Five most bizarre concepts promoting sustainable transportation

The drive to find sustainable means of transportation has never been so urgent than at present. The sheer number of cars on the road has caused traffic jams in all urban cities around the world to the point that traffic snarls have become the norm. Besides this, air pollution has reached alarming levels, posing health hazard to citizens. Our use of fossil fuel powered vehicles is one of the major contributors to pollution, which is why researchers are constantly trying to develop alternative methods of transportation. It is only now that the idea of sustainable transportation is slowly gaining ground as our technology has given us the tools to create vehicle concepts that are green and clean. People have come up with some clever but bizarre designs for public transport which may just turn into reality in the future.

Backpack harness

The rush to get to work is always a headache no matter which urban city you live in and it has turned worse in countries like China where people are stuck in traffic for days together. This congestion, beisdes being time sapping, also heightens the risk of accidents. So, imagine getting to your destination without waiting endlessly for a cab or driving your car through traffic. Bulgarian architect, Martin Angelov, has designed a futuristic but cool concept that will see people commuting via cables and backpacks. According to Angelov, the backpacks will be battery-operated and the person wearing the backpack harness will travel along a network of cables. His concept was presented at the TEDx conference a few years back. Of course, there are some drawbacks to his concept like how to get around intersections and the damage this would do to a city’s skyline, but, these are minor issues that we’re sure Angelov can work around.

Passing Cloud concept

This next idea is a little farfetched but deserves mention nonetheless. Not for the fainthearted and those who are acrophobic or aerophobic, the Passing Cloud concept by Tiago Barros envisions changing the way we fly. Imagine being among the clouds and watching the world go by as you sit atop a cloud-like structure. Barros’ design is a massive collection of spherical balloons that resemble a cloud. The interior houses a stainless steel structure which is covered with heavyweight tensile nylon fabric.

The biggest drawback to Barros’ concept is that the Passing Cloud moves exactly like a real cloud: according to the direction and speed of the wind. This means that the system can’t be steered or controlled, making it difficult to reach the final destination. But, says Barros, that’s the point as it’s time to enjoy traveling for what it is, without having to consciously make a decision to reach somewhere.


Biking is one of the cleanest means of transport but with roads catering mainly to automobiles, it’s only natural that cyclists get a little apprehensive. Countries like Netherlands and Denmark have long been advocating biking as a sustainable way of getting about and have constructed separate lanes for their bikers. Going one step further, Toronto architect, Chris Hardwicke has proposed an elevated bike highway system called Velo-City exclusively for cyclists to reduce accidents between cyclists and motorists. The highway will be enclosed in a tube to protect bikers from straying out of their designated roads or motorists from driving onto them. It also shelters bikers from the rain and sun, making their commute more comfortable.

The Algae Powered Airship

The Algae Powered Airship is a concept by Belgian architect, Vincent Callebaut. Unlike modern aircrafts that are aerodynamic, Callebaut’s design envisions a vertical craft that’s powered by bio-fuel generated from algae. Floating organic farms run by seaweed will provide the necessary algae and will also feature air purification stations that take in carbon dioxide delivered to them by ships and later processed by the seaweed. The drawback of Callebaut’s concept is that the airships will travel significantly slower than conventional crafts ,seven times slower, to be precise.

Shweeb monorail

The Shweeb monorail is a concept conceived by designer Geoffrey Barnett, who seeks to promote sustainable transportation. The set up consists of overhead rail circuits varying in height, built two and four meters above ground. Beneath the tracks will be suspended pedal powered pods that users can use for sitting. It may seem exhausting having to pedal yourself to your destination, but the Shweeb monorail uses tracks that are low resistance, while the pods themselves are pretty aerodynamic. This enables users to push to speeds of up to 45 kmph on longer circuits.

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