Novel lane-straddling bus concept unveiled at Chinese technology show


A radical lane-straddling electric bus concept that aims to solve the problems of traffic congestion by driving right over it, has been demonstrated at the 19th China Beijing International High-Tech Expo (CHITEC) this week.

A fully functioning model of the Elevated Transit Bus has been demonstrated by Beijing-based company, Transit Explore Bus, which says it is planning to move ahead with a track-based public transport system that allows vehicles to pass underneath – an idea aimed at easing air pollution and China’s notorious traffic congestion.

Wide enough to cover two traffic lanes, the raised bus would travel along tracks on either side of the road so that cars up to 6.6ft (2m) tall could pass underneath. Ramps would fold out to give users access to the street when the bus reaches a stop. The bus can travel at speeds of up to 37.2mph (60km/h) and is equipped to carry 1,400 passengers. According to the company, the system could replace up to 40 conventional buses, a move it says would save 800 tons of fuel and 2,480 tons of carbon emissions each year.

The company’s chief engineer, Song Youzhou, told reporters at CHITEC that the system will save lots of road space and perform the same role as a subway at just 16% of the cost. As the system uses much of the existing road infrastructure, it would also be much quicker to manufacture and construct.

The ‘moving tunnel’ concept has been displayed before. In 2010 Song presented a similar futuristic transport scheme, which had been designed with Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment Co. Ltd. The company had planned to build a test track in the same year, but the project never came to fruition. However, Song says that some Chinese cities have already shown interest in the Elevated Transit Bus and that a full-scale version is being built in Changzou, with testing due to commence in July or August this year.

The project’s main hurdle to overcome may well not be the technical issues involved, but the Chinese citizen’s expanding requirement for personal car ownership. In 2015 the sales of passenger cars passed 20 million and grew 7.3% on year on year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. However, in the scheme’s favor is the country’s ever-increasing traffic congestion, along with the Chinese government’s willingness to apply increasingly stringent restrictions on vehicle use to combat air pollution.

To see a video of a fully-functioning Elevated Transit Bus model, click here.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).