SOFT Blimp Bumper Bus: Terreform One Designs Giant Jellyfish Buses for NYC

by , 05/16/11

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We have seen the future and it is full of jellyfish blimps. In a new sci-fi like depiction of New York City‘s future designed by Terreform ONE and KARV, our metal buses have been replaced by the SOFT Blimp Bumper Bus, a playful new means of transportation with dangling tentacle chairs. The bulbous bus is part of “Smart DOTS + Soft MOBS: NY 2028 Environmental Mobility,” a new strategy whereby the “streetscape” of the city is reorganized to better fit human needs and increase environmental contact by eliminating the boundaries and limitations that cars pose on humans.

Smart DOTS aims to design “a system of intelligent environmental elements… that can spread out from the core to the periphery, reorganizing the streetscape.” The project was created as a direct response to current barriers that street planning imposes on humans, including limited space and dangerous vehicles. Terraform ONE proposes “a soft, gradient field: a ‘pixelated’ urban landscape of distributed functions, with no hard borders between different street occupancies.”

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The next part of the project is Soft MOBS, a new mode of transportation designed for “adapting cars to cities in pliable organized movements” where “softer vehicles” are used in order for people to be in more direct contact with the street. Here, giant air cleansing blimps will float around with dangling tentacle-like sponged seats, where people can both catch a seat and jump off when needed. Because the seats are close to the ground and the blimp only runs at 15mph, mounting and jumping off are relatively easy. Sounds fun, right? The blimp would also improve traffic efficiency by 30 percent.

The project is organized into three phases: 2008, 2020 and 2028. In Phase 2008, minor design changes are made in order to reduce congestion between cars and people. In Phase 2020, a transition is made, and car lanes are soon narrowed down, pedestrian zones are widened, and bicycle bollards are used alongside new car technology to better improve congestion. The plan proposes “the placement of environmental “smart dots,” or green modules that filter rainfall, greywater, and slow down traffic separating smoothly walking zones, bicycles and transportation zones.” The final part, Phase 2028, introduces the Soft MOBS blimps, which generate power through air movement and provide a different approach to mass transit.

The plan is primarily based on intersection layouts in Brooklyn. However, the designers do hope that it’ll catch on and perhaps showcase an alternative system for urban planning. Although the concept is very creative and perhaps a bit far-fetched, the street layout planning an excellent idea given current congestion problems. The plausibility of the air blimps is difficult to assess, given the fact that not everyone can necessarily run around and jump off dangling chairs or depend on such a slow mode of transportation. But hey, everyone could use a little fun in their commute, right?

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