Imagine how peaceful our cities would be we took honking, idling cars off the road and put them underground. PLP Architecture is proposing we do just that – their CarTube project proposes a network of underground tubes with massive conveyor belts that move vehicles from one place to another. They’re proposing we do away with above-ground roads altogether, freeing up space for parks and recreation. Check out the cool simulation video below.
According to The Architects’ Journal, PLP has called their CarTube the “next best thing since teleportation,” by integrating the existing roadways in large cities into a network of small underground tunnels. Once there, the automatic cars would be moved along by what’s called a “platoon system,” which basically means they travel in groups that are controlled using artificial intelligence. This means the cars can travel closer quarters since the distance required for a human reaction isn’t needed. Thus, the tunnels can accommodate a higher capacity.
With that in mind, PLP claims such a tube system would double a city’s transport capacity for about the same investment as your average public transit system – while also cutting down travel time by as much as 75 percent.
According to The Architects’ Journal, PLP director of research, Lars Hesselgren said the CarTube concept is a “direct response” to mass transit and traffic congestion in the world’s largest cities. “CarTube has the potential to be the next best thing to teleportation,’ he said. ‘It will revolutionize existing cities and allow for unprecedented urban forms.”
The system already has at least one critic, Francesca Perry of the Guardian, who, according to Tree Hugger, says such a system is expensive, and would have a hard time finding a home amongst the sewers pipes, building foundations and other underground infrastructure. She also notes that such a system is a massive technical challenge, and questions whether a not a system based on car-based city transport is the way to go.
Image and video via PLP Architecture Vimeo