Past the Traffic: A Look At China's Straddling Bus
There is no question that the best news for the everyday commuter are big changes in transit innovation. Despite having had the idea if a traffic straddling bus for years, China had never taken any actual steps to build the massive bus that simply overtakes cars by going over them. But ever since the official concept model was revealed a couple months ago, China’s traffic straddling bus has been on everyone’s minds. We found out this week that they’ve actually built it already and have tested it too.
China’s TEB-1 (Transit Elevated Bus) is 7.8 meters wide and 4.8 meters high just cruises over the rest of traffic. Earlier in the project, it was known as the “3D Express Coach.” It runs a length of 22 meters and can hold up to 300 people. And this is just one bus carriage; the plan is to connect four of these and carry approximately 1200 people at once. The first test run was held in Qinhuangdao, Hebei province earlier this week, and has definitely caught everyone’s attention.
The environmentally aware bus is powered by electricity and solar energy generated by panels in its roof. Though at its current state, there are many concerns that have yet to be addressed; For example, how will the cars that are underneath the carriage portion change lanes, or turn? How will the bus travel through areas where bridges are in the way? How will the bus pass a larger cargo truck?
Despite all these questions about infrastructure and operations, the TEB will definitely be revolutionary. The test run allowed for testing of the braking system, along with drag and power consumption. Even if this was not to be something that would replace the public busses, it could potentially save cities tons of money. Using these buses to connect commuters to a crowded city center would be hundreds of millions of dollars cheaper than introducing new subways or elevated trains to help ease congestion.
There will always be skeptics and people who believe that we are more likely to see flying busses travelling between stations before we see these TEB's roll out in cities. Nonetheless, it's always exciting to see concepts become realities after months and years of hard work.