While the lines between science and science fiction are constantly being blurred, those between sidewalks and urban streets haven’t been. At this year’s Design Miami/ international design show, one display showed this too is an idea that’s about to change.
Designed by the international architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the bright colored “Urban Future” display showed how streets and walkways of the future could operate simultaneously. Roads would seamlessly blend and adapt to the needs of the users – pedestrians as well as drivers – as well as incorporate sidewalks, city squares and public spaces.
Fascinatingly illustrated by a 185 meter square (1,991 square foot) section of road featuring a digitally programmable LED surface that uses 3D cameras to sense and track movements, this visual concept outlined how traffic would flow without need for traffic lights or for streets needing to be separate from sidewalks. Vehicles would move autonomously, able to avoid pedestrians as they move.
Initially created n 2010 for the Audi Urban Future Award architecture competition, incorporating the Audi 2 Concept as part of the installation, the LED road would surround pedestrians with a lighted halo while the car leaves a trail of arrows behind and a lighted arrow path in front showing its pending course. The path would change depending on movement by pedestrians.
Although the possibility of an LED-embedded road isn’t likely in the very near future, this concept is incredibly exciting in that it would eliminate concrete and asphalt roadways, known culprits for raising temperatures and elevated greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas. Should this concept become a reality, it holds the potential to reduce, possibly eliminate traffic accidents and related injuries and deaths.
Perhaps one day when you open those garage doors to head out onto the highway, you’ll be able to drive on these kind of roads. Imagine no traffic signals, no asphalt, no worrying about traffic jams or accidents. Now THAT”S something to look forward to!