Image by DigitalGlobe-Imagery via FlickrCelebrations erupt across Chile as the last of the trapped workers in the tragic mine San Jose collapse have finally emerged from their underground prison and are enjoying tearful reunion with their friends and loved ones. Rescue efforts have underscored the determination and ingenuity of all those involved in designing and implementing the rescue effort.
Chilean authorities working with NASA engineers lead to a series of trial runs and the ultimate success of the Fenix II, the name of the capsule system. Lifting the miners over 680 m in a rocket shaped pod, this system rivals the world’s tallest elevators not to mention the challenges of building the shaft in the first place.
The media spotlight on the rescue efforts have highlighted to the world some of the working conditions that existed leading up to the collapse. While admitting it not possible to guarantee that an accident like this would not occur in the future, President Pinera stated “we can guarantee one thing: never again in our country will we allow working in conditions so inhumane and so unsafe as happened in the San Jose mine and many other places in our country.”
How does this relate to sustainable transportation? At its core, developing sustainable transportation solutions is about applying creative and critical thinking to the challenge of mobility. While certainly not as dramatic or inspirational as this rescue effort, the daily safe and efficient movement of people will continue to be challenge for generations to come. Whatever the mode, bike, transit, cars; the goal is the same - to make it home safe.