If this idea becomes a reality, it could transform urban transport from the ground up. And it may be coming to London first.
In a concept from the design firm Gensler, unused and empty subway tunnels would be converted into underground bike paths.
The engineers want to deck out the tunnels with cutting-edge tech, more specifically with a floor that could light the tunnels by generating electricity from the footsteps of the people walking on it.
To start with, the designers want to make their vision a reality in London's Tube, in an unused section of the Piccadilly Line and a piece of the Jubilee Line running from Green Park to Charing Cross.
Underground bunkers left over from the Second World War could also be folded into Gensler's concept.
The idea is not without its problems. While underground bike paths are a safer alternative to street traffic on the surface, underground air supply could prove problematic. And in case of an accident, emergency services could require considerably longer to arrive at the scene.
On the other hand, the populations of cities like London are growing so fast that these expanding global cities are forced to think in entirely new ways. That’s something the concept of underground bike paths certainly achieves.
The concept’s future potential
Gensler designer Trevor To sees the concept as an opportunity to take advantage of a long-forgotten part of the city while integrating London’s populace into the development process. In this manner, London’s “cycling superhighway” could become the cleanest, fastest, and driest way to bike.
This post was originally published on HuffPost Germany and was translated into English.