PLP Architecture reveals designs for world’s first underground mass transit system for cars

  December 19, 2016 - 18:29   4686     Submitted by WA Contents

London-based architecture practice PLP Architecture has unveiled their concept design for CarTube, a pioneering mobility solution which combines two existing modes of transport, automated electric cars and mass transit, into a single, seamless underground road system. CarTube integrates existing motorways with a network of small bore tunnels. Automated cars, circulating above and below ground, are controlled via a dynamic platoon system allowing cars to move within milliseconds of one another. 

Cars will travel in a continuous flow at a steady speed without ever slowing down, providing far greater capacity than conventional public transport. CarTube also permits direct travel without interchanging replacing the stop-start model of current transportation with a fluid, integrated network. According to PLP’s research, CarTube will typically double transport capacity for the same investment as conventional mass transport and reduce travel time by 75%.


Image © Wire Collective LTD 

Users will be able to book a CarTube trip through smartphones using either their own cars or available public cars. The CarTube app will calculate a fare and an estimated arrival time based on an optimal route through the network. The whole journey will be point-to-point, without any transfers or stops.

''CarTube is a direct response to mass transit and traffic congestion in the world’s largest cities. Moving high-speed car traffic below ground will revolutionise our concept of the city, allowing our urban spaces to be designed not for cars, but for people. CarTube has the potential to be the next best thing to teleportation and will revolutionise exiting cities and allow for unprecedented urban forms,'' stated Lars Hesselgren, Director of Research at PLP.

Image © Wire Collective LTD 

CarTube is part of PLP’s research arm, an in-house group that supports the practice’s design teams and acts as an independent think tank. Recent research projects include: The Edge, completed in 2015. The Edge is, according to BREEAM, the most sustainable office building in the world, and, according to Bloomberg, the world’s smartest building.

Image © PLP Architecture

Timber Tower, a project developed with Cambridge University for an all-timber residential high-rise. This 300 meter tower employs a structural system poised to fundamentally transform our relationship with nature in the city.

SkyPod, a new vertical transportation concept, which will revolutionise skyscraper design, reducing the need for space-inefficient elevator shafts.

Image © PLP Architecture

CarTube was presented during a conference organized by PLP Architecture and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). The event took place on 2nd December at the IMechE headquarters at 1 Birdcage Walk, Westminster, London SW1H 9JJ.

Image © PLP Architecture

PLP Architecture recently completed Sky Central in West London in collaboration with AL_A and HASSELL, and designed London's first timber skyscraper with researchers from Cambridge University’s Department of Architecture and  Smith and Wallwork, which is still underway for the future development of tall timber buildings in central London. 

Top image © Wire Collective LTD 

> via PLP Architecture 




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