Are Underground Roads the Future of Transportation?
By: Andy Xu
Although roads are very effective in that they can help vehicles move places
very efficiently, they also have many drawbacks. Roads cause both air and
noise pollution and use a lot of space. A new solution has been found to
combat these drawbacks: moving roads underground.
There has already been a precedent of public transportation underground: in
cities all across the world such as New York, London, and Beijing, subway
systems built underground help transport millions of people each year to
different locations quickly. Bradley Garrett, a cultural geographer at
University College Dublin and author of Subterranean London, says that
"Human beings tend to like those things to be operating in the background…
It gives the illusion of seamlessness,” he says. "There's almost something
magical about it."
With this in mind, why not also move roads underground? Roads nowadays
seem like a relic of the past: long snaking lines of asphalt crisscrossing
engulfing the green surface of the Earth and extending further and wider in
an effort to mitigate the effects of traffic have no place in the future. Millions
of miles of roads already cover the Earth, and as more humans populate the
Earth, an increasing amount of our home will be taken over by paved asphalt.
One great advantage of moving roads underground is the instantaneous
decrease of air and noise pollution. The tunnels that would be dug
underground would also serve as a barrier for the carbon dioxide wanting to
escape into the Earth’s atmosphere, which would significantly reduce the
effects of global warming. According to the World Health Organization,
millions of deaths are attributed to air pollution, and making roads go
underground would significantly help reduce this number.
Another great advantage is the massive amount of public space that could
be available after roads were removed above ground. An example of this has
already been exhibited: Boston’s “Big Dig” project, where the city’s heavily
congested highway was moved underground. This created more than 300
acres of open land, which could be used for the public to enjoy in a densely
populated city such as Boston. A multitude of parks, art exhibitions, fountains,
different shops, and space for music festivals was all created as a direct result
of moving roads underground. In addition, this new greenery can also make
cities more resistant to flooding and reduce temperatures