China’s Straddling Bus/Elevated Bus is Finally Out!…. Sort of?
- On August 9, 2016
- By Monica Guan
- In Events
You may have seen this concept video floating around the internet before. It’s a straddling bus also known as the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB). The idea was actually proposed way back in 1969 by Lester Walker and Craig Hodgetts and was designed by a Shenzhen manufacturing company. Only in May 2010 was it revealed at the 13th Beijing International High-tech Expo. The bus is designed to run along a fixed route, straddling over 2 traffic lanes. The passenger compartment can hold up to 300 to 1200 passengers depending on the version.
Like many older cities in the world, some of China’s largest cities were not built to sustain the population it has today. Currently, more than 20 million people reside in Beijing. In China, where owning a car is considered a status symbol and “saving face” is important, many people buy cars just for the sake of satisfying societal pressure. The amount of cars on the road are growing at an alarming rate since 2000, but that also means the roads are full of new drivers who may not have received proper drivers education. Considering China’s ever growing population and infamous traffic jams. This bus could help elevate the congested traffic and promote more people to take public transportation. The designer says the TEB could replace up to 40 conventional buses, save 860 tons of fuel, and decrease carbon emissions by 2390 tons. Ideally the TEB would travel above 2 lane roads and other cars at around 60km an hour, and similarly to a subway it is estimated to take around a year to develop.
Originally the city of Shijiazhuang in 2010 applied to obtain financing to begin testing with the TEB, but the trial was cancelled due to doubts about the technology and the feasibility. However, recently in may 2016 at the 19th China Beijing International High-Tech Expo a mini model was presented and they announced that a full scale TEB would be unveiled in August for a test-run.
And now just this August 3rd a full scale model was tested in Qinhuangdao.
The test was only simulated over a 300 meter length traffic, and didn’t really represent the real world traffic conditions. Four other Chinese cities have also signed contracts to construct and test the TBE, which are, Nanyang, Shenyang, Tianjin and Zhoukou.
But not so fast, there seems to be a slight hiccup in the project. After the test run, there was an initial hype surrounding the TEB, but soon people started to question the feasibility and legitimacy. Besides the fact that the test was only 300 meters long and didn’t really mimic true road conditions, other questions arose. One was that the straddling bus would only allow vehicles that had a max height of 2.1 meters to pass through, while the max limit for vehicles on the road is typically 4.5 or 4.2 meters, raising the question of how taller vehicles would be able to pass through or how the bus would overcome them. Another question was how safe the bus would be for passengers and other cars. Making turns, dealing with unpredictable drivers on the road and how the bus would interact with the traffic lights and signs. This has brought up suspicions that the whole project may be a scam to get investors’ money.
Despite all the problems, the company says they plan to hold a full road test next year, so I guess we will have to wait and see. What do you think about the straddling bus or TEB?
Check out more photos of the potential of the straddling bus!
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