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Boxy, Driverless, Double-Deck Tram Wants People to Try Public Transport Again

Many things will not be the same again once 2020 is over, including public transport, ride-sharing or tourism. But if one designer has a say in it, public transport could be getting a facelift.
The Island tram concept: driverless, electric and very airy inside 10 photos
The Island tram concept: driverless, electric and very airy insideThe Island tram concept: driverless, electric and very airy insideThe Island tram concept: driverless, electric and very airy insideThe Island tram concept: driverless, electric and very airy insideThe Island tram concept: driverless, electric and very airy insideThe Island tram concept: driverless, electric and very airy insideThe Island tram concept: driverless, electric and very airy insideThe Island tram concept: driverless, electric and very airy insideThe Island tram concept: driverless, electric and very airy inside
With no immediate end in sight for the ongoing health crisis, people have started shunning crowded places, including public transport, which, in turn, has led to an increase in the popularity of two-wheelers and personal cars. In major urban hubs like Hong Kong, commuting by bike is not always the most time-convenient – or safest – alternative.

In order to encourage people to reconsider public transport, designer Andrea Ponti of Ponti Design Studio is suggesting a complete overhaul for the vehicles, so as to offer enough space, better air circulation and a smaller footprint on the environment. The concept is called Island and it’s a double-deck, driverless, fully electric tram that could, some day, ferry people across Hong Kong.

Island is spacious and airy, and has a very homey feel about it even with all the expansive glazing that allows for uninterrupted views of the city. It combines comfy seats, all facing outward, with bar-like wooded stands, and includes contactless payment methods both on board and at the accompanying stops. These would also be built with an eye to maintaining social distances.

“Island represents the forward-thinking spirit of Hong Kong, and introduces a new concept of public transport that overcomes the practice of social distancing,”
Ponti says of his latest concept. “The idea of designing a tram is no coincidence: trams are one of the city's landmarks and the tramways celebrate their 115th anniversary this year.”

“The concept of social distancing, which limits people's freedom to move and interact, became the design challenge and focal point for the new concept,” he continues. “We shouldn't be dividing and separating but instead rethinking public spaces with a seamless, integrated and effective design approach.”

Whether this boxy, tall and very elegant tram will succeed in appealing to former riders on public transport is an entirely different matter. Unfortunately, it’s also one we won’t be getting an answer to it yet, since Island is only a concept at this stage.

 
 
 
 
 

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