are fully electric, travel underground, and are fully computer controlled.  Far from “concepts”, the vehicles are already in use at the Mubadala Company campus (the development firm behind the Masdar City project) and have met with rave reviews from the workers and visitors who’ve experienced them.

Check out the pods in action, below, and let us know if the proliferation of pod people is a perplexing or positive predicament (sorry people, it was either this alliteration or a more “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” jokes … try to enjoy the video anyway).

Sources:  Mental Floss via Neatorama, Masdar City website.

About the Author

I’ve been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.

  • You do know that the Pod’s as a concept have been cancelled which will never go beyond what is there in place today – which is two stations and 9 cars and 3 freight movers. Masdar is a myth…

    • The site is still active and news is still coming out – like many other major building projects it might be delayed, but “canceled” seems like an over-simplification. People don’t usually walk away from major investments – they see them through and earn them back.

      • It was only the pod system that was cancelled in response to the economic downturn. The rest of the project is moving along (although slowly), but the owners have downsized some of the really cool and groundbreaking concepts for the sake of keeping the project alive. It’s sad, that transit system would have been very interesting to see when fully constructed.

  • I think that would be pretty amazing, I would love to see them pull it off and make a city without personal automobiles.

  • Masdar has ANNOUNCED the PRT won’t go beyond the current pilot phase. They’ve canceled future expansion of the ‘undercroft’ service level, basically taking away the PRT’s guideway. The street plan is being revised to accommodate cars – green cars, but cars all the same. In other words, there is no car ban.

    You can’t just run old Masdar press releases and then plead ‘things could change.’ That it has changed is the whole problem with Masdar — the original vision has been totally compromised.

    • I still haven’t seen the PR that the project was canceled – the source I quoted and the company website is still treating these as “in progress”.