We're not sure which is going to be more expensive, constructing a massive maze of conveyor belts that can carry thousands of two-ton cars, or tunneling through one of the world's most congested cities. But if London-based PLP Architecture's CarTube idea to cut traffic and expand the city's greenbelts becomes reality, we'll get to find that out. Either way, a lot of British pounds would literally go into a very large hole. And you thought Boston's Big Dig was, well, big.

PLP Architecture, which posted a three-minute video of the concept, calls CarTube "the fusion of two modes of transport, automated electric cars and mass transit." The firm highlights the concept's high capacity, noting that such a stream of cars would likely transport people more efficiently than a rail system consisting of periodically arriving trains, notes Treehugger.

And sure, there's a twist to autonomous driving as well as the fact that the cars would be powered by the belt instead of having their engines running, so that there are further green benefits as well. Then again, think about digging around all of those subway tunnels and ancient sewer lines to build the kind of people movers that are found at global airports, then imagine them carrying a bunch of vehicles at a rate of 50 miles per hour. On second thought, don't.

Long known for sites such as Big Ben and the Thames, London has also been known for its substantial traffic for quite a while. In fact, in order to address the city's traffic issue, London enacted a daily "congestion charge" in 2003, though within five years, reports were surfacing that the charge wasn't achieving its desired goal.

CarTube - Simulation from PLP Architecture on Vimeo.


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