South Korea has created a PV-covered bike lane connecting Sejong and Daejeon which offers a clean transit option that utilises unused median space in an existing highway, while providing renewable solar electricity.
The PV-covered bike lanes runs approximately 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Sejong to Daejeon. Bicyclists are protected by a guard rail.
The overhead solar panels not only generate renewable power but also provide shade and cover from rain for the bicyclists.
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This innovative use of unused infrastructure is part of a proposed bike path network that will eventually cover more than 217 miles (350 kilometers) around the city of Sejong. According to Gas2,
“Korea’s crowded highways have convinced many commuters to ditch four wheels and an engine for two wheels and pedals.”
To understand this bike path, take a glance at this video recorded from a drone camera. A viewer can see the bicycle road between Daejeon and Sejong: both cities are located 2~3 hours south of Seoul. Solar panels not only generate power but also provide protection to cyclists from sun and rain.
Some have pointed out that cyclists are exposed to vehicular fumes and emissions of the fast-moving cars and trucks zipping down the road. And although bikers are protected by a barrier, a BBC article once observed that Seoul drivers are “notorious for ignoring any traffic rules, especially red lights, and will drive across intersections over red lights.”
Other cities have futuristic plans for bike travellers, including London and Copenhagen. Whether or not they eventually become standards remains to be determined. They do, however, represent transit planning that does not rely exclusively on automobiles. This is especially pertinent as urban space becomes more congested with population growth.
Leave bikes behind for a moment, and just think of capturing energy that is part of our infrastructure. Imagine what might happen when we try to capture all of the lost wind energy coming from highway motorists and convert it to electricity! Try placing a series of small wind turbines on Chicago’s Dan Ryan Expressway! With the correct placement, there would be plenty of electricity to distribute.
This feature is adopted from CleanTechnica.