Some people wouldn't be caught dead on a bike, but if it meant having access to a dedicated network of elevated highways, perhaps that would change.
BMW last week unveiled what it calls the Vision E^3 Way. Developed at the automaker's Group Technology Office in Shanghai, China, the Vision E^3 Way aims to reduce congestion and increase traffic capacity by creating a whole highway system dedicated to a single method of transportation.
The Vision E^3 Way is a series of elevated highways connecting different traffic hubs. The highways will only permit two-wheeled electric vehicles, whether they're motorcycles, scooters or bicycles -- as long as they're zero-emissions and have two wheels, they're welcome. Riders can use them to enjoy peaceful, quiet rides of up to 15 kilometers (9.3 miles).
The three Es in E^3 stand for elevated, electric and efficient. By creating a dedicated highway system, the concept can simultaneously reduce traffic loads on existing highways and expand overall capacity. Safety would be a priority, with a low speed limit around 16 mph (25 kph). Those who don't own an electric bike would be able to rent one near the highway entrance, and a series of roofs ensures the road remains an option in inclement weather.
This is just a study, so don't expect some massive network of these roads to come online in the near future. It's not a perfect solution, either, because it still requires the public to embrace two-wheeled electric solutions, and roads alone won't do that. But traffic, and the pollution that comes with it, are still major problems, and it's nice to see BMW coming up with ways to mitigate those effects.