A design studio reveals driverless tram concept for post-COVID Hong Kong

The concept aims to encourage public transportation in the city.
Deniz Yildiran
Island
Island

PONTI 

Ponti Design Studio revealed a concept design of an electric double-decker driverless tram to hit the roads of post-COVID Hong Kong. Dubbed Island, the giant vehicle features large circular benches inside where passengers sit facing outwards, while the exteriors reach back to Hong Kong buildings.

The vehicle’s curved windows and see-through top let the sunshine in during the day, allowing passengers to enjoy the city view at night. According to the website, the interiors are sleek and comfortable, with charcoal gray walls, cushioned seats, wooden floors, and trims with a natural finish. Island won the 2020 GIDA Design Award.

A design studio reveals driverless tram concept for post-COVID Hong Kong
Interior of Island

The new concept aims to have people use public transportation more instead of their private cars and other means of transportation, which people have been avoiding since the pandemic first hit almost three years ago, according to dezeen.

"This is especially important in the densely populated city of Hong Kong, where social distancing is hard to achieve," Italian-born designer Andrea Ponti told dezeen.

Along with Island, Ponti has also designed tram stops where passengers can get off from both sides and provides better airflow. Each tram incorporates a retractable connection point that allows fast charging at stops.

A design studio reveals driverless tram concept for post-COVID Hong Kong
A tram stop

According to the concept, the payments for the trip are to be made contactless through Hong Kong's Octopus card system before getting on the vehicle.

"Island represents the forward-thinking spirit of Hong Kong and introduces a new concept of public transport that overcomes the practice of social distancing," Ponti added.

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A design studio reveals driverless tram concept for post-COVID Hong Kong
Island on the road

"The idea of designing a tram is no coincidence: trams are one of the city's landmarks, and the tramways celebrate their 115th anniversary this year."

"The concept of social distancing, which limits people's freedom to move and interact, became the design challenge and focal point for the new concept," the designer continued.

"We shouldn't be dividing and separating but instead rethinking public spaces with a seamless, integrated and effective design approach."

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