The biggest issue with mass-transit is that it isn't consistent. If you want to go to some place far away , then you have to get on that plane, which is pretty problematic. Then you will have to transition from that to a ground-moving vehicle, such as a train. However, what if there was a way to make that a whole lot simpler with the Clip-Air. Granted, it would change how we live, and perhaps we are too addicted to our current system of travel to ever implement it.
According to The Verge, the Clip-Air is a plane that will land in an airfield that doubles as a rail yard. The three capsule-shaped cabins underneath can detach themselves, and then are seamlessly transferred to a nearby train. Then the train takes passengers to the city center, or it can take its freight away to wherever it needs to go.
All in all, it is a pretty efficient system of travel. I'm not certain how the cabins detach or re-attach, but this is a way to insure that passengers get to their location without having to change planes. I'm also not certain if the passengers can change their location in each of the three cabins while the Clip-Air is in flight, but if not, then the passengers and pilots are very separated, which is pretty good for flights in a post 9/11 world. By the way, there is also a proposed model that can carry just one capsule.
The Clip-Air has a wingspan that is about 200 feet, and the fuselage is about half of that length. You will notice that it has a flying wing construction that resembles the B-2 bomber, with three engines. The capsules can carry about 30 tons of cargo or 450 passengers, so it must look very massive in the air.
In case you are wondering if this is one of those great concept technologies that may never get off the ground, even the researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne acknowledge that. They say that it will take between 40 to 50 years for Clip-Air to become operational with the three capsules. Still, they want to develop a prototype the size of a private plane in five to ten years, with some modest-sized prototypes that can fit 150 passengers.
It is very clear that in order for the Clip-Air to rule the skies, commercial aviation and the freight industry are going to be changed at a fundamental level. However, we really have to be thinking in a very long-term manner if we want to make air travel as well as ground travel more efficient for consumers.