mass transit

Beijing-based Transit Explore Bus unveiled futuristic designs for a bus which lets cars drive underneath at a recent high-tech expo in Beijing. According to designers, it can save road space and also help reduce air pollution.

The so-called “straddling bus,” also known as a land airbus, is designed to be high enough to let cars pass under it. The passenger compartment spans two traffic lanes and sits high above the road surface on a pair of stilts, leaving the road clear for ordinary cars to pass underneath.

Cars under 2m high can easily pass through regardless of whether the bus is moving. And it can carry up to 1,400 passengers, while travelling at a top speed of 60kmh, running along special tracks.

According to the chief engineer of the project, Mr Song Youzhou, the bus performs similar functions as the subway, but at only 16 per cent of the cost. The lead-time to manufacture and construct the bus is also much shorter. Another added benefit is that the design is environmentally friendly. He also emphasized the ability of the bus to save a lot of space.

The electrically powered straddling bus could replace about 40 conventional buses, potentially saving more than 800 tonnes of fuel annually and reducing 2,480 tonnes of carbon emissions, Mr Song said.

One TEB could replace 40 conventional buses, he said.

A prototype will reportedly be deployed on the streets of Qinhuangdao, a coastal city about 300km east of Beijing, this summer.