Dubai has plans to develop a 93-kilometer indoor cycling highway called The Loop, which is designed to connect over 3 million residents by 2040.
The project is being developed in partnership by URB, a global leader in sustainable cities, with the goal of becoming “a 20-minute city where residents can access their daily needs and destinations within 20 minutes by bike.
URB’s CEO Baharash Bagherian says, “people may misunderstand agritourism. They think it’s looking at farm equipment, looking at farms, and going to pick fruit. With this project, we’re trying to disrupt the agritourism model, so it benefits everyone. Whether you’re a retailer, whether you’re a farmer, especially if you’re the consumer – there’s something of a greener economy for everyone.”
One of the most interesting things about THE LOOP is its sustainability. Apart from other things, it is planned to generate electricity using human footsteps. If built, the running tracks are to be integrated with kinetic paving, which draws usable energy from every footstep. The technology works with electromagnetic induction generators which are vertically displaced by the weight of a person’s footstep. That displacement motion creates the energy. It is then fed to generators as usable electricity. They do not mention if the same technology would be used on the cycleways.
“Dubai is the best place for entrepreneurship in urban mobility. THE LOOP project is an embodiment of that entrepreneurial spirit, which aims to make Dubai the most connected city on earth by foot or bike. In Europe most people ride bicycles or walk to get to work. In Dubai, our aim is to get more than 80% of people to use a bike on a daily basis. Dubai is currently primarily built for car travel. It’s major road infrastructures and networks have disconnected communities by walking or cycling, thus we need an entrepreneurial mindset in reconnecting these neighbourhoods, whilst making cycling or walking the primary mode of transport all year round to any part of the city
“Our aim is to re-engineer the future mobility infrastructure in Dubai to become more than sustainable transport systems. To think of such infrastructures as much as spaces and utilities for people, where various leisure and community services can also be provided. These types of infrastructures should be an enjoyable mode of sustainable transport, no matter the weather conditions,” says Baharash Bagherian, CEO of URB.
Bagherian goes on to explain there is currently a big gap in the connections between cycling and public urban transport in Dubai. The more the two are integrated, the easier it will become for Dubai’s residents to combine cycling and public transport on their daily commutes over a long distance. They claim THE LOOP represents the paradigm shift towards people-centered cities.
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