Sky Pods Transportation Network coming to Ithaca

Sky Pods, a series of all-electric driverless pods, are coming to Ithaca soon. The rendering above shows a sky pod traveling by the Ithaca Commons pedestrian mall in downtown Ithaca.

It has come to our attention that this press release was an April Fool’s  joke, sent out to the media. We hope you enjoy the tall tale.


Travelers to Ithaca could soon be enjoying a more scenic route with the addition of aerial vehicles to the community’s public transport network. The City of Ithaca Planning Department has signed a memorandum of understanding with SkyPodsOnTheMove LLC, an autonomous driving technology company based in the northeastern United States, to develop all-electric driverless pods that will operate above the city traffic.

The system, described as “a cross between a monorail and a ski lift,” would see electric pods seating four passengers each traveling at 35 miles per hour along routes stretching 10 square miles through the city’s busiest districts, including Downtown, Collegetown, Route 13, and the Cayuga Lake waterfront. The pods will be suspended from carbon composite beams a minimum of 25 feet above the ground and remain horizontal at all times to ensure “a calm stomach” for passengers. SkyPodsOnTheMove claims the network could accommodate around 4,500 passengers per hour.

The venture fits into Ithaca’s ambitious plans for 25% of journeys in the city to be made via driverless transport by 2040, as well as increasing the proportion of journeys made by public transport. City and local transportation authorities are also developing systems such as autonomous air taxis and driverless “last-mile” shuttle buses.

City of Ithaca Planning and Economic Development Director Lisa Nicholas claims the electric network will also offer benefits through sustainability and save space relative to ground-level transport infrastructure. “The significance is for dense urban environments,” Nicholas says, suggesting the system could free up space for healthier modes of transport such as walking and cycling.

Tom Knipe, Deputy Director for Economic Development adds, “Not only will this new technology address Ithaca’s most pressing transportation challenge – getting up, down and over our hills and gorges – it will increase Ithaca’s appeal to start-ups and technology companies, helping grow local investment, jobs and the local tax base.”

Tourism and business partners also have positive reactions to this latest addition to area transportation. 

Peggy Coleman, vice president, Tourism & Community Relations for Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau says, “Introducing sky pods transportation to Tompkins County will be a game-changer for our community. With its cutting-edge technology and eco-friendly approach, sky pods offer a unique and exciting way for visitors to explore our region’s natural beauty and urban landscapes. We look forward to partnering with sky pods to showcase the best of what Tompkins County has to offer and enhance the overall visitor experience.”

Jennifer Tavares, president & CEO of the Tompkins County Chamber says, “We are thrilled to see the potential of sky pod transportation coming to Ithaca. We believe it will be a great asset to our local businesses. By providing a new and innovative transportation option, sky pods will make it easier for visitors to explore, dine, and shop in different areas of Tompkins County. This increased mobility will help drive economic growth and support our community’s vibrant tourism industry. We look forward to collaborating with SkyPodsOnTheMove and other partners to maximize the benefits of this exciting project.”

Downtown Ithaca Alliance Executive Director Gary Ferguson adds, “The sky pods will bring a new dimension to the downtown Ithaca community, providing a unique and exciting way for people to experience the cityscape. With stunning views and state-of-the-art technology, the sky pods will be a must-see attraction for locals and tourists alike, and will help to cement Ithaca’s reputation as a vibrant and innovative city.”

GO ITHACA Program Director Jane Bowman Brady says, “We are thrilled to see these exciting new sky pods added to Ithaca’s transportation options. We believe it will revolutionize the way people get around the city. SkyPods are a sustainable, affordable, and fun way to travel, and we can’t wait to see them in action in this community.” 

No figures are currently available for the investment required, but the City claims the system will be sustainable through income from fares and Nicholas is confident it would be competitive with traditional public transport networks.

“The development of the electric sky pod transportation network in Ithaca is an exciting prospect, and SkyPodsOnTheMove is proud to be a part of this innovative and forward-thinking project. The benefits for residents and visitors to the city are significant, and we are confident that this new transport option will help to shape the future of public transport in Ithaca,” says SkyPodsOnTheMove CEO Phake Lastername.

No project initiation date has been given, but the city and SkyPodsOnTheMove are committed to bringing this cutting-edge transport option to Ithaca as soon as possible.

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