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BMW Vision E³ Way Is the Stupidest Way to Fight Congestion, But It Might Work

Most all big cities in this world have problems with overwhelming traffic, particularly at rush hour, which turn the streets into veritable car parks for at least a few hours a day.
BMW's Vision E³ Way 7 photos
BMW's Vision E³ WayBMW's Vision E³ WayBMW's Vision E³ WayBMW's Vision E³ WayBMW's Vision E³ WayBMW's Vision E³ Way
With the winter holidays quickly drawing near, we're all getting ready to stare into the same pair of taillights for minutes on end as we try to make our way home or go for that last-minute present shopping. Like death and taxes, it's just something we know will happen and there's nothing we can do about it.

BMW's Group Technology Office in Shanghai feels the same way, so it decided to think of a solution. Its name is Vision E³ Way, where the "3 Es" stand for "elevated, electric, and efficient." In a nutshell, BMW is proposing we build more roads, only this time we make them higher up in the air, we cover them with a dome glass roof, and we only allow non-polluting two-wheeled vehicles to use them while the rest of the poor sods in their cars can only sit and watch down low where they belong.

Sure, some cities - particularly in Europe - already have something very similar, except they don't live up in the air, but down with the rest of us. They're called "bicycle lanes" and they've been around for decades proving they can indeed help alleviate congestion problems. Well, they can, but only as long as people decide to use them.

BMW's plan, on the other hand, requires a massive infrastructure investment that would only benefit those who use it, as they would also be kept away from the polluted air outside. To make it viable, a very large portion of the city's population would have to use it, leaving the antique roads mostly for commercial vehicles and public transport.

You can't help feel this separation in the vertical plane between the two types of roads is a bit - how should we say? - unethical. If you've seen the Elysium sci-fi movie starring Matt Damon, you'll know what we mean. Those using the pathways, with their clean air and ventilated atmosphere, will inevitably get a feeling of superiority.

Which is precisely what might make this work, assuming anyone is crazy enough to invest in such an infrastructure. Bear in mind this proposal comes from China, where two-wheeled traffic is very high, but the number of bicycle lanes is very low and the air quality is horrendous. As for other parts of the world? We'll stick to our grounded bicycle lanes, thank you very much, or we'll just keep wasting our lives in gridlock, depending on our vehicle choice in the morning.


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