I was wandering how local transportation is managed on earth in the 24th century. In one shot (I don't recall where, when or even if) I remember seeing a train-like glass ball moving near Starfleet headquarters. In DS9 "Paradise Lost" we see a carriage. In Voyager "Non Sequitur" we see someone riding a bike. Except for that we see people walking and beaming. Are there public (or private) transporter platforms everywhere*? For long trips a transporter seems reasonable. But for short distances, say from my flat to "Sisko's" it's ten kilometers, do I use a transporter for this ridiculous short distance just to have a bite? Do I have to walk all the way? Do I use a carriage?

Other advanced societies/planets appear to have solved the problem in the same (hidden) way: In TNG "Unification" we see the streets of Romulus crowded with pedestrians. Cardassians (as we can see in the shots the huge public view screen is shown) and Bajorens (they seem to have only parks and no streets at all) do it the same way. The Edo just love to run everywhere they go. On Risa it's walking. On Qo'noS the same.

*There appear to be something like transporter credits, Sisko used to use to visit his parents, but that was city-to-city transport, so not really addressing my topic on how to move within a city.

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    Not really an answer, but Picard explicitly walked home rather than taking a shuttle in the episode "Family".
    – Zibbobz
    Apr 23, 2014 at 13:48
  • @Zibbobz: That's true! But... well, he's the captain. He could always use a shuttle!
    – Einer
    Apr 23, 2014 at 13:54
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    As the captain, he has his own personal captain's yacht (though you never see it in the tv series).
    – BBlake
    Apr 23, 2014 at 14:42
  • @BBlake: In fact I think we see it all the time: Isn't it supposed to sit right at the underbelly of the saucer-section? Think I saw a schematics on this once in a book...
    – Einer
    Apr 23, 2014 at 14:47
  • Yeah, that's where it is. It's never used in the tv show, however. The only time one's been seen in actual use is in the Star Trek: Insurrection movie.
    – BBlake
    Apr 23, 2014 at 16:32

2 Answers 2


It's managed in much the same way as it's managed now. Depending on how far you have to travel, you have a variety of choices. Remember that it's usually writers or directors who include background details like transport tubes or some such in episodes depending on the needs of the story or script. Glass balls and travel tubes could exist alongside rocket sleds and huge slingshots if the script needed it...

Anyway - canonical examples:

You can walk (as seen in TNG "Family")

You can shuttle around (as seen in TNG "Family", ST:TVH, ST:TMP and ST:TFF (where Starfleet sends a shuttle to collect Kirk from Yosemite))

You can transport (logically extrapolated from the numerous times Sisko travels back and forward between New Orleans and San Francisco in the DS9 two-parter "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost". I also seem to remember mention of "transporter stations" being mentioned somewhere.

That's all I could find that's backed up by canon but others should feel free to add their findings: anything else below is speculative.

I would assume that, as there is now, there are many public transport options available, including shuttlebuses or ground vehicles that can be used.

Walking is probably encouraged to some extent, since there are obvious health benefits to those activities, and there are relatively few fat people in Star Trek. ;-)

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    @Zibbobz: And let's not forget how flabbergasted the bridge crew in Voyager was when they found the car drifting in space. Well, granted, it was a car drifting in space in the delta quadrant, but only Tom knew that it was a car!
    – Einer
    Apr 23, 2014 at 14:57
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    @Einer What I found strange about the Big Goodbye segment was that Data had to be called on for the term "City Block", even though there are clearly still cities that exist on Earth. Maybe Starfleet crew spend a bit too much time on those starships of theirs...
    – Zibbobz
    Apr 23, 2014 at 15:01
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    @Zibbobz: Picard's awe may not necessarily indicate lack of ground vehicles, just that ground vehicle might be very different. People today get all wibbly about vintage cars and that's only after 25 years. Remember Picard's an archaeologist and loves his history. To him a 1930s automobile would be an archeological curiosity. Also, cast your mind back to the TOS episode "A Piece Of The Action", where Kirk has no idea how to drive stick shift...
    – Selezen
    Apr 23, 2014 at 15:02
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    @Selezen To be fair, I have no idea how to drive stick shift.
    – Zibbobz
    Apr 23, 2014 at 15:03
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    In one of the establishing shots of DS9 "Homefront" we see some people in a horse and carriage outside Sisko's resteraunt in New Orleans. Image. Jun 18, 2014 at 1:13

It's hard to know, because STAR TREK is about starships not Earth. There were some episodes about Earth in the 24 century. There was one Voyager episode Non Sequitor about an alternate universe. It showed 24th century San Francisco. Residents use an underground subway system for San Franscio. There were flying shuttles. I guess there could be transporter usage.

  • This answer would be greatly improved if you found a screenshot of this and edited it in to back it up.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Nov 14, 2020 at 11:26

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