It’s like something out of a sci-fi movie, but these Elevated Cycle Paths are a genuine proposal from BMW, who want to clean up our cities.
The German automotive giant is, like Volkswagen, Tesla Inc and Toyota, setting its sights on the green energy market. This time, instead of cars themselves, BMW is looking at altering the very infrastructure upon which we commute.
With an aim to reduce overall traffic congestion, BMW have formed a collaboration with Tingyi University in China to develop some alternatives, and the results so far have been nothing short of impressive.
The designs were unveiled this week by BMW’s Research, New Technologies, Innovations division, which is based in Mountain View, Tokyo, and Seoul. The E3 Way (elevated, electric & efficient) would see bicycles almost disappear from the roads completely, segregates into safe areas resembling hoisted airport walkways (from the future).
Oh, but not all bicycles will be allowed on them. That’s kind of the catch.
As Alex Davies pointed out in WIRED earlier today, BMW are now in the bike market; “Conceived with help from the School of Automotive Studies and College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University in Shanghai, this network would be reserved for electric bikes and two-wheelers (like the BMW Motorrad X2 City, a battery-powered scooter), and it would have a speed limit of 15.5 mph. If you’re wondering why regular, human-powered bikes don’t seem welcome—well, BMW doesn’t make those.”
And the new BMW bike? How do we prepare you for this one…okay, have you seen TRON?
It’s quite clear that BMW have some pretty lofty ambitions for the future, but they may not be entirely practical, something which their recent press release confirms: “The best thing is that its modular design and free scalability make the concept essentially suitable for use in any megacity. The elevated road is simple and modular in design, [and] economical to build as a result.”
While some cities are already making great moves towards future-proofing themselves against the inevitable onslaught of overpopulation, and places like Copenhagen have taken great steps to ensure that their cyclists stay safe, it remains to be seen in BMW will be able to live up to their intentions with this project, but let’s hope they do.