Get out of the way bus rapid transit, you’re moving too slow. Light Rail? Psssh, soooo 21st Century. The radical future of public transportation is coming soon to a Chinese megalopolis near you.
Trying to preempt an unprecedented population boom, China is investing heavily in its urban infrastructure, especially mass transit. The latest, most outlandish transit solution, reports China Hush, is a “straddling bus” (also called a “three-dimensional fast bus”) that travels over the tops of automobiles, like a mobile tunnel. Commuters board from a station one story above the ground, and when the straddling bus parks to pick up riders–as many as 1200 per vehicle–it doesn’t disrupt the flow of traffic.
The project seems almost too good to be true, even though construction of a 115-mile line in Beijing’s Mentougou District is set to begin by the end of the year. The innovating company, Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment, claims that building the infrastructure for straddling buses is three times faster and much cheaper than a comparable distance of new subways. The wheel-rail-hybrid buses are powered by municipal electricity and solar energy, thus reducing the cost of their operation as well as fuel consumption. They will purportedly reduce traffic jams by 25 percent. There’s even motion-sensing alarm system built into the bus to prevent oversize vehicles from passing through the bus and to warn cars if they swerve too close to the bus’ wheels.
Image courtesy of Umiwi.com.