Mobility concept puts electric two-wheel vehicles on elevated road

Credit: BMW

(Tech Xplore)—Cyclists and cars caught up in traffic snarls make for unhappy commuting. Some auto enthusiasts mutter bikes have no business on the street and cyclists mutter back that gas-guzzling cars have no business there either.

Can't the two modes of mobility get along, and can't we witness a smoother traffic flow as a result? BMW Group has a concept that could get us to that higher level. And speaking of higher levels, the concept calls for an elevated road—just for electrically powered two-wheel vehicles such as e-bikes. This concept is called "BMW Vision E³ Way." The three Es stand for "elevated", "electric" and "efficient."

Loz Blain in New Atlas described it as "a giant network of elevated pathways that snake through the city between key transit points."

The company release referred to "ramps and sluice systems" for connecting the BMW Vision E³ Way to the regular road network, underground stations, other traffic hubs, and shopping malls.

The concept was developed at the BMW Group Technology Office China in Shanghai in collaboration with the Tongji University.

So they are talking about literally raising those who make their zero-emission commutes on above ground.

The elevated paths would have domed-roof coverings. Two-wheeled transport would be protected from rain and heat and have enough ventilation too. The concept also calls for a cooling system with purified rainwater which creates pleasant temperatures, and used as well for cleaning the road surface at night.

Cyclists having their own express roads, high above ground, would be free of the stops and starts of traffic lights. An automatic speed limit would enhance safety.

Credit: BMW

How would traffic be managed, then? Loz Blain in New Atlas: "To keep things flowing, a lane system prevents traffic from merging until it's had a good chance to get up to speed."

BMW Group describes itself as a "provider of premium mobility products and services." Their move is a time when "conventional mobility concepts and local public transportation are reaching the limits of their capability." The group pointed to congestion and high levels of air pollution as present-day constraints on the quality of life.

The group sees the elevated road idea as "a fast, direct link between key traffic hubs, making it the perfect alternative for commuters travelling up to 15 km."

A number of sites commenting on the BMW Group concept recognized that Shanghai, for one, has issues that resonate with the concept.

Dr. Markus Seidel, Director BMW Group Technology Office China, said, "In China, more than a billion people will be living in cities by 2050. The country will become the global incubator for numerous mobility innovations such as the BMW Vision E 3 Way," Seidel adds, "after all, nowhere else is there such an urgent need for action."

"China has shown itself ready to experiment with a range of grand-scale measures to deal with overpopulation, combat pollution and bring forward the age of electric vehicles," said Blain.

Can it work?

"Initial feasibility studies demonstrate that a concept such as the BMW Vision E³ Way can significantly reduce congestion, emissions, travel time and the risk of accidents," according to the BMW press release.

Roland Moore-Colyer, Trusted Reviews: "BMW's concept is an attractive one, and in countries where e-bikes are used heavily – China, for example – the may prove more attractive and could see ambitious urban planners try to make it a reality."

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