Nothing screams future like an automated pod transportation system. These little vehicles have been helping passengers get around Heathrow airport since April of last year, and they've been so successful that India is buying a huge new system to help tourists and pilgrims to visit a temple in Amritsar.
The Golden Temple is a gold-plated, um, temple in Amritsar, India that's the holiest shrine for Sikhs and a huge tourism attraction for everyone else. During religious festivals, up to 500,000 people per day (equivalent to the entire population of Fresno, California) all try to visit the temple at once, which can cause a bit of traffic congestion (to put it mildly) along with more pollution than you can hack up a lung at.
To try and make things better for everyone, Amritsar has decided to invest in a new elevated pod transit system that's just like the one at Heathrow, except way bigger. 200 individual automated pods will transport up to 100,000 people per day between seven stations, traveling above the teeming masses on a two mile elevated roadway. On an average day, the pods (which are silent and electric) should be able to handle about a third of the visitors to the temple, knocking about 30 minutes off of average transit times at a price competitive with taxis and rickshaws. The system should be complete by 2014, and by 2020 the company behind the pods says they could have as many as 600 systems installed worldwide.