There are a lot of imaginative uses for abandoned railroad tracks out there, from awesome urban parks like New York's High Line to bike and pedestrian highways. Lloyd, however, points out the downside to permanently removing tracks:
But the "O," from Italian designer Davide Bonanni, finds a middle ground between repurposing railroads and the possibility of returning them to their original use. It is a pedal powered four wheel vehicle that is made to fit on old tracks, so they can be used as bike paths without tearing out the ties that would make riding a regular bike too bumpy for comfort.
I have the same concern every time I look at the work of the Rails to Trails Conservancy. They have a great message, promoting investment in bicycling and walking, but every time a set of tracks is torn up, an opportunity for restructuring our transportation system is lost.
The "O" is a somewhat silly looking thing; I'm not sure why the plastic bubble is there at all. But it's still an innovative solution to a problem that is often glossed over by the enthusiastic, usually on point desire to find new uses for old infrastructure.
Bonanni is also behind the "3," a tricycle that resembles a scooter, made for urban transportation.