Innovation That Matters

Architects propose moving city traffic underground


London’s PLP Architecture firm unveiled its plan for a city CarTube system that would move traffic off the streets and below the ground.

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Combining the capabilities of public transport and driverless vehicles, PLP Architecture’s CarTube system could revolutionize cities around the world. All the vehicles that currently crowd city streets would be swapped for smart, driverless ones that travel through small, underground tunnels. Because they use artificial intelligence, driverless vehicles are able to drive much closer to each other than cars piloted by humans. And by reducing the space between cars, more vehicles are able to use the transport system and travel at steadier speeds.

The team behind the proposal says that travel times could be reduced by up to 75 percent, with a journey from Heathrow Airport to the City taking 14 minutes. Users of the new transport system would book journeys via an app, which would estimate the length of time the trip would take and calculate the appropriate fare. PLP is currently approaching a variety of partners to discuss funding the proposal.

Making mass transit more efficient is a huge project for smart cities worldwide. Norway has proposed an underwater floating tunnel to help citizens travel more quickly and smoothly across and around the country’s many fjords, particularly in extreme weather conditions. China has tested a two-lane, car-straddling bus. What are the possibilities for combining some of the most recent public transport projects?



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