Retirement of the traffic jams Print E-mail
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fileDaily congestion on Brooklyn bridge, the incredible traffic jams around Paris, an increasing number of trucks on our highways, railway infrastructure that is outdated and ash clouds … getting goods and ourselves at destination in a timely way has never been that difficult. Several alternatives have been proposed: monster trucks, an increased use of water- and railways, obligatory carpooling for people residing permanently at their office, registration and payment of the distance you drive etc. However, there is one solution that never appears in our multimedia world, despite it’s simplicity.

This solution is well known from gas and water transport, yet is also responsible for the transport of chemicals and oil, protection of electrical circuits transporting our multimedia signals, for postal and components distribution in several companies and many millions of people pass through them every day. “The 5th transport modality” is the alternative name for the billions of kilometres of pipelines crossing our world. They’re available in an enormous amount of sizes and materials; steel and polymer pipes for transport of gas, water, chemicals and message cases, concrete for sewer and tunnels or brick vaults, all examples of how pipelines ease our life.

tunnelconstructieThe world should be encouraged to use much more pipelines. In many countries the capabilities of earth’s surface are congested, so there should be no doubt to expand our 2-dimensional traffic vision to a 3-dimensional one. This could be done below or above ground level, yet above ground is a less adequate solution in terms of climate change, our green backyard and our nature in general. Transport systems below ground are in this respect much more reasonable, although the engineering challenges are certainly not less. Evacuation and storage of exhaust gasses, development of electromagnetic transport systems as an alternative to combustion motors, stability and corrosion resistance of underground structures, the geometric exact positioning of drilling and other digging activities, it are only some of the vast range of technical challenges. Pipelines, the 5th transport modality, are however and without any doubt a valuable alternative for the 2-dimensional problems that clearly can not be solved on earth’s surface.

Many technicians, economists and scientists of many disciplines have proven that pipelines are the key to a more sustainable, faster and greener alternative for the present traffic indigestion. In The Netherlands and Belgium the “Buisleiding Industrie Gilde” (Pipeline Industry Guild) groups people that encourage an increased use of pipelines; their representatives participate to all related social, economical and technical discussions. More information can be found on the Dutch website

As to the technical challenges of materials in underground applications, some blogs of the upcoming weeks will be attributed to the pipeline theme. And for those searching a job with perspective … in the pipeline industry there’s clearly a future ahead.