The cities of the future have a lot of new technology to contend with. In the not-so-distant future, highways will be filled with cars driving themselves, packages will be delivered by drone, and levitating trains will move people even faster than ever before. The new world of transportation will need a few changes beyond just adding a few highway lanes. 

The Hong Kong– and New York–based designers at Avoid Obvious Architects have an idea of what that could look like, and it’s pretty wild, as Co.Exist reports. The Avoid Obvious team was invited to submit an idea for redesigning a highway in the Bao’an district of Shenzhen, China, and the resulting design actually suggests making the 12-lane highway smaller. 

Transportation infrastructure systems that make for “automated technology, like drones, auto-pilot vehicles and high-speed transit are the future of 21st-century urban development,” they argue


Instead of 12 lanes of elevated road, an enclosed tube route—like a hamster habitat for cars—would reduce the amount of vehicle pollution released directly into the air. Presumably, there would need to be some kind of purification system to keep the roads from becoming a smog-filled mess, though the architects don’t mention one. These enclosed highways would snake through the city both above ground and below. 


Underpasses would be turned into parks with tiny offices for remote work. The top of certain sections of the enclosed highways would be turned into grassy parkways. 


Ideally, improved train service in subways built directly below the highway as well as bike share would help make the 18-mile stretch traversable in a maximum of 15 minutes. The transit hubs would have ports for drone parking, and there would be dedicated lanes above ground for drones to fly, keeping them from crashing into each other mid-flight. 


Certainly, a neighborhood that wants an expanded highway in 2016 probably isn’t going to start tearing down lanes immediately. This kind of infrastructure would require extensive construction and redesign of the city’s infrastructure. But if cities want to prepare for the inevitable future, they’d better start thinking about how to implement plans like these. 

[h/t Co.Exist]

All images courtesy of Avoid Obvious Architects

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