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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

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